9 Croft runners turned out for this club/county championship race, with out-of-county Neil T spectating and taking photos.
I don’t think I was the only one to be daunted by the size of the 400m track – longer than my fading memory had recalled, and confirmed as Tom and I did a couple of warm up laps. First race was the veteran men (I was old enough to be the grandfather of some), and we lined up a few metres short of the finish line. From the off, Tom and I got left behind, with Ashley in what turned out to be the second bunch. After one lap I was amazed/horrified to hear our time called out – 1.42? Something else I hadn’t really planned for – lap times. I was, I suppose, still thinking fondly, stupidly, in terms of 75 seconds. Lap 2 took a little longer, and by the last lap I was wondering if I was still making headway. There was certainly no sprint finish in my legs. Tom finished just behind me in 7m 37.6 (I was 7m 35.1), as we were both lapped by the leading three runners. Ashley was well ahead of us, slightly over a minute, in 6m 34.9.
In the ladies’ race, Robyn set off into the lead from the start, and by the end of the first lap was 30m up on the chasing group of 3 Couriers, Liz, Jo M and a Wye Valley runner, with Sam chasing a runner a short way in front of her, and Tori running a sound solo race. By lap 3, Robyn was 50 m ahead, and the chasing group of 6 was still together, and Sam was gaining on her nearest runner. Entering the finishing straight Robyn picked up speed, and crossed the line a good 100m clear, in 6m 08.8. Jo was next (6m 35.7), with Liz just behind in 6m 41. Sam had overtaken her rival and finished in 7m 18.9, with Tori gamely maintaining her steady solo run, in 7m 57.9. So Robyn was crowned 1st Senior Lady, after a magnificent dominating run from the very start.
Will, still a Junior Man, competed with a strong field of (mostly) senior men. The race was won, by a neck, by Eliot Taylor, from a group of 4 fast finishers. Will found himself at the start of the home straight being challenged by a Courier he’d overtaken earlier, but with a determined sprint over the full 100m, held off his challenger, to cross the line in 5m 32.8, the fastest Croft time on the night, and making him 3rd Junior Man. A fine evening’s running by the Gore family.
I think we all found a flat mile not exactly to our liking, and discovered that our competitors from other clubs were much better prepared for the event, and the track.