Herefordshire in May is famous for its spectacular and fragrant display of apple blossom. As the handicaps kicked in for the first time this summer, it was the running performances of Croft runners that were blossoming as another remarkable 11 PBs were recorded on a still, cool evening ideal for running. This was despite many participants still suffering from the ravages of the tough Shobdon Wood Race, just 2 days earlier, screaming in their aching limbs.
First across the finish line by a big margin was a determined Graham Crane, running like his long-legged avian namesake and setting a huge new PB. In some parts of the world the Crane is a symbol of good luck, happiness and eternal youth. Once Graham had recovered from his exertions he must have experienced all these emotions following an outstanding run. Next across the finish line was Scott Hardie, with the biggest PB improvement of the night and overtaking 17 other competitors, as he tried to follow the advice of his namesake Thomas (with a bit of poetic licence) and get Far From The Madding Crowd. A bit more dedication in his training is proving to be a real boost to his running. Tori Dickinson completed the top 3 overtaking Donna Snook in the final stages. Tori has recently returned from an inspiring trip to Nashville, Tennessee and certainly seemed to find the Country Roads of north Herefordshire to her liking. Donna may have just missed out on a top 3 choccie award, but a big PB was a suitable reward as she day-dreamed of hunting down the wicked fox that has been terrorising her chickens.
Nigel Taylor had the pleasure of overtaking the most runners (22) as he knocked 45 seconds off his April performance and continued his good spell of form after also winning the MV50 award at the Shobdon Wood Race.
Hannah Fletcher’s improved time sneaked her into the top 10 of the fastest females on the old course, whilst Gareth Leek’s best took him up one place to 11th in the men’s standings.
Mark Lamonby again illustrated that he is in the form of his life as he knocked another 4 seconds off his impressive time recorded last month. He is now just 19 seconds shy of a top 3 listing. The faster you run, the smaller the margins.
Stacey Morgan is worthy of special mention as he broke the 30 minute barrier despite being unable to train due to his chronic knee injury. He followed this with a PB as he travelled from Leinthall Starkes to his home in Presteigne in record time to get back in time to witness the wonderful Liverpool F.C. victory in the Champions League semi-final. Only joking Mr Plod – he drove with extreme caution and courtesy.
Bryan Markham, again just 2 days after completing the challenging Shobdon Wood Race, extended his record of being the oldest runner to compete in the LS5. It was gratifying to see some runners returning from injuries of varying severity – welcome back Kelly, Frank and Sue F.
One more outing on the roads in this year’s handicap series, before we head to the woods, and that will take place on Tuesday 18th June.