15th May, 2021

Stratford quartet battle through the mud

Liam Moakes 15th Jan, 2020

THE FLADBURY Festive 5 in south Worcestershire marks the end of the festive season and the beginning of the new year with a five-mile, off-road challenge along the banks of the River Avon.

More than 150 runners were hardly surprised by the muddy conditions, but the four from Stratford Athletic Club managed particularly well.

The overall winner was Jonathan Barnes from Cheltenham, whose time of 34.30 reflected the difficulty of the course and first in for Stratford was Liuba Pasa (42nd, 47.21).

She was followed by Lisa Dallison (55th, 48.35), Chris Whately (59th, 49.21) and Jean Hill (125th, 1.00.49).

Dallison was third in her age category, whilst both Pasa and Whately were first and prize winners in theirs. All four enjoyed the unusual finishers’ prizes of tomatoes and socks.

EXTREME challenges are nothing new to SAC’s adventurous athletes, but even Drew Sambridge and Rob Minton were taken aback by conditions in the Anglesey Ultra (32 miles) and Half Marathon.

Both courses were described by the organisers as “strenuous”, with large stretches following rocky footpaths around the island’s mountainous coast and the carrying of survival kit mandatory.

The half marathon, longer than the standard distance, involved climbs of more than 2,000ft, while the ultra challenge had more than 3,500ft ascent. Add in rain and galeforce winds reaching 60mph and it is obvious why one competitor summed it up as “awful”.

Despite this, both Sambridge and Minton did well, with the former completing the Ultra in a brilliant fifth place in 5:51:22. There were 61 starters of whom 12 failed to finish.

Minton was sixth in the more popular half marathon in 2:21:49 – another excellent result in an event in which merely finishing was an achievement. Just under 100 finished the race.

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