There was another good turnout for the second race in the 2017 Croft Ambrey Handicap Series as the severity of the handicapping system kicked in for the first time this summer. Some big improvements were recorded whilst others found it a bit of a sadistic ordeal on a sultry evening in north Herefordshire. 31 runners competed including another 7 newcomers to this historic event.
Flora, accompanied by husband Gary, was first across the line, having been allocated a very generous handicap time as the gullible organiser was conned by the devious master fell runner. Despite this, Flora’s debut run (the farthest that she has ever run) around the course was very impressive and worthy of the highest praise. Rachael and Donna were the next 2 across the finish line, both with massive improvements on their debut efforts last month.
Two other excellent debut performances were registered as Emma and Jo T. produced superb runs to enter the female top 20 rankings (at 17th and 20th respectively) in an event that has been going for 30 years. The club’s female contingent is looking robust and full of potential at present.
Bryan ran the course on his own and knocked nearly 2 mins. off the time he recorded last month despite having joined in with a lengthy Luctonians Cycle Club bike ride in the morning. He also continued his progressive record of being the oldest (almost 77) runner to complete the course – what a star.
Perhaps the most impressive feat of the evening came from a resurgent Stacey, who seems to have rediscovered his mojo, as he recorded the fastest time on the course for over 5 years – and that was his own time. He set off way behind everyone else and overtook 25 other runners en route – this must also be a record. It is Stacey’s professed target to beat the MV40 course record, set 28 years ago by a follicly challenged old pen pusher. If Lord Coe and the European Athletics authorities have their way, with their radical proposal to rewrite the record books by deleting all records set before 2005 over doubts about doping enhanced results, 11 male and 6 female Leinthall Starkes records would be expunged. I don’t think that this has any relevance to Croft runners, though it may become effective if being a dope is considered pertinent.
The next, and last, Leinthall Starkes race before we head for the woods to complete the series, will be held on Tuesday 20th June as it is squeezed in amongst the Herefordshire Summer League races in a crowded race calendar.