SHE may have had to wait until mid-December, but Stratford Athletic Club’s Kate Wright has made her long-awaited 2018 competitive debut following a prolonged period of injury.
On a cold winter morning, Wright was one of 300 runners competing in the fifth annual Evesham Festive 10k, which proved successful for Stratford AC.
Conditions, which had been ideal in the middle of the week, were less than ideal on race day. Heavy rain in the previous 48 hours had turned much of the course if not exactly into a quagmire, then into an extremely slippery and challenging surface.
Add to these conditions the undulating nature of the course, mainly across muddy fields, and it was a race that – as the starter intimated – was most definitely not one where many personal bests would be set.
Seven of the finishers were from Stratford AC and between them claimed three age category wins.
Wright, Stratford’s first finisher, was contesting her first 10km for almost two years. On the start line she professed herself nervous and said she saw the race as one she just wanted to complete. She had no need whatsoever to be nervous, though, and ran superbly to finish 17th overall in 43:46.
She comfortably won her age category by almost seven minutes and was the second woman to finish, just 38 seconds behind the first-placed woman.
David Jones was the next SAC runner to finish, placing 69th in 51:54. Jones was also making something of a comeback following injury earlier in the year and this was his first 10km for almost 18 months.
He was just delighted to get round with no ill-effects and was reasonably happy with his time.
Next to finish for the club was Sarah Odell (79th, 53:04) who professed herself happy with the race. It is just the sort of race she revels in – cold, muddy and undulating.
She was followed by another age category winner, the ageless Roger Wilson (91st, 54:09) who won his age category by the comfortable margin of exactly two minutes.
Lisa Whittington (201st, 1:03:49) was followed by a brace of Stratford women who ran the race together. Kate Sergent (237th, 1:08:27) was just given the nod over Pippa Abrams (238th, 1:08:27), although they crossed the line together, hands held and arms aloft.
Sergent was the third of the club’s age category winners, finishing some 70 seconds ahead of her closest rival.
Lesley Kirk started the race but problems with her breathing meant she had to pull out after a mile-and-a-half.
The race was won by Alex Doherty in 36:53 and Jennifer Cashmore was the first woman to finish, placing 14th overall in 43:18.
Cardiff Met Christmas Classic
TWO members of Stratford AC – at either end of the age spectrum with some 55 years separating them – competed in indoor 3,000m races at the Welsh National Indoor Arena in Cardiff on Sunday.
Cadie Hibberd, contesting her first ever indoor race, knocked ten seconds off her previous best time, finishing in 11:35.63.
British international Phil Brennan finished in a time of 13:25.53.
“With the World Masters Indoors looming, I was there for the Welsh Masters open 3,000m as an excuse to kickstart the 2019 season and to try to shake off the winter gloom and see how much work I need to do,” said Brennan.
“The answer is ‘a lot’. Although the M75 category was a walkover, my time (13:25) was close to a personal worst.
“It was a surprise and a pleasure to see Cadie Hibberd in her Cardiff University colours, showing impressive strength, despite having done mostly cross country during the winter.
“She is an extremely capable runner.”
Reports thanks to David Jones.