The 57th running of this classic run took place in bright sunny and pleasantly mild conditions though with a noticeable headwind. In years gone by international class and top regional runners flocked to the event and sub 50 minute times did not guarantee a finish in the top ten or even top twenty. In earlier years super fast times have been posted by among others Jimmy Alder 46mins+ and for the women Jill Hunter and Angie Pain raced to wins in 51mins+ (beating recent winning times for the men). Results and times in this event over the last decade or more reflect the general decline in standard particularly at the sharp end which is mirrored in races throughout the country.
Numbers on the start line were slightly down on the last couple of years and may be highlighted by just 2 Striders taking part (with Phil Owen warming up for a half marathon next day joining me on my 25th start) We have for many years run buses to the event and had competition amongst ourselves attempting to earn grand prix points prior to socialising over a meal and a welcome and deserved beer.
Phil without regard to the morrow started fairly swiftly and I never saw him again until the finish. I plodded my way round the course feeling comfortable but not overly so. Racing as a way and means to fitness used to work but somehow my legs have forgotten this tactic and seem set to go at their own pace!! Still proved to be enjoyable and chance to meet old adversaries again and vow to do better next year.
|1||Ricky Lightfoot||Ellenborough AC||53:29|
|50||Philippa Wakefield||Border Harriers & AC||F||1||1:01:44|