Not The Roman Nine.
Report – Phil Brennan.
This historic 12k road race on the outskirts of Stratford is popular with the local running community, as for many it is the first serious challenge of the new year.
This year, as always the club’s renowned team spirit was in evidence, but from a slightly different perspective than usual.
The race is one which is hosted and managed by the club, and a large number of volunteers are needed to fill all the necessary management, admin and marshalling roles which ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for the 350+ competitors.
The senior members’ strength in depth was indicated by the fact that with all the volunteers in place, supported by a contingent of junior members, parents and coaches, eighteen members were free to join in the race itself.
The course starts in Tiddington, and returns there via the Banbury road, a stiff climb up Loxley Hill, then through the village and back on the Wellesbourne road.
A cold windy start and deteriorating conditions did not put off the overall winners: Ben Kruze, Midland Masters AC, was first male in 41:27 with a two minute gap to second place, whereas first female, Leamington AC’s Natalie Bhangal had only six seconds lead in 48:14.
SAC runners were threaded through the remaining places: Seth Turner’s 14th in 48:18 put him 2nd in the M45 category, with Max Ross, (29, 49:57) and Steven Peters, (32, 50:25) in hot pursuit.
Fern Hordern was first SAC female finisher, (59, 53:36, 2nd F45).
The next six home were well under one hour: they were Graham Hill, (61, 53:44), John Bettles, (72, 54:58), Peter Wharton, (81, 55:42) Annie Cox, (92, 56:17), Clare Weatherhead, (97, 56:49), and Damian Wheeler, (118, 58:41) – excellent results for the conditions.
Mark Loosmore, (138, 1:00:15) Ricky Davies, (139, 1:00:16), Tom Horbury, (271, 1:13:29), Clare Eynon, (285, 1:14:58), Pip Abrams, (309, 1:17:52), Jan Turner, (310, 1:18:09)) and Catherine Wiggins, (33, 1:24:08), completed the SAC contingent:
Jan would surely have won a prize but was entered in the under 35 category: a tribute to her sprightly performance, perhaps.