Seven ‘Crofties’ competed in this 7th and final race of the 2017 Croft Ambrey Club Championship and all seven made a good account of themselves in this challenging road race. The first mile of the race is downhill with 125 feet of descent and so it pays to make full use of gravity and get some time in the bank for the long uphill section that follows in miles two and three. Downhill or not, Kelly Bowen completed the first mile in a quite astonishing 5 minutes 58 seconds, with arms and legs pumping furiously and that long stride eating up the ground. It’s a measure of Kelly’s current form and fitness that she never relented and eventually finished 3rd female, close behind numbers one and two, in a great time of 74:47.
As we rounded the bend towards the Visitor Centre and the one mile mark, Stacey Morgan could be seen contesting the race with the front runners and Ashley Robinson was again showing great leg speed for an athlete of his maturity. Stacey is just returning to fitness after struggling for a few weeks with a throat infection but could be satisfied with an eventual 4th place finish in 60:25. Interestingly, this was his PB for the race, which he hasn’t done for some years.
My own race aim was to break 80 minutes and so I decided to push hard over the three easiest miles (1, 4 and 7), while running steadily for the rest. The strategy worked and I managed 79:22 (49th overall), which was about 1 minute better than last year.
Sue Powell did well to finish 16th female (of 66 women) in a time of 85:54, which is modest by Sue’s standards but not bad off limited training. As you may have seen on Facebook, Joanne Tilby was cursed by painful blisters that required a little attention at the end but still managed a very tidy 81:41 (11th female) only weeks after completing the Birmingham marathon. If there had been a female team prize, then the Croft Ambrey women would have won it.
Ashley and Jasper Robinson ran almost the whole race together and I was pleased to see that Jasper crossed the line in 77:03 (40th overall), with Ashley just behind in 77:09 (41st overall). Another terrific performance by family Robinson. Once again the organisation, venue and course were all excellent and the weather quite good for distance running, being cool with a light westerly breeze. 94 men and 66 women finished the race.