The final race over the north Herefordshire lanes surrounding Leinthall Starkes attracted by far the lowest turnout so far this summer (?) for the handicap series races. Some were heavy legged after so many recent races, some were still drying out after last week’s soggy league race, some were fulfilling parental duties as the end of the school year approaches and some were on holiday jollies – possibly deliberately avoiding this showdown.
First across the line by a huge margin of over 2 minutes, and running a solo race as he was also first to depart, was our remarkable Hon. El Presidente Bryan Markham, who was obviously in friskier mood this month as he ran over 5 mins. quicker than last month’s effort. Yet again he set a course record as the oldest swinger in town to complete the old historic course, and he holds on to his MV75 course record for another season. Rumour has it that our recently crowned MV75 European Mountain Running Age Group Champion Guy Whitmarsh ‘s Irish holiday was sponsored by Markham’s Garage for that very purpose. Next across the line was Frank Luscott. It is great to see him running again, despite his debilitating illness, and he may not be running at a level that he would like but he knocked 3 mins. off his return run last month and should be well pleased with that. Ultra specialist Gemma Mallett is also capable of running fast over all distances and she completed the top 3 with another speedy performance.
There were fewer P.B.s than usual with Louise Reeves recording the biggest improvement to take our Hon. Madam Chairman’s discretionary award for the star performance of the evening. The 2 other P.B. recorders turned out to be a Jones family battle, with Greg taking the bragging rights on this occasion.
The updated lists of the fastest runners over this traditional club accurately measured 5 mile course, in an event that has now been going for over 30 years, show that there have been 3 x additions or improvements in the men’s rankings and 6 in the women’s rankings. The records had stagnated for a few years, so it is rewarding to see that standards are beginning to rise again.
As from next month the series will move to Croft Woods for the remaining 3 runs in the series. Handicap start times for the first of these, to be held on Tues. 16th July, will be based on a percentage of the last recorded times on the Leinthall Starkes course.