With the end of summer nigh and the nights starting to draw in, the 2015 Croft Ambrey Handicap Series was concluded with the final race through the darkening woods. There was obviously something agreeable in the autumnal air, however, as over 50% of the competing runners recorded P.B.s.
There was an exciting finish to the final race with course designer Tom appearing at the top of Heartbreak Hill and through the gate with a clear lead and hopeful of a well-earned end of season triumph with just 50 metres to the finish line. Sam M. had other ideas, though, and had fixed his sights on Tom at the bottom of the hill and gave chase like a leopard ruthlessly hunting down its prey. He overtook Tom with just a few strides remaining to time his finish to perfection and take the prize on the night. This was an excellent example of Sam’s capacity to run on natural ability alone as he has trained very little recently, yet he still managed to become the 3rd fastest runner around the new course. Jo completed the top 3 as she starts to re-discover her top form.
It was a successful and welcome return for Simon as he recorded the 2nd fastest time over the course. He is, thankfully, running pain-free again and hoping for a fruitful winter season.
Irina is showing good signs of recapturing her best form with a strong run that now places her as 2nd fastest female runner around the woodland course.
The biggest P.B. of the night was recorded by Carol. This is a measure of her vast improvement over the last year, and all achieved with a beaming smile adorning her face. Has nobody informed her that it is not meant to be fun ?
Great to see Daren back in action after a very lengthy layoff – hopefully, his injury woes are now a thing of the past.
7 Croft runners qualified to count in the final season’s standings with the best 5 positions in the 6 events scoring. Tom, Sam H. and Richard were ever present. With continued improvement apart from one poor performance, which he was able to discard, it was Richard who emerged at the top of the pile to be crowned 2015 Handicap Series champion by 4 points.
The final handicap event of the season always heralds the rapid approach of autumn, but we were blessed with a warm bright evening for this climax to the 2013 series. 17 runners toed the dusty start line with many of them still in contention for the winner’s trophy.
Neil Taylor, having competed last month just a couple of days after a challenging hilly triathlon in north Yorkshire, was always a favourite to improve his performance and so it proved as he romped to victory in a time much more reflective of his ability. Dave A., beginning to show some of his true form, crossed the line in second place followed by Jon B. in third, despite having competed in the tough Hay Hillraiser just 2 days previously.
Irina was next home, showing excellent late season form and registering a big PB., which consolidated her position as the 7th fastest female over the course. Mark L. again proved to be in a purple patch of good form with a new PB which took him to 2nd in the overall rankings, overtaking Simon and now lying just 30 secs. adrift of Stacey’s course record set in this equivalent race 9 years ago. Mark also showed remarkable powers of recovery as he, too, had raced at Hay on Sunday morning. Another who had contested that same testing race was the all new sleek and slimline Martin who is in the form of his life and set a course PB for the second successive race at the age of 45. Another vet. In fine form is Dave G., who also improved his course record for the second consecutive race and climbed to no. 17 in the overall listings leapfrogging Dave A. Now there’s a challenge already brewing for next summer’s series. The final PB of the night was set by Joshua as he managed to negotiate the woodland course without following a false trail.
17 runners ran the requisite 5 races during the summer to qualify for the Handicap Series Trophy and a new name will now be engraved on the award as Rob was rewarded for some consistent performances over all 6 events and was crowned the champion for 2013. Congratulations Rob.
Also see the updated club records.