The last race of the summer series, held in the magnificent surroundings of Shobdon Court, escaped the showers and attracted a near record field of 178 runners. Croft started as second placed team, with no hope of catching the leaders Wye Valley, but were comfortably able to hold on to their 6th consecutive second place, thanks to fine performances from Mark L (4th) and Stacey (5th), and from Dave G and Neil P, and from Emma (first Croft lady, just behind winner Laura Tootell) and Irina.
Despite the great surroundings and pleasant weather, it’s a tough course, with lots of changes in terrain and gradients, until the final stages where there is the long climb up between the wood and the field, and then the long grassy avenue down to the finish/end of lap 1. This year, the wild life challenge came not from wasps but from the swan, who made a few warning lunges towards passing runners, until the second lap when he retreated to the water, having run out of hiss.
Not only was it great to again count so many sky blue vests amongst the runners, but heartening to see so many new (to me) faces: Justin, who finished a few seconds behind Neil P, in 24th; Sam W, who beat Kelly to the line in a photo finish; Katie Jones only a few seconds behind; Imogen (not entirely ‘new’, but maybe her first race for Croft) just a minute and a half behind her mum. There were also great runs from (relatively new) Jo, Scott H, Will, Donna, Victoria, Rachael, Lisa, Courtney and Nicola.
From memory, there were series awards to Imogen, Jo, Irina, Emma, Sue D, Steph, Nigel T, Stacey, Mark L, Dave G, Ian, Tom, Guy, Gary G and Bryan, as well as to the second placed A team. Well done to all who won awards, but also to all who ran for Croft, putting us ‘on the map’ as a club to be reckoned with!