SOME 230 runners completed the third of the five monthly races in the challenging Tempo Events Winter Series on new year’s eve.
The races start and finish at Ilmington Sports Club and include an ascent and descent of Larkstoke, Warwickshire’s highest hill.
Runners from Stratford Athletic Club made it a memorable day, not least Oscar Barbour, the club’s recently crowned Senior Athlete of the Year.
Oscar had an absolutely sensational race, winning the event by 15 seconds in the magnificent time of 36.22, at an average pace of 5.50 per mile.
With the second mile up Larkstoke taking 7.27, that shows just how quickly the rest of the race was and ensured he finished 2017 in fine style.
SAC had three runners in the top ten and nine in the top 30. Next to finish for the club in fourth was Rich Shephard in a time of 37.25. Rich showed that after a difficult year he is once again approaching his best form.
Another of the club’s runners who has had a fabulous year is Neil Wicks, finishing in seventh place with a time of 39.50 despite only recently returning to training after an end of season break.
Nineteen-year-old Sam Weaving has shown remarkable consistency in all three of this winter’s races and his 14th place in this race in a time of 41.47 puts him fourth overall.
Chris Cond (18th – 43.30) is another runner who has shown great consistency in all three of this year’s races – a point reinforced by the fact he is third in his age category and seventh overall.
The battle between David Smyth (21st – 44.03) and Ivan Sarti (22nd – 44.03) continues, with them occupying second and third place in their age categories and eighth and ninth overall. David just has the edge by two seconds over the three races.
Completing the top 30 finishers for the club were Matt Burdus (26th – 44.21) and recent recruit Owen Goschen (28th – 45.07). Andy Cox (31st – 45.44) is another runner who has had a fabulously consistent series and he is fifth in his age category.
Barely a minute covered the next three SAC runners to finish. Leading home the trio was Martyn Austin (35th – 46.10), closely followed by Paul Jeffries (43rd – 46.48) who is really enjoying his running at the moment. The final one of the trio was young Alex Hill (47th – 47.12) who has shown great improvement during 2017.
The first lady to finish for the club was the redoubtable Emma Bexson (49th – 47.26). Emma was second in her age category, a mere one position and eight seconds behind the age group winner. The first lady to finish, in 32nd place, was Katy Young in a time of 45.46.
Emma was the first of a group of four Stratford ladies to finish. She was followed by Seanin McPherson (55th – 48.39) who was also second in her age category. Next was Emma Vickers (64th – 49.33) who was third in her age category and is another of the club’s runners who has finished the year in fabulous form.
Lynne Hinson was recently named the club’s most improved athlete of the year and, as if to prove the point, she finished in 89th place in a time of 51.47 – a performance that leaves her second in her age category.
Tim Owrid (119th – 55.39) finished the year with a wonderful performance, ensuring he came fourth in the competitive M55 age category.
Rebecca Pridham (152nd – 59.37) will have been delighted to dip under the hour mark in her first race following a foot injury and she was followed by Daniel Whittington (174th – 1:01.50) and Paul Nash (200th – 1:08.18).
If they gave medals for sheer grit and determination, Gemma Smith (215th – 1:12.13) would be on the podium every race.
Report compiled by David Jones.