KATE SERGENT led a Stratford Athletic Club quintet home at the Chester Marathon, which was once again chosen to be the England Age Group Masters Marathon.
The spectacular route is both historic and scenic, with 19 miles run in England and seven in Wales. The course is largely flat with some short hills or gradual climbs, which are predominantly in the second half of the course.
England international Sergent, representing her country on the day, clocked a time of 4:35:28 which was 47 seconds quicker than last year’s effort as she finished an extremely impressive fourth in her age category.
Ryan Bakewell was the first ‘Stratford’ runner to finish, taking more than an hour off his PB with a time of 3:50:15.
Jennifer Morrison-Jones was delighted with her time of 3:54:08 – a 28-minute improvement over her previous best time – even though she has had rather erratic training over the summer with both family and work commitments.
Jan McLure had trained both diligently and extensively for her first foray into a race of this distance and this effort paid off handsomely with her recording a time of 4:25:29, whilst Martyn Sergent was just ten minutes slower than last year, recording a time of 5:35:26.
COMPETING in his first half marathon, Stratford AC’s Alex Hill continued his rapid improvement in Cardiff with a time of 1:27.35 to finish in 487th place and the top 25 per cent of the almost 19,000 runners.
His 5km splits were all within 30 seconds of each other, showing great maturity for someone competing in their first 13.1-mile race.
TEN Stratford members featured in the Alcester 10k – with one an age category winner and three earning second places in their age category.
Ollie Senior was first of the club’s runners to finish, placing fifth in a PB of 35:17 to finish second in his age group. Dave Parkin was the next SAC member to cross the finish line, placing 15th in 38:04, taking almost three minutes off his PB set at this race two years ago. He was followed by Alan Dwyer in 71st place with a time of 43:57, also a PB.
Lynne Hinson was next to finish for the club. Her time of 45:21 was 30 seconds quicker than last year, ensuring she finished second in the W45 age category. Phil Brennan (47:53) also finished second in his age category, M75.
He was followed by Suzi Graham (49:13), almost two minutes quicker than last year and her quickest 10km for two years. Ruth Calderbank, another runner who improved on her time of last year, this time by almost a minute, crossed the line in 52:20 to finish first in the W65 category, almost eight minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
Alice Baxendale’s time of 58:03 was a PB by almost two minutes. Tomas Horbury’s time of 1:01:46 was just 20 seconds slower than his time at the Blenheim 10km just seven days prior, while Sheryl Buckland finished in 1:09:17.
THE RUGBY ten-mile race was the final event in this year’s Warwickshire Road Race League and six SAC runners competed.
Pete Sugden was the first of these to finish, clocking 1:14:20, four minutes quicker than last year. Annie Cox ran 1:20:45 to finish not only first in her age category but overall age category winner for the year in the Warwickshire Road Race League.
Luke Watkins (1:23:45) was followed by the greatly-improved Nic Reynolds (1:36:27), 11 minutes better than her previous best time over this distance.
She was followed by Pippa Abrams (1:39:05) and Tash Watkins (1:46:47).
SAC’s international race-walker Paul Hawkins got his Midland Winter Race Walk League season off to a flying start in Stourport.
His time of 1:03:37 for this 10km race was both a personal best time by some 13 seconds and a club record. Hawkins was pleasantly surprised by the time as he had not expected to get under 1:04:30 having had a bit of a break following his recent championship racing in Malaga.
He finished first in his age category and consolidated his fifth-placed ranking in the UK this year in his age group.
Reports compiled by David Jones.