STARTING and finishing in the High Street with a traffic-free course through the lanes and villages, the Alcester 10k always attracts a strong Stratford Athletic Club representation.
This fifth year of the event was no exception and even the weather played its part, with the forecast rain failing to materialise and conditions remaining sunny and warm.
Every age and ability was represented in SAC’s 16 finishers, from John Raby – a magnificent eighth and close to his best in 39:04 – to Richard Hadley, 909th, in 1:22:36, claiming the rearguard position from John Butler, 871st, 1:16:02.
Mark Hateley, 35th, 42:07, was followed in by Lynne Hinson 94th. Her 46:57 put her third in the F45 category despite being her first outing for several months and kept her ahead of Damian Wheeler, 97th, 47:04.
Tony Tomecek had to put up with Phil Brennan snapping at his heels in the later stages but held him off to finish 146th, 49:09. Brennan’s 153rd, 49:30, was second in the M65 category.
Five further runners came in under the hour. Andrew Madden, 53:28, and Stuart Macleod, 54:14, were followed in by the tireless Louise Stewart, 54:27, “taking it easy” after a hard midweek track race and with a harder trail race on the horizon.
Kate Sergent, 398th, 57:17, looked in good form ahead of her international marathon later this month as she edged out Ruth Calderbank, 418th, 57:17, taking the F65 top spot with Calderbank 2nd F65.
The club’s 10k specialist Clare Eynon was just under the hour with 59:54.
Mark Bailey and Robert Dunnett had a mutual aid pact which saw them finish together in 1:12:31 and 1:12:32 respectively, with John Butler and Richard Hadley a little behind. Having avoided the cider stall at halfway, it was time to try the (non-alcoholic) beer in the High Street.
How far will they go?
FINISHING any marathon is a great achievement and three Stratford AC competitors in the Chester Marathon – Rachael Green, 4:21:07, Kim Lee, 4:27:05, and Ian Greaves, 4:52:51 – are far from the club’s most experienced at this distance so deserve full credit.
Four of their club-mates prefer things a little wilder, so headed for the Loch Ness Marathon – possibly one of the most spectacular in the world.
After some solid training, James Coy had a fine run. He found the conditions horrible to start but they improved in the latter stages and he was pleased to finish just outside the top 300 in a time of 3:32:43.
Cara Reynolds, who was close behind in 3:43:54, had a great run, especially as she was recovering from injury and was inside her targeted time.
Richard Hartwell, 5:17:51, and Victoria Jeffs, 5:56:29, both did well to overcome a distance they are not greatly familiar with.
The ‘far side’ prize must, however, go to Lesley Kirk who took a day out of her holiday to run in day one of the Atlantic Coast Challenge – an opportunity to ‘run, walk or crawl’ around the north Cornish coast, the full distance equivalent to three marathons in three days.
She completed the marathon distance in 5:34:32, despite being blown flat by the wind on several occasions and left at risk from the waves of Storm Lorenzo.