Croft Woods handicap race 6 – 03/09/19

Race Reports
If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the woods today
Wear the colour of light blue skies.
‘Cos every runner of every pace
Will gather there for the final race
In the Croft Ambrey Handicap Series.
(With due reverence to the Teddy Bears’ Picnic – hope you were all singing along)
Yes, ’tis a sure sign that autumn is rapidly approaching when the final event in the handicap series is completed. There goes another summer – whoosh ! Decision time now : Cross Country or Hibernation ? Mud and hills or pud and refills ?
The final race in the series attracted another good turnout on a breezy cool evening. Tim Jones, having struggled around the course last time as he recovered from one of his ultra expeditions, was first up Heartbreak Hill and down to the finish line to win by 40 seconds. Jo Tilby battled hard to take 2nd place, overtaking 19 runners en route and setting a new P.B. by 13 secs. Jo’s time elevated her to 13th in the female course rankings and also jumping above Jo Marriott to become the fastest Jo by 11 seconds. Louise Reeves won her battle with the notorious Heartbreak Hill to complete the top 3 choccie champs.
A total of 8 P.B.s were recorded in this conclusion to this summer season and many more were registered throughout the series as runners continue to improve. Katie Ayres, having performed brilliantly in Croft colours to help win the Herefordshire Summer League, made her long-awaited first appearance in the handicap series and an excellent debut it was with her time of 26.03 taking her to 3rd position in the female rankings. Guy Whitmarsh improved his own MV75 course record by 19 seconds as he continues to inspire everyone with his age-defying performances. Perhaps the star performance of the night, though, has to go to Gareth Leek – the flying postie. (it was past his bedtime, surely) whose time of 21.48 establishes him as Top of the Pops and the fastest runner around this version of the Croft Wood handicap course. He certainly delivered the goods, but I am thinking of sending him on a Speed Awareness Course as he is motoring so quickly. The challenge has been thrown down Mr Lamonby.
79 year old Bryan Markham proceeded to set the record as the oldest runner around the course, though I suspect that Bryanair may have been on a bit of a go slow on this occasion.
The Croft Ambrey Handicap Series trophy , awarded to the runner who scores the lowest total of finishing position points in 5 of the 6 races, was won by Nigel Taylor by a single point from Gareth Leek, with Hannah Fletcher 3rd. Nigel missed this final race, but had scored the required points in the previous 5 races. The trophy is normally won by a runner who improves throughout the season. In Nigel’s case it is a reward for consistent high quality displays in every race.
The updated lists of Top 20s for both males and females make for good reading and illustrate what a good year it has been in both the Leinthall Starkes and Croft Wood events with lots of additions and improvements dated 2019. This year’s series has been supported by a record number of club runners in an event that has been part of the club calendar since 1988, with the present version of the Croft Wood race starting in 2014.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.