Report by Mike.
The final visit of the summer to the leafy lanes and country roads of north Herefordshire, before we head to the softer surface of Bircher Common for the remainder of the handicap series, attracted another good turnout on an unseasonally chilly, wet and breezy evening.
A lack of volunteers to assist at the finish line meant that Theresa Jones made the altruistic decision to set off first so that she could then help later. Running solo, without the distraction of her traditional chatting to other contestants, is obviously the missing ingredient in her search for success as she set a huge PB – evidently inspired by her keen sense of duty. A few years ago Theresa was robbed of her moment of glory as, approaching the finish line with victory in sight, she was overtaken by Rachael Price and Tom Davies just metres short of the line. Had Theresa run according to normal handicap start time circumstances she would have won this event. Foiled yet again by the fickle spear of destiny but, ultimately, declared to be the worthy winner.
This equitable bit of mathematical tinkering means that chairman Huw Williams, who was driven on by the desire to have first choice of his own yummy chocolate bars, thought that he had coasted to victory but has now been relegated to 2nd place – I await the fall of the fateful axe as I am sacked from my role of event organiser.
Completing the top 3 was a determined Alison Apperley, who took the family plaudits with yet another tenacious run and massive PB. Alison, in the 3 races in this series, has now improved her time by over 5 minutes – a formidable achievement.
There were 8 PBs in total, with Dan Brazier recording a big improvement as he finished just outside the podium places. Nikki Ferguson knocked almost 2 minutes off her best as she continues to progress. The sprightly Sue Wood was able to relax, in the clear thought that she would not have to become involved in another battling sprint finish with husband Rob (who was helping on the finish line on this occasion), and was rewarded with another vast improvement. Dave Millichap, just failing to catch wife Hayley, David Warner, Grant Womack and Clare Preece were also on top form to take advantage of this last opportunity of the year to set course PBs.
Charlotte Broadhurst again illustrated her prodigious talent by being Miss Consistency and equalling her exceptional best time and the second fastest female time ever, set last month. As a repeat offender, she is in danger of being sent on a speed awareness course.
Postman Gareth Leek produced the fastest time on the night and a First Class performance as he delivered another PB. This time he became only the 8th runner, in the 33 year history of this event, to dip below the 28 minute barrier.
Bryan Markham again set the record as the oldest finisher. Having seen that Paul McCartney, 2 years his junior, was being showered with praise for performing for almost 3 hours at the recent Glastonbury Festival, Bryan is threatening to take to the stage at this coming Sunday’s garden party – all requests will be considered. He will be performing solo – preferably so low that we can’t hear him.
134 club runners, including some on multiple occasions, have crossed the finish line in this season’s series so far with the first race attracting a record 54 competitors. 17 runners have made their debuts on the course and 44 PBs have been registered. Croft Ambrey R.C. is thriving in its 40th year.