Report – Phil Brennan.
Starting and finishing in the High Street with a traffic-free course through the lanes and villages around Alcester, this event always attracts a strong Stratford AC representation. This fifth year of the event was no exception. Even the weather played its part, with the forecast rain failing to materialise, and conditions remaining sunny and warm.
Every age and ability was represented in SAC’s 19 finishers, from John Raby, a magnificent 8th and close to his best in 39:04, to Richard Hadley, 909th, in 1:22:36, claiming the rearguard position from John Butler, 871st, 1:16:02.
Darren Nash, 14th, 39.52, Mark Hateley, 35th, 42:07 and John Bettles, 73rd, 45.09 were followed in by Lynne Hinson 94th. Her 46:57 put her third in the F45 category despite being her first outing for several months, and kept her ahead of Damian Wheeler, 97th, 47:04.
Tony Tomecek had to put up with Phil Brennan snapping at his heels in the later stages but held him off to finish 146th, 49:09. Brennan’s 153rd, 49:30, was second in the M65 category.
Five further runners came in under the hour: Andrew Madden, 53:28, and Stuart Macleod, 54:14, were followed in by the tireless Louise Stewart, 54:27, “taking it easy” after the hard mid-week track hour and a harder trail race on the horizon.
Kate Sergent, 398th, 57:17, looked in good form ahead of her international marathon later this month. She edged out Ruth Calderbank, 418th, 57:44, taking the F65 top spot with Ruth 2nd F65.
10k specialist Clare Eynon was just under the hour with 59:54.
Mark Bailey and Robert Dunnett had a mutual aid pact which saw them finish together in 1:12:31 and 1:12:32 respectively, with John Butler and Richard Hadley a little behind. Having avoided the cider stall at half way, it was time to try the (non-alcoholic) beer in the High Street.
Wayne Vickers was race adjudicator and, as such, was running without a number. He crossed the line in 38:20 and was sixth overall, winning his age group by about two minutes. Wayne said it was possibly his best ever race result……or would have been if it had counted!!!
The race was won by Ben Kruze in a time of 33.44 and the first female finisher was Jo Fleming, in 24th place with a time of 40.33. 958 competitors completed the course.