DAVID Smale used home advantage to win the Southend Half Marathon.

The Southend AC star crossed the finishing line in an impressive one hour, 10 minutes and seven seconds.

And Smale told Echosport knowing the course was key to his success in his first time running the event.

Echo: Winner - David Smale (left) won the Southend Half Marathon with Ben Bayly (right) finishing thirdWinner - David Smale (left) won the Southend Half Marathon with Ben Bayly (right) finishing third

“Knowing the roads and the course definitely helps, especially for the last mile when you’re running through the Garrison,” said Smale.

“I’m really, really pleased with how it went.

“I run a lot anyway but to run a home race is really exciting and to win it is even better!

“It’s nice because you hear more people cheering for you when it’s your home race and I run on those roads every day too helps.

“I live in the Garrison so I’m always out running round here and I teach at Chalkwell Hall too so it was nice to a few of the kids out watching as well.”

Smale will be running the ‘Big Half’ in London in September before returning to the capital for his next target.

“I’m focusing on the London Marathon in October now,” said Smale, 30.

“I’m running the Big Half before that but London is my next big target.

“My time wasn’t my best today but I’m still pleased with how it’s gone.”

The Southend Half Marathon took place for the first time since 2019 and saw more than 1,500 cross the start line.

Leigh on Sea Strider Stephanie Migliorini was the first female runner to finish as she crossed the line in 1:25:49.

Echo: First female - Stephanie Migliorini crosses the lineFirst female - Stephanie Migliorini crosses the line

Robyn Matson (1:29:31) took second place with Joanne Kent (1:29:55) third.

Fredrik Krylander (1:12:50) was second in the men’s race with Ben Bayly (1:13:41) third.

Southend AC won the men’s team race with Springfield Striders second and Leigh on sea Striders third.

Leigh on Sea Striders won the ladies team event with Springfield second and Fordy Run third.

Money raised from the event will be donated to race organisers Havens Hospices.

Check the full results here