STARTING and finishing in the grounds of the Castle Farm Recreation Centre, the Kenilworth Half Marathon is one of the friendliest and most well organised local races.
It is always popular with Stratford Athletic Club members and Sunday’s race was no exception as eight runners from the club lined up at the start.
For 17-year-old Oscar Barbour, this was his first half marathon and a really big step up from the 10km races he has been competing in since 2014 and also the 5km park runs which he excels in.
Remarkably, he came second in the Stratford parkrun just 24 hours earlier in a personal best time of 17:08.
As might be expected of this extremely talented athlete, he ran a superb race. He finished in a magnificent 24th place, in a time of 1:24.35, a full 24 minutes ahead of the next Stratford runner to finish.
Oscar himself said he felt a bit tired in the first few miles but he then settled into a rhythm and managed to find some speed in the last three miles.
He professed himself not too disappointed with his performance but he definitely feels he has got unfinished business with the half marathon distance.
Of the 42 club members who have completed a half marathon this year, Oscar’s time is the second fastest, beaten only by Kate Wright.
It also catapults him straight into the top 40 in the country, for his age group, this year, which is not a bad start to his half marathon career!
Oscar was followed by another Stratford athlete completing his first half marathon – a somewhat surprising fact considering the large number of races he competes in each year – as Luke Watkins finished in 301st place in a time of 1:48.49.
Emily Adams (1:51.32) is currently training for the Chicago Marathon on October 9 and she will be the first to admit she has not, as yet, been putting in the necessary training miles for this event.
However, her time will be a massive boost to her and, considering her recent lack of training, it was a fabulous result.
Being the ultimate competitor and club stalwart she is, Emily went straight from the finishing line to Nuneaton, where she competed for the club in the Midlands track and field cup final.
Pete Wharton (1:56.24) was the next Stratford runner to finish, followed by two more club stalwarts in the shape of Dave Maundrell (1:58.24) who trained hard for this event and was running his first half marathon since the equivalent race in 2012 and Alan Coldicott (1:58.29) who was a mere 61 seconds slower than his time last year.
Jan McLure was another debutant at the 13.1-mile distance and she can be mighty pleased with her time of 2:11.09 on what is generally regarded to be a very undulating course.
Clive Shepherd ran a time of 2:17.25, just 63 seconds off his personal best.
Some 635 runners finished the race, which was won by Kenilworth club member Paddy Roddy in a time of 1:13.04. First lady to finish was Erica Fogg of New Forest Runners in a time of 1:22.12.
Report compiled by David Jones.