THE CHRISTMAS Cracker 20km and 10km races, organised by Raceways Events, took place in cold but dry conditions with some ice on the roads to be wary off.
These races are no joking matter, as runners negotiate a notoriously tough course that commences and finishes in Moreton Morrell, and once again Stratford Athletic Club members were amongst the competitors.
The 20km race saw Stratford AC’s Kate Wright (4th, 1:19.24) win the women’s event and finish in a superb 4th place overall. She finished 11 minutes, 43 seconds clear of her nearest female rival.
Kate has raced on this course three times and has got faster on each occasion and she was deservedly happy with her run. Kate has been training hard for the last eight weeks and is “feeling strong at the moment” as she ably demonstrated with a remarkably comfortable run.
She kept the man in 3rd place in sight all the way and tried not to push too hard, as she is running in the Portsmouth Coastal Waterfront Marathon on December 21 (with club-mates Victoria Jeffs, Lesley Kirk and Yvonne Caswell).
James Cusack (8th, 1:27.00) also enjoyed the race and had no complaints about his performance or his time.
The next races James will be focusing on are the hilly but scenic Fat Turkey 10k in his home city of Dublin, a Tempo Winter Series 10k and the ‘Coventry Runner’ Not the Roman IX.
The race winner was Ed Swithenby (unattached) in a time of 1:18.38.
FIRST home in the 10km race for Stratford AC was Simon Penson (28th, 44.23). Simon did not take any chances as he was not feeling on top form on the day, making his time even more impressive. He enjoyed his race despite the icy roads.
Simon has planned a challenging start to 2015 which includes the Forest of Dean Trails Half Marathon.
The race was only the second running event that Dave Clarkson (52nd, 50.21) has taken part in, the other being the 2013 edition. As he is fairly new to the sport, Dave is still getting used to the competitive race experience. His target was sub-50 minutes, so while just outside that time he managed a big personal best which was just rewards for his efforts.
It was great to see Debbie Edkins (103rd, 56.20) continuing her fine run of 10km form in a Stratford AC vest and make negotiating the undulations look easy. She dug deep in the home straight to produce a terrific sprint finish.
Just behind Debbie there were a flurry of marvellous Stratford performances headed by Michele Cottiss (107th, 56.46).
Elspeth Gregory (112th, 57.26) ran an excellent race, coping well with the long pull up the final hill.
Even-paced running from Suzanne Jones (119th, 58.38) and Kate Sergent (13rd, 58.56) secured a pair of very creditable times.
Susanna Brown (128th, 59.22), Jo Young (133rd, 59.33) and Kate Barrett (59.35) worked off each other well and were delighted to finish inside the one-hour mark. The three women sensibly added an extra layer to their attire to shield against the icy temperatures.
The unflappable John Butler (158th, 1:03.18) delivered the goods once again, showing his liking for courses which allow him to utilise his stamina.
Oli Spicer (163rd, 1:04.21) and Aimee Spicer (164th, 1:04.24) made confident club debuts and were both very proud of their achievement. However, Aimee was a little surprised by the results, claiming she crossed the finish line ahead of her husband!
The race was won by Stuart Spencer of Barrow Runners (31.27), almost six minutes clear of the 2nd placed athlete.
Full results: 20km – Kate Wright – 1:19.24 (4th); James Cusack – 1:27.00 (8th).
10km – Simon Penson – 44.23 (28th); David Clarkson – 50.21 (52nd); Debbie Edkins – 56.20 (103rd); Michele Cottiss – 56.46 (107th); Elspeth Gregory – 57.26 (112th); Suzanne Jones – 58.38 (119th); Kate Sergent – 58.56 (123rd); Susanna Brown – 59.22 (128th); Jo Young – 59.33 (132nd); Kate Barrett – 59.35 (133rd); John Butler – 1:03.18 (158th); Oli Spicer – 1:04.21 (163rd); Aimee Spicer – 1:04.24 (164th).