CALNE Running Club’s Mike Gilbert can proudly reflect on a terrific year – even if he isn’t crowned winner of the Wiltshire Road Race League, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The results of this year’s 12-race league programme are still being finalised following the final event last weekend – the Calne Clock Change 10k.

Gilbert went into that race in a strong position, having completed all the previous 11 races and ensured his season ended on a suitable high as he produced a sparkling personal best of 36mins 15secs to finish in sixth.

“I have done all the races but it is a runner’s best eight results that count towards the overall scores, and I think that Gary Dunstone, who has done eight races, has probably beaten me,” said Gilbert.

“But Gary is a very experienced and top runner while I am still a newcomer to it all, so I would be very happy to finish second in the league.”

Gilbert is not only a late starter in the sport but the 41-year-old from Calne also suffered a terrible injury early last year when he broke his ankle during the Bowood 10k multi-terrain race.

Given that background, his results this year have been nothing short of remarkable.

“I only started running two-and-a-half years ago as I weighed just over 17 stones and needed to lose weight and get fit,” added Gilbert.

“I did a few charity half-marathons and then joined Calne Running Club, where I linked up with coach Denise Nott, who has helped me so much.

“The freak broken ankle at Bowood last year was horrible and put me out for several months. I vowed to come back stronger, faster and fitter, and all the hard work with Denise has paid off this year as I have smashed a lot of personal bests.”

Indeed, Gilbert has notched up PBs over five miles, 10k and the half-marathon and also won his first Wiltshire vest when he represented the county in the Wiltshire 10, which incorporated the South West Inter Counties Championships.

“It has been a crazy year with all the PBs, my first county vest and possibly second place in the Wiltshire Road Race League, I am absolutely chuffed to bits with it,” said Gilbert.

Overall victory in the Clock Challenge on Sunday went to Calne club-mate and multi-county champion Simon Nott as he beat Dunstone by more than two minutes with a time of 31:47.

The top woman was Liz Sanigar, of Bitton Road Runners, in 39:40, with Denise Nott continuing her return to form in second (40:35). There were 350 finishers.