The 2018 Croft Ambrey Handicap Series reached its half way stage with the final road event at Leinthall Starkes, before we head for the woods for the remainder of the series. A number of familiar faces were missing for this run, but they were replaced by 5 welcome newcomers testing out the old course for the first time, plus a welcome back to the fold to Martin “Slim” Williams. The P.B.s keep flowing with 7 more set in favourable running conditions.
Excluding runners participating for the first time on (sometimes misguided) estimated start times, it was Neil Taylor who stormed across the finish line first. Having executed a below par performance last month, it was good to see Neil back to form as he knocked over two and a half minutes off last month’s time. Heather had started well in front of everyone else and, as she approached the final stages after running almost all of the course on her own, she must have anxiously awaited the sound of speedy footsteps and heavy breathing from the rear or would she hang on to complete the run at the head of the field ? Sure enough the hunters attacked, in the shape of guest runner Mike Powell and Neil T., but they were the only ones to stride past and Heather was delighted to finish 2nd. In 3rd place, with possibly the star run of the night was, 19 year old Will Gore. Just 3 days previously Will had competed well in the gruelling Offa’s Dyke 15 race yet he was still able, on tired legs, to improve his P.B. here by 1 min. 50 secs having already knocked nearly 2 mins.off his best time last month. Will’s time of 33.18 was the fastest of the night and his hard work in training is paying dividends as he improves with every race.
Nigel Mason was next across the line as he also gets quicker on his comeback trail. The Wigmore Posse of Louise and Gemma also sliced huge amounts off their best times, and we had more best time revisions from Weisenheimer Scott, Stephanie, Theresa and Lisa as another successful road section to the series was concluded.
Perhaps rivalling Will for star billing was the venerable Bryan Markham. Just days short of his 78th birthday, he sliced over a minute off his own MV75 course record and added to his already lofty status as one of Croft Ambrey’s living legends.
The 4th event in the 6 race series will be held in Croft Woods on Tuesday 17th July.