By Cari Morris

SALE runner Callum Rowlinson conquered Snowdonia and brought home one of the UK’s most prestigious marathon crowns, winning the event with the second fastest time ever recorded on the course.

After 26 miles of challenging terrain elevating to heights of 1,200 feet, the former pupil at St Hughs, Timperley, and St Ambrose College, Hale Barns, cruised through the finish line with an outstanding time of 2hrs 34mins 14secs – just 36 seconds off the current record.

Covered in mud, blood and sweat, Rowlinson, who now runs for Salford Harriers after more than 19 years with Sale Harriers, addressed the crowds at the finish line.

Having entered twice before and not managing to finish, it was third-time lucky for the runner who said: “I can’t believe it.

"This means so much, and I am not sure how I made it down in the last couple of miles as I am a terrible downhill runner.

"But to win this race, when you look at some of the past winners is just amazing.”

The Snowdonia Marathon is regarded as one of the most difficult races in the running calendar, so Rowlinson knew the challenges he had to face.

But years of experience, and several trips to the mountains, had prepared him for the race.

And his triumph was the culmination of years of hard work since first following in his parents’ footsteps and running for Sale Harriers since he was a child. The 26-year-old added: "I went running with my mum and dad in Sale.

"It was the people there and my love for competing that grew my passion – you really get out what you put in.”

Mum Lynda, who joked Callum 'had no choice' in running for Sale, could not be prouder of her son who has always been determined to carry on training and competing, despite working as a full-time science teacher at Manchester Health Academy.

She said: “It is such an achievement. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride and I’m so pleased with his dedication.

"He does so much training while he holds a full-time job. He’s got more dedication than I have.”

Despite his busy teaching schedule, Rowlinson always finds time to maintain his training schedule.

He went on: “I train twice a day. I wake up at 5.30am and go again in the evening. It’s my me time.”

Those earley mornings paid off in Wales but his parents, who were present at the first two races where he failed to finish, chose to support him from home on his third attempt.

Lynda explained: “Me and his dad stayed away as we thought we would bring him bad luck.

“We like to think us staying away brought him the luck he so well deserved.

“I probably would have made a fool of myself by crying buckets anyway.”