Tempo Winter Series Race 1
25 October 2020
Report – Becks Pridham
At the time of writing this report we are on the cusp of Lockdown Part Two, which means that all racing will be suspended for at least one month. The Winter Series is a series of five races that take place on a monthly basis from October to February. However, with COVID-19 restrictions and the government’s lockdown, this may adjust either the dates or the number of races. Please see the statement on the Tempo Events website, printed below.
The Winter Series is a race from Ilmington sports club, along the Mickleton road for about a kilometre then take a sharp rise up Larkstoke Hill, followed by a fast downhill section back into Ilmington. The fun doesn’t stop there, there is a scenic route around the village before returning to the sports club for a distance of just over 10km. A very hilly 10km.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the race was run in a time trial format with runners placed into small groups, roughly according to speed (although allowances were made for those who travelled together). Each group then had five minutes to start their race, either with the rest of the group or when it felt right to the runner. First runners went off at just before 9.00am and the last runners starting around 12.30, so it was a long day for the Tempo team, coffee gang and the marshals (more from them later).
I was in a group with four other Stratford AC runners (Louise Stewart, Tony Tomecek, Simon Curran and Suzy Graham, the latter of who decided not to run due to race fitness issues), and one other runner, Hayley, from the, ironically named, Lonely Goat Running Club.
As we all started in our little groups, we didn’t get the chance to see many of our fellow runners, so this report is very much from the perspective of our little group. With Suzy offering to marshal on the day, we only saw her cheering us in on the last but one bend back into the club.
Simon, Louise, Tony, Hayley Crawford from Lonely Goat and I were called over to our ‘pen’ where we were given our race instructions and then given the ‘all clear’ to start when ready.
Simon and Tony started off the group, with the ladies having a general faff and chat before following them over the timing boards. I set off to try and catch Tony and Simon, both of whom were enjoying a good chat but let’s be honest, we hadn’t got to the hill yet! Larkstoke was its usual challenging self with Tony and I finding ourselves running together and Simon leading us up the hill with Louise close behind.
The Campden Road downhill and the beautiful clear conditions meant that the views were superb, with our little group chasing Simon down the hill. As we came into the village, Louise was right on our tail as Tony and I found ourselves catching up with Simon. Louise, who is in excellent condition (possibly powered by doughnuts from a Stratford coffee shop), soon calmly powered past Tony, Simon and I, eventually finishing nearly a minute ahead of us. The last two kilometres were tough for Tony, Simon and I, with each of us cajoling the others onwards towards the finish line.
Louise finished in 56:42 (10th female), followed by me in 57:31 (11th female) and Simon Curran pipping Tony at the post to finish in 57.47 (64th male), and Tony moments later 57.51 (65th male). Hayley finished in 1:05:03 and was cheered in by Louise and me.
All of us found it a tough race, the first for most of us in a long time. Larkstoke seems to get steeper every year, and even though we were racing in small groups, we still could support each other (Simon even questioning the sanity and the ability for Tony and I to be able to chat coming down Campden road!).
There were 168 runners in the race, with 20 of them representing Stratford AC.
Matt Burdus-Cook led the race (in group 1!) to finish first in 37:06, over two minutes faster than the second placed competitor, there really is no stopping this hard working and committed athlete. Andrew Cox (41:48, 7th male) and James Chorley (42:12, 8th male) both had strong races being the top three Stratford AC finishing athletes.
Next home for Stratford (bearing in mind this race reporter hadn’t even arrived at the start when these runners set off!) were Adrian Mason (43:18, 10th male), followed closely by Owen Goschen (43:27, 11thmale). David Smyth has been training hard after struggling last season with injuries and should be pleased with his performance (44:26, 16th male). James Coy has clearly been focusing on his training too as he improved upon his previous Winter Series time by over two minutes (45:12, 21st male), followed by the ever consistent Graham Hill who finished in 30th place (47:45).
Triathlete Joe Lee came home in 32nd place (48:03) with another equally amazing multi-sporter, Fern Hordern, bringing home the Stratford ladies contingent (50:08, 2nd female). Then we had Louise, me, Simon and Tony.
An improving Richard Hartwell just pipped in under the hour finishing in 59:14 in 66th place, with Winter Series newbies Lara Bakewell (1:03.10, 45th woman) and Christian Williams (1:03.15, 73rd male) crossing the line in quick succession. I just hope that ‘the Hill’ hasn’t put them off as this is a tough race for every runner. Clare Eynon has clearly been preparing hard as she ran her fastest Winter Series race to date finishing in 1:05.35 as 53rd woman, an awesome achievement.
Paul Nash likes to make the tough race even tougher by going for a 40 mile cycle ride prior to his race, and was initially running strong but found the hill and the run tough on the day. He finished in a season’s best time of 1:10.22 in 81st place. Stratford’s oldest competitor of the day was John Butler, an ever present and smiling face on the local race circuit, this was his 26th appearance at the Tempo Winter Series races and came home as 86th male in a time of 1:24.16.to win the M75 age category
Congratulations to all the runners from all clubs, it was a super day and although ‘odd’ by traditional race standards, the Tempo team organised and ran a fantastic and friendly race. Instructions were clear before and during the race and feedback from fellow runners was very positive. Although there will be no November race due to Lockdown 2, the team are planning on an alternative date for race number two.
A view from the marshals – by Hannah Osborne
Marshalling at this Winter Series was a different experience! Thankfully we were fortunate with the weather as it was a long day. From 9:30 till 1:30 we had a steady flow of runners coming past. Being so spaced out meant you could see people coming and also cheer them all on which was great. I think for some runners they found it lonely and strange not having people by them to chase or be paced and therefore they appreciated the support on the course.
As always it was awesome to see and support the huge number of yellow Stratford AC vests as they came past.