ONCE again more than 300 runners competed in the latest monthly Tempo Events Winter Series meeting and race two around the lanes and hills of Ilmington was met with relish.
The 10k event took place in surprisingly mild conditions and the only difficulty was caused by the mud and fallen leaves which made the steep downhill sections treacherous.
Stratford Athletic Club again dominated this popular event, with 37 runners taking part. In a race in which anyone who finishes is to be congratulated, there were some standout performers as well.
Rich Shepherd stormed home as overall winner in 36:34 – his fastest over the course for two years – and an emphatic minute-and-a-half in front of team-mate Matt Burdus-Cook in second place.
The latter demonstrated his continuous improvement by posting his fastest time over the course and was comfortably ahead of the third-placed runner.
Long distance specialists Richard Liggatt (10th, 42:01) and Ade Mason (16th, 43:04) were next in. Just over a minute separated Owen Goschen (17th, 43:14), Seth Turner (18th, 43:24), Malcolm Bowyer (19th, 44:00) and Joe Lee (22nd, 44:24).
Bowyer was a comfortable M55 category winner, over two minutes ahead of the second finisher.
Max Ross (24th, 44:50) beat 45 minutes, while the next finishers – Mark Hateley, Emma Bexson, Graham Hill, Ben Phyall, John Bettles, Clive Swain, Luke Watkins and Amy Hinton – were well inside 50 minutes and Carl James (50:51) and Clare Weatherhead (51:00) came close.
Peter Wharton (52:54) and Phil Brennan (54:02, 1st M75) were followed by Rebecca Pridham (55:08), Kimberley Lee (55:12) and Tony Tomecek (55:22).
Another 13 SAC runners finished this always difficult challenge, including John Butler (300th, 1:22:47) who enjoyed his new status as second in the M75 category.
Next month’s race, in the opposite direction, will continue the debate over which is the worst way around.