An historic day in the annals of Croft Ambrey Running Club – the day that girl power highjacked the handicap series. 32 runners, 21 of whom were females – the most ever in an event that has been going since 1988. The Spice Girls popularised girl power back in the 1990s and maybe the Croft female contingent should be called the Slice Girls as a nod to the big margins that were knocked off lots of their best times.
With the handicap system operating for the first time this season, Theresa was second away from the start and, having overtaken Heather in the early stages, she ran a solo race at the front of the field running scared in the knowledge that she was being hunted down by the rest of the pursuing competitors. As she turned the final bend on the course with the finish line just about 50 metres ahead and scenting victory, her dreams of glory were shattered. The last person that she would have expected to sneak quietly up on her would have been the ebullient Rachael, but the Price Girl stormed past, showing no mercy, over the final few strides to claim a dazzling victory. Both of them knocked nearly 3 minutes off their previous best times. Tom had the effrontery to gate crash the party and disrupt the female domination by also overtaking Theresa in the final few steps. Great to see Tom, who ran in the very first Leinthall Starkes 5 and has competed in far more handicap races than any other club member, regaining some fitness as he ran over 3 minutes quicker than last month.
12 PBs were set on a memorable evening, mostly by huge margins. Kelly, the London Marathon poster girl, improves with every race that she competes in and she has now entered the Top 10 list of female best times on the course at no. 9. A determined Jo Tilby, having been evicted from the all-time Top 20 last month, bounced back to re-enter at no. 18, with a battling Georgina also moving up one place to 19th.
Alec, running in his first race over the old course, demonstrated his rapid progress by setting a new age-group record with the second fastest time of the night. Bryan, having realised that chatting up stray sheep last month was not beneficial to running quickly, carved 1 minute and 21 secs. from his own MV75 record. This was achieved after this irrepressible old-timer had already enjoyed a 20 mile bike ride earlier in the day. Stacey set by far the quickest time of the night but failed to add to his Greatest Hits album after having run brilliantly at London. At the finish line, this correspondent was anxiously working out Stacey’s time desperately hoping to hang on to his age-group record. I can relax for another month. Stuart was, perhaps, the most elated as he crossed the finish line having recovered from injury and completed a race without a system malfunction.
The 3rd race in this year’s 6 race series, and the final one on the roads for this season before we head for the woods, will be held on Tuesday 19th June.