The third race in the summer series started in All Stretton, with beautiful blue sky above, and many sky blue vests beneath – twelve of us in all, including 7 Croft ladies who distinguished themselves in for what for many was their first Shropshire fell race.
126 runners took off along the road leading into the valley, which soon turned into a steep scramble, where Jo and Sam were seen to be climbing rapidly on all fours. From the top it was a narrow path down, where I knew Gary G was hot on my tail, but he couldn’t overtake. We crossed a stream and began a long diagonal climb, again on a narrow track. Photos taken at the top show Gary still hot on my heels, with Sam a few places further back. There followed some ups and downs before we ran down a wide grassy slope, allowing Gary to sneak past me, but I got him on the steep climb up, but inevitably not far enough ahead to keep him at bay as he stormed down to the finish, overtaking me 100m from the line. Gary P then appeared, behind us, having lost his way earlier and having had to climb back up from the finish area to find his way back to the designated route.
The race was won by Joshua Boyle (under 19) in a remarkable 25.20, over a minute ahead of his nearest rival. Nigel (36th, 33.32) was the first Croft runner home, 5th MV50 in a very competitive category. Irina, continuing her fine form, was 3rd lady (behind a FV40 and an U23), and therefore 1st senior lady, 55th, in 37.20. Gary G was 1st MV70 (73rd, 39.12), with me 74th (39.16), and Gary P 80th (39.33) closely followed by Emma (3rd senior lady, 84th, 40.11) who would have fared even better with fell shoes! Sue P (!st FV55, 91st, 41.52) held off Sam (2nd FV40, 92nd, 41.53) in a race for the line. Jo (96th, 42.30) finished just ahead of Liza (97th, 42.36), who was 1st FV50. Tom (101st, 43.16) followed close behind, a little way ahead of Carol (109th, 44.36). So a fine performance, with half of our ladies’ entry being rewarded with prizes.