FOR Stratford Athletic Club’s international athlete Phil Brennan, it was a case of another race, another couple of medals.
Competing for England at the British & Irish Masters Cross Country International in Swansea, Brennan was the first Englishman home in the M75 age category to claim the individual bronze medal in a time of 29:18.
In so doing, he helped England claim the team silver medal, just three points behind the victorious Scottish team.
Teams for this international are in five-year age categories from the home nations and the Republic of Ireland and competitors are selected on merit. The race is run over a 6km course consisting of three 2km laps.
“The course was officially ‘undulating’ – that word again – parkland but rough with boggy bits, with a lemming-like rush down one side and a stiff climb up the other,” said Brennan. “Fortunately the weather was fine, otherwise it would have been a total nightmare.”
Brennan’s bronze and silver in Swansea were his seventh and eighth international medals of the year, having previously picked up six representing Great Britain at both the World and European Masters Championships in Madrid and Malaga earlier in the year.
Wicks retains marathon title in Broadway
SAC’s Neil Wicks claimed his second successive victory at the Broadway Marathon.
The Broadway Marathon and Half Marathon offer runners the opportunity to challenge themselves and each other amid the stunning scenery of the Northern Cotswolds. Starting and finishing in the scenic village of Broadway, the route follows trails and roads among picturesque villages, woodlands and, most importantly, hills.
Wicks finished in 3:20:40, some 46 seconds quicker than when recording his victory last year. He was also almost five minutes ahead of the second-placed runner as 108 completed the course.
In the half marathon, SAC’s Sheila Lammas narrowly missed out on being the first woman to finish, losing out by just four seconds in a sprint finish to Clair Murohy. Lammas’ time was 1:54:46, enabling her to win her age category by five minutes.
Nic Reynolds, one of SAC’s most improved runners this year, completed the race in 2:58:45 as 132 runners finished.
Shephard leads Stratford contingent in Ilmington
IN ABSOLUTELY perfect conditions for running – still and chilly – some 23 Stratford runners finished the second of the Tempo Winter Series races.
They were led home by Richard Shephard who is coming back into some good form as he finished second (37:21), not far behind the race winner of both races to date – Leamington’s Paul Andrew.
Matt Burdus-Cook is flying at the moment and came in ahead of Dan Lynch, in seventh and ninth positions respectively. Ivan Sarti led the next group home, 12th overall with a win in his new age category M55, followed by Owen Goschen (13th) who had a fantastic run for second in M45 and then Chris Cond 15th overall.
There were solid runs from Andy Cox, David Smyth and Emma Bexson, all coming within 47 minutes to give them top 40 places, with Bexson being the eighth woman finisher in a competitive field and third in her age category.
Joe Lee, Peter Sugden, Alan Dwyer and Damian Wheeler all finished in the top 60.
Of the Stratford women, Emma Parkin, Sarah Boundy and Rebecca Pridham all managed top five category places, with Boundy and Pridham poised to perform well in the overall series competition.
Consistent Suzi Graham ran another good race and an improving Simon Curran took an impressive two-and-a-half minutes off last month’s time.
New members Maggie Mcloud and Clare Eynon, graduates of the club’s Couch to 5k programme, ran superbly, with Mcloud finishing within an hour and Eynon in 1:12:24. Alice Baxendale, John Butler and Gemma Smith brought the team home.
THE SPHINX AC Coombe 8 is a tough multi-terrain course with a mixture of wooded trails and undulating farmland at the historic site of Coombe Abbey on the outskirts of Coventry.
Five SAC members took part in this challenging race and first of these to finish was Lisa Dallisson in 99th place, with a time of 1:06.15. She was followed just three minutes later by Sarah Odell (127th – 1:09:37).
Next was Chris Whateley in a time of 1:15:50. Just five seconds separated the final two SAC runners, with Tara Lambert (1:21:09) just edging out Pippa Abrahams (1:21:14).
Some 264 runners completed the race, which was won by Ben Taylor in a time of 46:47. Natalie Bhangal was the first woman to finish, clocking 54:19.
Reports compiled with the help of David Jones and Sarah Bland.