HALF a dozen Stratford Athletic Club runners tackled the tough Coombe 8 multi-terrain course hosted by Coventry’s Sphinx AC.
A mixture of wooded trails and undulating farmland, at the historic site of Coombe Abbey on the outskirts of Coventry, was tackled over a distance of approximately 8.4 miles and first home for Stratford was ultra marathon specialist Graham Black who was 94th in a time of 1:01.34.
Just over a minute separated the next two Stratford runners. First of these was Sarah Odell (191st – 1:10.36) who was competing just one week after running the gruelling Broadway Half Marathon but, despite this, she was more than a minute quicker than when she last competed in the race in 2015.
Following Sarah was Lesley Kirk (203rd – 1:11.58), for whom this race ticked all the boxes – containing both water and hills!
Lesley commented: “The Coombe 8 was a lovely off-road event through the woods and surrounding fields of Coombe Abbey. This was my first event since completing the Atlantic Coast Challenge back in early October and, despite it being a mostly flat course, I found it tough going.
“The very cold weather played havoc with my asthma, plus a lack of speed work training meant I was a lot slower than I would have liked.”
Just 80 seconds behind Lesley was Chris Whateley in 219th place in the very impressive time of 1:13.18.
Jean Hill (314th – 1:34.18) continues to improve and in this race she was confident enough to step up from her preferred 10km distance.
Pip Abrams finished in 332nd place in 1:42.09. The race was won by Paul Andrew in 46.03 and first lady to finish was Polly Keen in 14th place in 52.21 as 346 runners completed the race.
VOTED into the top ten off-road races by readers of Runner’s World, the Croome Capability Canter is a 6.5-mile (10kish) multi-terrain race around the scenic Croome Court designed by renowned 18th century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
Stratford’s sole competitor in this race was Sheila Lammas and to say Sheila is in a fine vein of form would be something of an understatement.
Only the previous weekend she competed in the gruelling Broadway Half Marathon in which she finished first lady, a full eight minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
In this latest challenge, she completed the course in 58th place in 49.27. She once again was first to finish in her age category and finished fourth lady overall.
The race was won by Sam Upton in 38.47 and first lady to finish in 20th place in 44.23 was Sophie Booth as 325 runners completed the race.