IT was bitterly cold, wet and, as always, tough going...but, boy, it was brilliant too.

The GPW Recruitment St Helens 10K has taken place in some arduous weather in its nine year history.

But rarely has it been like this, with rain and sleet driving into runners' faces as they set off from outside Saints' stadium at 9.30am on Sunday morning.

In all, 1699 runners started the run. With the conditions so bad, little wonder some of the 325 others who had paid their entry fees, perhaps, chose to stay in bed.

"Glorious St Helens Weather," the run's official Twitter account announced.

But the challenging conditions go hand in hand, with the nature of this snaking course, with its hills, bends and undulations.

When Steve Prescott designed the route, he never planned for it to be easy.

And so that it is why those who complete the course find it so satisfying, so personally rewarding.

Out on the roads, it was the irrepressible Matt Crehan who cruised to another victory in 32 mins 28 secs.

Nicola Jackson, meanwhile, was the first woman to cross the finish line in a time of 39 mins six seconds.

But there were winners everywhere you looked among the field, which created a rich kaleidoscope of colour as people weaved up and down the bends of Victoria Park, from those who completed the course, to the tremendous supporters on the streets and in the stands, whose applause, shouts, banners and words of encouragement spurred on the runners.

Then, there were the marvellous marshals and volunteers from the Steve Prescott Foundation - they must have been colder than the runners - who ensured the event took place and went smoothly.

They deserve a huge pat on the back and a thank you from everyone who took part.