Club Handicap Series Race 2 Leinthall Starkes – May 16th

Race Reports

Report by Mike Blenkisop

The proceedings for the 2nd event in the 2023 season’s handicap series may have lacked the stately pomp and pageantry of the recent royal coronation, but we could boast a PB from Steph King and the official presence of Lord Markham of the Kingsland who, I am reliably informed, was a guest at Queen Victoria’s coronation. The Duchy of Leinthall Starkes was also honoured to welcome Baron Davies of Shirl Heath , the venerable keeper of the club’s ravens, to assist with the evening’s activities.

With the handicap system kicking in, it was Alison Apperley who was crowned Queen Bee as she ran a solo race from start to finish. She must have been expecting the sound of heavy footsteps and even heavier breathing to be rapidly approaching from the rear, but it never happened and Alison crossed the finish line over a minute clear of her nearest rival and also knocked over 8 minutes off the time that she recorded last month. The chasing pack was led home, in 2nd place, by Jo Marriott who galloped over the finish line as though she was running late for a hot date. After an injury stricken run last month for Jo, I had contacted Ladbrokes to stake a cheeky Ayrton Senna on her victory – thwarted again ! Completing the top 3 was Alison Davies, successfully returning to the event after a 10 year absence. Hopefully we will see her again without such a time gap next time. In 4th place, there was an impressive debut from Alison Benwell to round off the trio of jubilant Alisons. Is there a collective noun for Alisons? An army? An activity? An adoration?

Perhaps the main accolade for the evening should go to the vibrant Verrans. It was a double delight as they both recorded the biggest PBs of the night. Howard sliced a huge 3.14 off his previous best and Claire improved on her previous month’s debut by 2.50. ]The drive home must have been filled with familial elation and satisfaction. Well done both.

There were 9 PBs recorded with Eric Apperley, just 2 days after a speedy run in the Welsh 10K champs, registering the fastest time of the night. Although he was yet again threatening to alert the speed cameras en route, he still fell a tantalising 10 seconds shy of the course record. This just goes to prove what an outstanding performance was Keith Hiley’s run way back in 1991.

One more chance this year Eric !

The final run of the season on this historic course, before we head to Bircher Common for the remaining 3 races of the series, will be held on 20th June. Hopefully by then the bumbling event organiser will have had his ankle tag removed and successfully undergone an intense course of senior moment aversion therapy.

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