EILIDH Bell is hoping to mark her debut in the Bath half marathon on Sunday with a big performance, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The Chippenham runner has raced just once in a quiet start to 2019 after ending last year on a high with a personal best of 2hrs 44mins 56secs in the San Sebastian marathon to put her second in the 2018 South West rankings.

But her lack of racing this year means she will line up well under the radar for what is traditionally one of biggest races in the West Country.

“To be honest, I would like to think I can run a PB in Bath but I am not sure what shape I am in,” said Bell.

“I had a month off from December and into the new year and went hiking in Nepal but since then I have been training okay and the 10k I did in January went better than I thought it would.

“As for the Bath Half, we’ll have to see what happens on Sunday.”

Bell had been due to race the Bath Half for the first time in 2018 but the blizzards that swept in with the ‘Beast from the East’ put paid to that as the event was cancelled for the first time in its history.

The weather forecast looks kinder this year and like most runners on the start line Bell will be hoping for the recent blustery winds to calm down. But it is not the weather that is pre-occupying Bell’s thoughts.

“I have heard mixed reports about the course,” added Bell.

“I know a lot of people run PBs on it, although they say it is not a flat course by any means but the atmosphere and the crowd support is excellent and that really helps to push you on.

“On the other hand, some people reckon it is totally flat. As for being two laps, I don’t mind that at all. When I ran my marathon PB in Spain last year, that was on a two-lap course and I found it really helped with pacing myself.

“I am looking forward to it.”

Bell will be joined in Bath by a large contingent of runners from Wiltshire including Jackie Rockliffe from Avon Valley Runners.

Rockliffe last ran Bath in 2016 when she finished fourth in the O45s category and should again feature prominently.

Meanwhile, on the same day, multi-winning Wiltshire champion Simon Nott, of Calne Running Club, has opted instead for the Reading half marathon and is certainly capable of beating his lifetime best of 69mins 25secs that he set in Salisbury last year.