It appears that Team Sky Blue’s valiant effort to defend their title and, thereby, record a hat trick of Summer League championships may have hit the buffers at a heavy and muddy Westhope race. The season-long absence of our top runner Stacey due to persistent injury troubles proved to be too much of a handicap against the numerically superior Wye Valley Runners, whose strength in depth was too much to deal with as they won the event by 13 points and extended their overall lead to 33 points.
This was in spite of a stellar performance from Suzanne who ran a cool and composed race, making a conservative start before reeling in her main rival (and league champion for the last 2 years), Clara Evans, and eventually storming away from her on the final climb out of the lower field loop. Suzanne then surged ahead over the last lap to extend her advantage to a remarkable 47 second margin to record her second successive female race victory in an impressive 22nd overall position. Simon and Mark L. again battled hard throughout and encouraged each other. They were lying in 5th and 6th position at the start of the final clockwise loop of the top field, but this final lap holds a sting in the tail with its punishing climb and they finally finished in 8th and 10th respectively. Excellent runs from both of them. Another solid run from Dave A. in 15th completed the first team. He was immediately followed by Glyn in 16th with Neil P. 18th, Nigel Mason 24th and Sue D. 34th taking the B team to a commendable 5th place.
The C team finished 8th thanks to Dave G. 25th, a returning Ed Henry 30th, Rob 36th and Gemma 49th. Gemma always gives 100 % effort in all her races, but it seems that her London Marathon debut venture may still be in her legs preventing her from achieving last season’s exceptional league displays – form is temporary, class is permanent. The D team (in 13th place) was composed of Richard in 37th, Martin 50th, Neil T. 54th and Sam 81st. Sam was able to celebrate a Croft victory over Wye Valley as she comfortably beat her dental practice colleague Ricardo. Croft’s E team (doesn’t that sound good ?) was completed by Tom in 68th, Jon U. 74th, Charlotte K. (returning for another muddy ordeal) 104th and the Grand Old Duke of Kingsland in 107th. Yet another quality all round team performance from Croft.
The last race in the series will be held on our home course at Shobdon on Wednesday 1st August where we are hoping for a good turnout of both runners and helpers.