There was a record turnout of 45 runners, in an event that has been in existence for over 30 years, for the first visit to the woods in this summer’s Croft Ambrey handicap series. 18 runners were making their debuts, many of whom had started in Mark’s New2Running group, and there were also many P.B.s and 6 age-group records set on this new course (designed by Tom Davies) which is now embarking on its 4th year. It is rewarding and gratifying to see so many runners enjoying the Croft events, and there were still a few familiar faces and usual suspects missing and likely to be running in the next event.
Imogen Marriott, with an enormous improvement on her previous best time, was the clear winner followed by determined runs from newcomers to the course Scott Hardie and Sue Field. Sadly the usual chocolate rewards for these achievements were kept on ice due to absentmindedness (beware any clients of this demon dentist, he may forget that you are there for a check-up and conduct root canal treatment on you), but Hon. Chairman Dave was able to smoothly placate the mutinous mob who were threatening a confectionery-deprived insurrection.
Imogen’s superb example was followed by a string of outstanding performances from the club’s female contingent.Irina sliced nearly a minute from her P.B. to record the 2nd fastest female time on the woodland course, bettered only by Suzanne Turvey’s magnificent 23.56. Emma, on her first attempt around this course entered the charts at no. 4 – that’s runtastic pop pickers. Maybe you need to be of a certain age to get that reference – I’m not too proud to be amused by my own sad musings. Steph, in a rich vein of form, knocked 1.40 off her P.B. and also set a new FV45 course record in a faster time than her own FV40 record – just wait until she is 70. Robyn completed the awesome foursome by improving her own best by over a minute to place 6th on the course records list.
The club’s male brigade attempted to rival their female counterparts’ achievements with some impressive displays of their own. Stacey, still weakened by his recent debilitating illness, climbed out of his sick bed to record the 2nd fastest time run over this route on, surprisingly, his first attempt. He will surely smash the course record when he recovers full fitness. Scott Jones was the winner of the Chairman’s discretionary, if phantom, award for a magnificent run in knocking over 2 minutes off last year’s effort and setting an impressive junior course record. His time, less than a minute shy of Mark Lamonby’s course record, places young Scott 5th in the male rankings and, if he continues his exciting progress, he will soon be challenging Stacey in a bid to be king of the course.
Frank almost celebrated his birthday a day early when he crossed the finish line and set a new MV60 course record. He held it for all of 1 min. 37 secs. before Neil Taylor crossed the line to claim the age-group record to accompany his own MV55 record.Bryan became the oldest runner to complete the course at the ripe old age of 77 – what a star.
For many years I was able to time-keep, name record, take photos and work out all the arithmetic in my head. Those days are long gone, not just because I am getting older, slower and more incompetent but due to the healthy state of the club and all its additional runners. Thanks to Liz for stopwatch handling, Hayley for camera handling, Sue D. for funnel directing and Theresa the App. Girl for saving my aching brain with all the time deductions .
Well done all – that was an exceptional evening in the history of Croft Ambrey R.C.
The penultimate, and 5th, race in this year’s series will be held on Tuesday 15th August – lots more P.B.s to be recorded then.