Tom’s research discovered that this was the 100th Croft Ambrey race over this classic 5 mile course around the leafy lanes of north Herefordshire. The first experimental event was held way back in 1989 when just 8 club runners tested out the new accurately measured route. 25 years later there were 33 competitors (a record, surpassing the 32 for the first run this season) on a warm and sultry evening.
Of the 8 original runners there were 3 in attendance with Tom completing a remarkable 98th race and Bryan continuing to set the record of being the oldest runner to complete the course. Only your correspondent has failed to last the distance. It was also rewarding to see some unfamiliar faces who have featured over the years with Paul Healey still as irreverent as always, Colin Griffiths (still the 8th fastest around the course) looking healthy and Dave Moss (the 9th fastest) plus Kayleigh and Nigel Davidson deciding to take on the challenge again. Good to be supported by Kim’s presence just a couple of days after her first assault on the Half Ironman triathlon success.
A celebratory cake was kindly supplied by our vice chairman Dave Ameghino. Filled with passion that no-one would get their sticky mitts on his confectionery before his ceremonial slicing, Dave was and sped past 19 runners who had started before him to cross the finish line over a minute clear of the field. Great to see Dave rediscovering some form and recording a time that was nearly two and a half minutes quicker than his run in April. Maybe he should supply a cake for every race that he runs – this proposition will be mooted at the next committee meeting. Sue Powell, in her first race after her maiden London Marathon run, took second place with a big PB proving that the marathon training was still beneficial. Guy completed the top 3 in a season’s best time – still running strongly at the ripe old age of 69.
Despite the muggy conditions, there were seven PB’s set with Rob’s being the most impressive. He has been chipping away at his best times over the last two races but here he improved by a huge 56 seconds to end the road section of the handicap series on a high note. Irina, Ruth, Jo and Sam all improved their times and consolidated their positions on the all-time best female positions, with Ruth managing to transfer her fell running talents to the roads with a big improvement.
Stacey, running as a non-competitor in the overall series, continued to confound science. Just six days shy of going under the surgeon’s knife to rectify an injury problem that has been restricting and paining him for a long time and preventing him from training in any meaningful way, he still managed to break the 30 minute barrier. Hopefully, the op. will be a complete success any Stacey will return better than ever after a few months recuperation. The fastest time on the night (29.47) was recorded by Mark Lamonby who ran a solo run at the rear of the field. Mark had rushed from a work commitment in Birmingham and jumped out of his van on to the start line. This is a new and original type of pre-race warm up with the adrenalin of a fast drive in a big white van serving the purpose.
With everyone safely home, Dave allowed the hungry masses to set about his precious cake to complete an enjoyable and successful evening celebrating an event that has become an important part of the Croft Ambrey club’s running calendar. Here’s to the next 100 – Tom will be aged 103 by then and I am heading down to Ladbrokes tomorrow to see what odds they will offer on him completing the 2nd centenary.
The next event in the 6 race handicap series will be transferred to Croft Woods, on 16th July, where start times will be based on a percentage of the road times.