The third race in the 2014 handicap series, and the final one on the roads, as the series reached its half way point attracted by far the lowest turnout of the season, but there were enough highlights to please the combatants. For once there were also plenty of willing helpers but, unlike during the confusion of last month’s multiple sprint finish, they were not required as the runners were sufficiently courteous to leave gaps in the finishing order. That is much more in keeping for well-behaved,courteous and well-mannered Croft members.
Carol Powell was first away from the start line and ran a solo race as she anxiously anticipated a hoard of heavy breathing runners hunting her down. In reality, she ran brilliantly to win by well over a minute and also knocked over 3 minutes from her previous best time. That is a huge improvement and her beaming smile was still spread across her face as she departed the scene a long time later. She now needs another ploy to scare her into running even quicker next month. any suggestions ?
Second across the line was Ashley Cooke who was thrilled to have bettered last month’s time by nearly 2 minutes. Had the race been another 100 metres he may not have made it as he was staggering and reeling as he approached the finish line having given his all. Neil Taylor completed the top 3 with another big improvement on his previous run in April as he builds up to the Hereford Marathon later in the year.
Guy Whitmarsh continued his impressive run of form since being re-inspired since turning 70 and improved his own age-group record by almost a minute. Greg Davies also continued his progress with another P.B. Sue Powell also lengthened her impressive sequence of setting a P.B. whenever she runs at whatever distance and she now nestles in 14th position in the overall female rankings. Martin (Slim) Williams is another who appears to record P.B.s almost every time he runs, though he was more pleased to have the bragging rights over Suzanne Turvey as his time on the night was 1 second quicker. Suzanne had travelled up from Cardiff in the hope of possibly having a shot at the female course record set by Sue Powell way back in 1991. That, like the men’s course record, is an outstanding time and Suzanne ran brilliantly to get within 32 seconds of it whilst also slicing 36 seconds off her own best time. Next year, maybe.
We now head for Croft Woods for the remaining 3 rounds of the handicap series. The handicap start times there will be based on a percentage of the times recorded at Leinthall Starkes based on the relative distance and different terrain. We also extend a big thank you to the residents of Leinthall Starkes for accommodating us for the 3 runs, with particular thanks to Richard Price for kindly allowing us to park our vehicles in his farm yard. There was a time when the event attracted so few runners that we could easily park on the side of the road.
I have also attached an updated record of the fastest individual times recorded over the 26 years of the event. The men’s table was hardly affected this season with only Mark Lamonby making any major impression as he climbed to 12th = place in the rankings. A place that he now shares with Tom Davies, and this serves as a reminder of what a quality runner Tom was 20 years ago. There are a lot of runners on that list living on fond memories. It was the female listings that took an upward turn with the 2 Suzannes, as mentioned above, making big forward strides plus Steph Main entering the ranks and Jo Marriott improving her status
Photos in the Gallery