IT IS a sign that winter is almost upon us when the first of the five Tempo Winter Series races takes place, writes David Jones.
This annual series has become so popular over recent years that the organisers have had to negotiate with the local parish council to put a cap on the number of runners who can take part in each race.
The incentive for runners to complete all five races is that they are rewarded, at the end of the fifth race, with a wonderful hoody. Anyone completing this most taxing of courses five times has most certainly earned the reward!
As has become the norm for these races, a large contingent of Stratford Athletic Club runners lined up on the start line in fine autumnal weather.
Indeed, 30 of the 237 finishers were from the club. Not only was SAC well represented in the number competing, but it was also extremely well represented in the top finishing places.
Seven of the top 20 finishers and four of the first six female finishers were from SAC.
First home for Stratford, in fourth place, was Neil Wicks in a time of 39.15, closely followed in fifth place by 18-year-old Sam Weaving who recorded a superb time of 40.02.
Just 17 seconds separated the next three Stratford runners. In 13th place was Graham Taylor (42.13), followed by David Smyth (42.20) in 14th and James Cusack (42.30) in 15th.
Next was Malcolm Bowyer (42.58 – 17th). Not only did Malcolm finish first in the M55 category, but he then proceeded to run home to Temple Grafton in preparation for the New York Marathon on November 6.
Next to finish for Stratford were Tim Tandy (43.30 – 19th), Sam Nicholson (44.43 – 23rd) and Pete Evans (45.24 – 26th).
Wayne Vickers (45.59), running with Emma Bexson, finished in 28th place, despite being heavily jet-lagged having just returned from China.
Emma (46.00) was 29th and also first lady to finish in what was a magnificent effort.
Third lady to finish, in 41st place, was Hannah Spriggs (47.59), followed by fifth and sixth lady finishers Emma Vickers (49.16) and Emma Parkin (49.38).
Next to finish were husband and wife Rich (51.22 – 71st) and Ceri Shephard (51.22 – 72nd). Lynne Hinson has had a torrid few months of injury but she showed herself to be almost back to her best, finishing in 74th place in a time of 51.47.
The race was won by Richard Simkiss in a time of 37.38.
Other Stratford runners to complete the race were: Tim Owrid 53.31 – 85th; Suzi Graham 53.38 – 89th; Rebecca Pridham 53.59 – 94th; Alan Coldicott 54.59 – 101st; Alan Wright 56.07 – 114th; Maureen Birch – 56.47 – 122nd (1st in FV65 age group); Kate Sergent 59.23 – 147th; Fern Hordern 1:00.34 – 159th; Ollie Spicer 1:01.44 – 167th; Nic Reynolds 1:02.27 – 174th; John Butler 1:03.38 – 179th (3rd M65 category); Clive Shepherd 1:03.56 – 180th; Martyn Sergent 1:05.50 – 190th.
THE DRAYCOTE Water 10-mile race consists of two laps of Draycote Water near Rugby and 221 runners completed the latest event, which was won by Mark Powell in a time of 55:03.
From a Stratford AC perspective, this was another race in which Kate Wright finished first lady.
Kate finished in a magnificent time of 64.54, averaging just under 6.30 pace. Kate was more than three minutes ahead of the next lady to finish and in coming first she beat 100 other lady runners.
THE MANCHESTER Half Marathon was the third 13.1-mile event marathon in just four weeks for Stratford’s half marathon specialists James Coy and Richard Hartwell.
James just keeps getting quicker. His time for Belfast in mid-September was 1:32.34 and he improved by more than three minutes at Cheltenham just seven days later to record a time of 1:29.11.
In Manchester, he ran 79 seconds quicker to record a splendid PB of 1:27.52.
Richard’s time at Manchester was 2:11.45, slightly more than three minutes slower than Cheltenham. The duo’s next planned half is Inverness in spring 2017.
Nineteen-year-old Cadie Hibberd revealed the recent Leicester Half Marathon was the most enjoyable distance race she has competed in and, while her time of 1:57.38 (252nd place of 802 females) was not her quickest, neither was it her slowest.
It was a good improvement on her Cardiff Half race in August and she certainly enjoyed the experience.
Anne Holyland of Wreake Runners was the winner in 1:20.20.