Ethiopian Yared Hagos clinched first place at the Watford Half Marathon on Sunday.

The Wallsend athlete’s decision to make the long trip south from Tyneside paid off after winning the event in a time of 1.07.00.

Victoria Park’s Paul Martelletti finished in second place with a time of 1.08.04 and Anuradha Cooray was third in 1.08.36.

About 1,700 athletes took part in the half marathon in Cassiobury Park which was held for the first time since 2011 after last year’s event was called off due to bad weather.

Race organiser Richard Parles said: “I think the event was a great success. It was too cold and windy for a really fast time but 67 minutes was still a very good effort.

“The winner, Yared, had a ten-hour journey by bus from Newcastle. He was pretty determined to win and seemed very keen to come back next year. He wants to defend his title and would like to go for the course record.

“It went extremely well,” Parles added. “We want to thank all the volunteers from several organisations which included Watford Police, St John Ambulance and Hertfordshire Highways. We also had six people who were Gamesmakers at the Olympics and a Three Rivers massage team.”

Belgrave’s Tish Jones was the first home in the senior ladies competition in a time of 1.19.57. Shaftesbury Barnet’s Victoria Webster came second in 1.22.15, while Aylesbury's Sophie Delderfield was next across the line in 1.24.20.

Benali Naoui was the fastest in the V40 men’s race as he clocked a time of 1.12.32. Nigel Rackam finished first in the V50 men after a time of 1.15.07. Trace Allen was first home in the V60 men’s competition as he recorded a time of 1.36.34. In the V35 female section, Sarah Swinhoe was fastest as she finished in 1.22.17.

Nascot Wood Infant and Junior were the winners of the Schools Challenge Trophy.

In the junior challenge, York House’s Thomas Hobbs won the Under-8 1.2k race in a time of 5.22, while Nascot Wood’s Abi Evans was the quickest girl in 5.38.

Brandon Reid was fastest in 10.42 in the Under-10 2.5k event, while Nascot Wood’s Helen Sawko clocked a time of 11.33.

Queens’ Joshua Namiech-Oyebola won the Under-12 race in a time of 10.35 and Scarlett Pochet was fastest girl in 10.22.

Thomas Rayner set a record of 8.37 in the Under-14 race, while Queens’ Aimee Woodage finished first girl home in 11.22.