A brand new course, designed by Tom, for the woodland section of the handicap series. Tom was also instrumental in measuring the original Leinthall Starkes 5 handicap course way back in 1988 and he has now raced more than 100 times around that particular road course in the ensuing years. I hope to be around to applaud him when he completes the 100 races over this woodland course. By my calculations he will be aged 99 by then, but I would not put it past his tenacious spirit to achieve that landmark. I,too, would be happy to witness his feat as I would be over 100 myself by then – just imagine how cantankerous I would be !
The new course also attracted 3 new female faces to the fold and very well they ran, too. Welcome all of you.
Ria Woodfield, one of those fresh faces, was the first to appear over the top of Heartbreak Hill ( a sadistic finishing climb) on her way to setting an impressive new female course record. She will be more severely handicapped next time, but looks capable of improving on that initial record. Ria was probably running scared as she must have heard the threatening footsteps of Neil Powell closing in as she made that final ascent. It was good to see Neil running pain-free again as he finished just 4 seconds behind in 2nd place. Simon Norwood was just 6 seconds further adrift as he proceeded to set a new course record. How long will that stand for ? I foresee a number of candidates queuing up to challenge it.
With it being the very first race over this approx. 3.6 miles course, everyone set a P.B. with a number of age-group records set – lots of targets to be aimed at for the remaining 2 events of the 2014 handicap season. Records worthy of mention were those of Sue Davies in the FV45 section and an imposing run from newcomer Liz Bowers in the FV60 section, though she is finding the Herefordshire hills a baptism of fire. I recall having the same trepidation when I first started running here 28 years ago.
The reaction to the new course was very favourable, despite it being tougher than the old one.
The next race will be held on Tuesday 19th August.