Charlotte Purdue set a new personal best as she stormed to victory in the elite women’s race at the inaugural Vitality Big Half on Sunday.
The Team GB athlete, who finished 13th in the IAAF World Championships marathon in 2017, held off Lily Partridge to cross the Finish Line in a time of 70:29.
Partridge, who won the Seville Half Marathon in January, recorded a time of 71:06, with Cardiff's Charlotte Arter finishing third in 71:35.
Purdue and Partridge led from the start, with a group including Alyson Dixon, Sonia Samuels and Tracey Barlow giving chase.
But the Aldershot Farnham and District clubmates passed through the first 5K in front, with Partridge just a second ahead of Purdue.
It was a trend that would continue throughout the race, with the pair neck and neck as they ran back along The Highway and over Tower Bridge.
They were still level as they approached the 10-mile mark but Partridge began to struggle with the pace heading into the final three miles as Purdue showed no signs of letting up.
By the time she entered the final mile of the race, Purdue had extended her lead over Partridge to more than 30 seconds.
And the 26-year-old crossed the Finish Line at the Cutty Sark unchallenged, taking one minute off her previous personal best of 71:29 in the process.
Purdue is now aiming to be the first Brit home in her third Virgin Money London Marathon in April.
“For the first 15K I just felt good and I didn’t want to slow down,” she said. “I knew I was on for a good time and wanted to keep going.
“It was good preparation for the London Marathon. It was a huge event compared to the Reading Half I did last year. This will be my third London Marathon, hopefully I will win this year (first British), I know what to expect.”
Partridge, meanwhile, will have the chance to take on her childhood friend Purdue again in April.
“My legs felt it at 10 miles when there was a slight incline and they didn’t quite handle the inclines.,” she said. “I’m excited for the marathon. Charlotte and I grew up together too so it’s cool to be running together.”
Charlotte Arter, who finished third, said: “The event was amazing. I love running road races and the crowds today were fantastic. London Marathon events are amazing, it was really good.”
The Vitality Big Half elite women’s race official results:
- Charlotte Purdue – 70:29
- Lily Partridge – 71:06
- Charlotte Arter – 71:35
- Sonia Samuels – 72:57
- Caryl Jones – 73:28