RUNNERS and spectators turned out in their droves for the Newport Half Marathon and even the rain couldn’t dampen their spirits.

The event was snowed off twice last year but now it seemed to be- albeit somewhat soggy – all systems go for the 2019 Admiral City of Newport Half Marathon.

Shop doorways were busy before the race got under way this morning as runners did everything they could to take shelter from the rain.

Poncho sellers were also doing a roaring trade.

Messages of encouragement were coming in from far and wide.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden took to Twitter to say: “Good luck to all taking part in today’s Newport Half Marathon – many excellent causes will benefit.

“Well done to the army of volunteers who make this possible.”

Starting towards the lower end of Commercial Street, the route headed off straight towards the Southern Distributor Road before taking in Clarence Place, Caerleon and the city centre.

More than 2,000 runners took part in the event this year, raising a combined total of more than £200,000 for worthwhile causes.

The event, which was sponsored by Admiral and organised in support of St David’s Hospice Care, saw crowds lining the route throughout the morning.

Despite the inevitability of getting drenched, the well-wishers cheered the runners all morning.

The eventual winner of the Newport Half Marathon was Chris Carpanini of the Mickey Morris Racing Team, winning in an unofficial time of 1hr 8min 18sec.

Mr Carpanini had set a scorching pace in the initial stages of the race and managed to stay ahead of the competition for the duration.

He ran home in a comfortable record for the Newport race, which in these conditions was very impressive.

He has defended his title from 2017, beating James Bellward (RAF) by around 10 seconds.

Sioned Howells, from Amman Valley, took the women’s title.

Famous faces ranged from John Griffiths AM, who has competed in every Newport Half Marathon since the event’s inception, to former Eggheads star CJ de Mooi joined the runners.

Mr de Mooi stayed true to form, tweeting to say that he was “only using the event as a training run”.