STRATFORD Athletic Club’s Pete Evans achieved both of his objectives at the New York Half Marathon as he went sub-1:32 and thus earned an age time qualification for next year’s New York Marathon and secondly ran a negative split.
Evans managed to run each 5km split faster than the previous one (22:01, 21:54, 21:45, 21:38). As he turned into Times Square, he was only just off target pace. He forced himself to pick up the pace and was also dragged along by the supportive American crowd, finishing with just seconds to spare.
His finishing time was 1:31:48, meaning he was 1,349th out of 24,641 finishers and 54th in his age category out of 1,088.
Evans went to New York with his eldest son, who he had bribed into doing his first half marathon with a weekend in New York as the incentive. He managed a highly respectable 1:47:03.
The race was won by Ethiopia’s Belay Tilahun in 1:02:10.
As the spring road running season gets into full swing, many SAC members were out and about competing in races over a variety of distances.
Sarah Boundy competed in the Oundle 20-Mile which follows a scenic course around the gently undulating wide, quiet country lanes in and around the pretty Northamptonshire villages of Fotheringhay, Nassington, Yarwell and Kings Cliffe.
Boundy completed the race in a time of 3:44:15, finishing in 357th place overall and 40th in her age category. The race was won by Phil Martin in 1:58:14, while Jennifer Austell was the first woman in 2:20:39.
The Banbury 15-Mile has always been popular with SAC runners, especially as it is part of the club’s Grand Prix competition and this year three members took part.
James Cusack was the first of those to finish. The irrepressible Irishman decided to spend part of St Patrick’s Day competing in this challenging race as he prepares for the London Marathon next month and he finished in 54th place in 1:48:43.
Next to finish for the club was Yvonne Caswell in a time of 2:08:36 and the other three SAC runners were Bev Bridgen (2:25:36), Rachel Spence (2:34:54) and Pippa Abrams (2:39:29).
Six SAC members competed at the Bath Half Marathon. First of these to finish was Karl Harris in 1:42:08 – a six-minute improvement on his previous best time for this distance. Next was Louise Stewart (2:06:50). followed by Annie Threadgill (2:34:39) and then septuagenarian Richard Eden in 2:45:33.
Eden was followed by Victoria Jeffs (2:48:25), competing in her first race for three years, and finally Karen Harris (3:13:44) who was part of the club’s Couch to 5k initiative just over a year ago and was competing in her first half marathon.
The race was won by British Olympians Chris Thompson (1:03:09) and Kate Reed (1:12:44).
In the Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon, Malcolm Bowyer had a storming race as he prepares for the London Marathon. His time of 1:30:53 enabled him to finish in 106th place out of 3,455. He also, somewhat impressively, came first out of 72 runners in his age group.
The race was won by Richard McDowell in 1:10:08.
One of the finest performances of the day was that of Naomi Whittaker, who was competing in the Fleet Half Marathon.
She last ran a half marathon seven years ago, completing it in 1:56:37. Her time last weekend, 2:02:41, was just seven minutes slower – a minute per year – which Whittaker was delighted with.
In a race of 2,700 participants, James Bellward won in 1:07:34, while Lesley Locks was the first woman in 1:18:27.
Reports by David Jones.