WILTSHIRE’S former junior star Alex Carter had no hesitation in describing his performance at the Great Bristol half-marathon as arguably the best as a senior runner, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Carter, who comes from Winsley, finished runner-up in Sunday’s race after clocking a huge personal best of 68mins 37secs, which slashed over six minutes from his debut attempt in the Bath event earlier this year.

That not only lifted him to ninth in the South West rankings – and second fastest in Wiltshire behind Simon Nott’s PB of 68:04 in the recent Chippenham half – but was also a big reminder of the talent that made Carter one of the most promising runners in the country.

After all, this was the ex-student at St Laurence School, who in 2013 won bronze medals at the English Schools’, English National and Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in the U20s age group and narrowly missed a medal in the 3,000m at the English Schools’ Track & Field Championships.

“It has been a while but I am still only 23, so hopefully there are still some very good years ahead of me,” said Carter.

“I would definitely say that is my best race since before I went to the States. I feel that at last I am back to it and I am now training consistently around a full-time job.

“I’ll never be good enough to earn a living from the sport and it will always be a hobby but running races like that and doing so well makes you want to take it seriously, so that is where I am.

“I am still enjoying the sport.”

Those performances mentioned above helped to earn Carter a scholarship to Ioana University, in New York State in 2015 but that adventure, in sporting terms at least, turned sour before it ever got going.

Carter suffered a series of stress fractures which required two foot operations in New York to aid recovery and barely raced seriously a dozen times in three years.

That could have easily forced him into premature retirement but after returning to the UK last autumn, Carter knew he still had something to prove and with careful training and racing sparingly has gradually rediscovered that old form.

“I think a lot of people will be surprised when they see my result at Bristol as they probably thought I had fallen off the circuit due to injuries and starting full-time work,” added Carter.

“Hopefully all those bad injuries are behind me now and I can have a good winter.”

Carter’s next target is the Midland Counties Road Relays for Team Bath on Saturday, when he will be joined by the Howorth brothers, John and Robert, from Hilperton and Themis Bower from Marshfield.

Michael Towler was the leading man from Avon Valley Runners at the Great Bristol half-marathon in 11th (71:31), while Calne Running Club veteran Dan Sault clocked 78:59 in 47th.