Most Improved Athlete of the Year.
The Most Improved runner category has been a bit difficult to assess objectively, as we are normally blessed with lots of comparable data from various races and of course park runs.
However it is still one of the most important awards we make in the club and all of this year’s nominees have been inspiring across the board.
The Stratford AC men have truly come into their own this year and we are blessed with strength and depth such that we have never known, making the virtual races very exciting! There are some strong contenders for this award;
Adrian Mason took his previous half marathon pb from just under 90 minutes in 2019, to 83 minutes way back in the heady days of last March before succumbing to injury. Who knows what he might have done given more time but I am pleased to note that he is back on form again.
Adam Evans has had an incredible running journey since first arriving at the club and Rob and I have often marvelled at how someone can change so much. He brought with him a half marathon time of 1.55. Since then he has got faster and faster, gone further and further. Earlier on in the spring he ran a 20 mile race in under 2 hrs 14, which would have put him comfortably under the 3 hr barrier for a marathon. He also completed his first Ultra.
Andy Cox, already a strong runner has pulled himself into the top male runners in the club, from a 41 10k pb, he is now regularly posting 10k times getting closer and closer to 35 minutes, an 18 minute 5k and pulled out an impressive 9.62 miles in the track hour.
John Bettles has also put in a huge amount of hard training which has paid off, bringing his 10k time down by 3 minutes to 44, and bringing him up the order as each virtual race went by.
This years winner had a 2019 half marathon (his only recorded race on P of 10) of 1 hr 31. I know that’s fast to most people, but this year he has got stronger and faster and now boasts a 35 minute 10k, and his outstanding track hour of 9.96 miles would have given him a sub 1.20 half marathon.
The 2020 winner is Richard Liggatt
Jill Wilson gets her nomination for consistently getting out and going further, entertaining us and inspiring us by often being the first to post race results on facebook! She used to find 5k a long way, but this year has delivered in every race and in October ran 10 miles.
Annie Threadgill, in a similar way has been a constantly similing participant in every race she does. But this year, in the most difficult of all years to do it, took on a full marathon and did it! The difficulties with time and freedom and the doubt that the race would actually go ahead must have been very tough, but it happened and she is a deserving candidate.
This yea’rs very deserving ladies winner has taken her 10k race time from close to 50 minutes to an impressive 42 minutes and there is more to come. Her previous half marathon pb was 1 hr 55 minutes, and her October track hour would have translated to somewhere just over 1hr 30.
2020 Most Improved Lady is Vicky Sharpe