BEN Malby returned to Tamworth to not only defend his half-marathon title but also to win the Fun Five as the Tamworth Running Festival goes from strength to strength.
The clouds parted to greet almost 1000 competitors across all divisions yesterday morning as the half-marathon runners toed the line at 7.30am.
Just under one hour and 19 minutes later Malby was back to claim his second title and remain the sole winner of the event in its second year.
The former Tamworth High student, now Gold Coast lifeguard, cruised home to beat Moree’s Andrew Noakes and Tamworth’s David McPherson in second and third places respectively.
Malby then lined up for the Fun Five and led all the way to just pip training partner Kyle Weise.
“I love the pain,” Malby said.
“I am stoked to be able to back up and push Kyle. I love coming back here to race.”
The long-distance specialist uses the event every year to prepare for the Glasshouse 100km event in September.
Tamworth’s Kelly Moore came in seventh overall to take out the women’s half-marathon.
Moore is a previous Tamworth Ten winner but found the King George V Ave stretch a bit lonely this year.
“It is too long out there and there were huge puddles,” Moore said.
“It was great to win.”
Gunnedah triathlete Peter Loveridge streaked away from the field early and led all the way to add another Tamworth Ten victory to his resume.
Loveridge ran the City to Surf last weekend as well as he prepares for the infamous Hawaiian Ironman in October.
The sixth-placed girl in the City to Surf, Stephanie Austin, was on Loveridge's heels to finish second overall and take out the ladies' division.
The Cooranbong athlete is studying physiotherapy at Newcastle Uni and doing professional practice in Tamworth at the moment.
“It is a very pretty course and I got loads of encouragement coming back in from other runners,” Austin said.
“It was really nice.”
The Heeney family starred in the Fun Five with Sophie making up for last year's wrong turn with a good win over sister Ella, who won it last year.
Father Anthony had a sprint finish with Ella over the line to pick up third in the men's behind Malby.
The Heeney girls both fly off to Albany next week for the Cross Country Nationals.
“It is a perfect preparation,” Sophie said.
“It was great to win after what happened last year.”
Ella did get a win in the U16 NDL Dash for Cash, while Lia Mills and Jake Hazel took the open division.
It was Hazel’s third straight sprint victory, matched by Alison Rumble, who won the over 40s event for the third time as well.
All winners claimed they would be back to defend their titles in a nod to the committee and event.