ANNA-Marie Watson is looking forward to a long rest after ending her season on a real high with victory in the inaugural Half Marathon des Sables in Fuerteventura, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The event is the brainchild of the organisers of the legendary Marathon des Sables (MdS) across the Sahara Desert in Morocco as they seek to expand their renowned franchise and tap into the growing demand for ultra distance races.

“Only 10 per cent of the runners in Fuerteventura had done the MdS, including myself in 2015 and the rest were all newcomers so it was great to be part of that,” said Watson, who is based in Trowbridge.

“It was an amazing experience.”

Watson took full advantage of her invite to secure overall victory in the ladies and14th overall from the 300 competitors from 40 different countries.

Held over three days and measuring 111km, Watson won two of the stages.

“My last two races have been amazing,” added Watson. “I finished in the top 10 in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (a single-stage 166k race, incorporating almost 10,000m of climbing in the Alps) and now I’ve won this new event so it has been a great end to my season.

“Now I am taking a well-earned rest and not even thinking about running!”

ELIOT Ball is this week celebrating a massive personal best in the Cardiff Half Marathon.

Ball, who works for Avon Rubber in Melksham, slashed almost five minutes from his debut at the distance last year with a time of 77:53 minutes in the Welsh capital on Sunday.

“To be honest I was actually aiming for a faster time but I am really pleased with that overall,” said Ball, who is a member of Team Bath AC.

“I made my debut in the Loughborough half last year and my goal for the autumn was always to do another and I was told that Cardiff was a fast course.

“I could’ve run Bristol but I wanted the extra few weeks to prepare for Cardiff plus I knew that James and Chris Moore from the club were going over so it just seemed like a good race to aim for and it worked out well.”