Shobdon Wood 6


The 13th running of this annual Croft challenging race witnessed a record entry and 123 finishers. Sadly the late spring meant that there was no colourful carpet of bluebells to cheer the competitors but excellent team work, both on and off the course, generated a highly successful day for the club.
The race was won by the in-form Eliot Taylor of Hereford Couriers, who showed that he meant business from the start as he built a considerable lead before relaxing after he glimpsed over his shoulder at the top of the first big climb, where an extensive scenic view has now been revealed thanks to the sweeping forestry harvesting. Eliot then relaxed and coasted home to record a comfortable victory. He was chased by 2 quality over 45 runners who have featured well in the Herefordshire league races. Builth’s Mike Pfeiffer is persistent on the steep ascents and continued to chase hard to take 2nd place and break the MV45 course record, with the consistent John Pullen of Wye Valley Runners completing the top 3. Even these top finishers were overheard discussing whether they had walked up parts of the steep winding track on the return journey ! Then the Croft success story began with Mark L. continuing his progress with a strong 4th place, closely followed by a magnificent performance from 17 year old Andrew in 5th- that was an exceptional run full of promise. A powerful run from Dave George in 8th place completed the Croft first team who were the emphatic winners of the men’s team event – well done, lads. Jordan, getting back into some kind of running shape, was next Croft runner home in 12th place, whilst Mick again illustrated his liking for this hilly course with 15th place and the first MV55 award. Ben R. crossed the line in 25th declaring “You didn’t tell me it was that difficult” – it’s all in the mind, Ben. Gary G., another who revels in the testing nature of this demanding course, ran superbly to finish 29th winning the MV65 award and taking the scalp (appropriately for a retired hairdresser) of Steve Herington – this year’s run broke Steve’s sequence of 12 successive category wins on the course as he was beaten by his overjoyed Couriers team mate Steve Littlewood. Jon Briggs unleashed a blistering sprint finish to take 35th place. An outstanding and storming run from Ruth saw her finish 5th female and 37th overall. Ashley R. gave his all and collapsed across the finish line in 44th place followed by Neil T., who is returning to form, in 45th. Tom has probably run around this course more times than anyone over the years in training and racing and he again completed the race strongly in 53rd place. Sam was delighted to prove to herself that she has fully recovered from her recent injury to knock almost a minute off her previous best time in this race and finish 10th female and 61st overall. Jason enjoyed his first taste of the race in Croft colours to take 70th place and Kim demonstrated that her recent good spell of training on the hills near her home was paying dividends by finishing 18th female and 90th overall. These impressive performances from Ruth, Sam and Kim won the women’s team prize for the elated trio and completed an historic team double for the club.
The women’s race was won in fine style by Emma Gould of West Bromwich Harriers as she sped around the testing course in 38.42 to finish an outstanding 6th overall. Mel Price, of Mercia Fell Runners, was equally impressive finishing 2nd female and 9th overall and also breaking the FV40 course record. Nikki Hughes, an unattached runner from near Malvern, completed the top 3 females placing 20th overall.
Both Guy and I have received a number of complimentary comments from competitors with reference to the organisation, the course and the enthusiasm and support of the marshals. Well done to everyone involved. Results are now on the Results page

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