Bircher Handicap race 2 – 23 Aug 2022

Race Reports

Report by Mike.

Back to the traditional Tuesday evening for the 5th, and penultimate, race in the 2022 handicap series with another excellent turnout of cheery runners tackling the Bircher Burn-Up. Off the runners sped as they headed up towards Oaker Coppice with a spring in their step and a song in their hearts as they serenaded the first climb and the sheep grazing on the parched hillside – ” Oh sweet incline, ba ba baa”. I, of course could not join in as the restraining order forbidding me from conversing with or approaching within 50 metres of any woolly creature still applies.

10 club members were tasting this challenging new course for the first time and there were 18 improvements on last month’s initial attempt and 14 age group records were set.

The valiant Frank Luscott was 3rd away from the start and, having overtaken the 2 earlier starters and built a healthy lead, must have been visualising and dreaming of his moment of glory as the finish line tantalisingly beckoned. Not daring to peep over his shoulder, but fearing the dreaded sound of fleet footsteps rapidly approaching from the rear, he was finally overtaken just 100 metres short of the alluring finish. The flying, overhauling and ruthless feet belonged to Neil Taylor who, fresh from and inspired by his recent success wearing the GB vest in the European Sprint Triathlon Champs., charged down the final hill like a thoroughbred to take a notable victory and record an impressive new MV65 course record by knocking over 2 minutes off his previous best. Whatever Neil’s training regime is at present, it is definitely proving to be highly rewarding. Frank bravely held on to register 2nd place, just warding off the fast closing Liza Austin, who was running on familiar terrain and her efforts were suitably rewarded with a FV55 course record.

Eric Apperley and Mia Davies set the respective male and female course records at last month’s inaugural run. Both were determined to better these times. Eric, boosted by the unexpected Manchester Utd victory the previous evening, was jet propelled as he stormed around the course in the outstanding time of 21.37. Mia, improving with every race, dug deep to knock almost a minute off her record with an assertive 26.52. Gareth Leek’s efforts sometimes dip under the radar, but he again illustrated his quality with a rapid 22.15, driven on by the prospect of a severe scolding from Mrs Goggins if he slowed down.

There were a number of impressive times set by runners competing on the course for the first time, with Simon Norwood and Ian Price setting rapid age group times. An exciting tussle developed between Nigel Taylor and newcomer Andrew George. Both set off together and they were never more than a few steps apart as they charged around the common. The verdict just went to Andrew and both were rewarded with age group records. Bryan Markham continued to set records as the oldest runner to complete the course at the age of 82. When informed of the recent achievement of an 82 year old completing the climbing of all 282 Scottish Munros ( mountains above an elevation of 3000 feet ) and asked whether he had any plans to emulate this feat, he replied that the only Monroe he was interested in was Marilyn.

With just one race remaining in the 6 race series ( to be run on Tuesday 6th Sept.) 32 runners are still in contention to win the annual handicap series trophy. This will be awarded to the runner with the lowest total of finishing positions registered in their best 5 races. A remarkable 18 runners have competed in all 5 races so far this summer.

1Neil Taylor (MV65)28.30P.B. by 2.09 & MV65 Course Record
2Frank Luscott (MV65)42.18P.B. by 1.58
3Liza Austin (FV55)32.07Debut & FV55 Course Record
4Ian Price (MV70)31.15Debut & MV70 Course Record
5Claire Preece (FV50)37.56P.B. by 1.23
6Andrew George (MV45)25.01Debut & MV45 Course Record
7Nigel Taylor (MV55)25.10Debut & MV55 Course Record
8Lee Mardell (SM)30.18Debut
9Tom Davies (MV70)40.39P.B. by 1.04
10Steve Partridge (MV40)26.00Debut & MV40 Course Record
11Flora Gunner (FV55)33.04P.B. by 0.59
12Mia Davies (SF)26.52P.B. by 0.59 & Female Course Record
13Dan Brazier (SM)28.54Debut
14Lisa Gray (FV50)35.06P.B. by 0.41
15Gareth Leek (SM)22.15P.B. by 0.46
16Simon Norwood (MV50)24.53Debut & MV50 Course Record
17Hayley Millichap (FV50)40.16P.B. by 0.45
18Eric Apperley (SM)21.37P.B. by 0.36 & Male Course Record
19Gary Gunner (MV75)32.56P.B. by 0.25 & MV75 Course Record
20Sue Powell (FV60)33.49P.B. by 0.18 & FV60 Course Record
21Huw Williams (MV60)35.10P.B. by 0.18 & MV60 Course Record
22Howard Verran (MV45)31.01P.B. by 0.16
23Bronwyn Preece (SF)32.31P.B. by 0.12
24Thea Preece (SF)28.45P.B. by 0.10
25Steph King (FV55)35.36P.B. by 0.04
26Roland Preece (MV55)30.39P.B. by 0.03
27Greg Jones (MV50)28.52
28Dave Millichap (MV50)28.45
29Gemma Davies (FV40)37.23
30Theresa Jones (FV50)41.27
31Emma Jones (FV45)31.08
32Sam Harper (FV45)33.40
33Jo Marriott (FV50)31.03Debut & FV50 Course Record
34Oli Cameron-Swan (MV45)34.25
35Alison Apperley (FV55)48.51
36Lee Monks (SM)29.44
37Bryan Markham (MV80)49.37
38Sue Wood (FV65)38.19Debut & FV65 Course Record
39Amy Purvin (SF)37.38
40Rob Wood (MV65)37.38

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