Tony’s Front-and-Centre Bright(on) Success
As global attention in the running world turns strongly towards the spring marathon season, one of Harborough ACs own took the opportunity to incorporate a sea-front voyage into his 26,2 mile journey.
With the famous Brighton Pier doubling as the finish line, Tony Harrison lined up with over 8,500 others, with the dual goal of raising as much money as possible for Cancer Research, and of bettering his previous best performance for the distance – of 3hours 51minutes.
Evidently inspired by a few words from the Women’s World Record holder, Paula Radcliffe (who then set the runners on their way), Harrison can lay claim to having succeeded on both fronts, clocking an impressive time of 3:41:25 (for 1252nd position), and adding around £500 to the charity coffers. “I’d hoped to get under 3hours 50” commented an understandably fatigued – yet content – Harrison, afterwards “but to take ten minutes off my best is a great feeling! And to know that I’ve done a little bit for such a worthy charity just adds to it. And it was their support that certainly kept my spirits up during training through the cold winter months.”
For the 2014 edition of the race, the organisers had extended the race day programme, to include a 10km route too. And not one to miss the chance to build on her recent consistent improvements, Claire Eales wrote her name alongside more than 1,000 participants. Having raced proficiently over the 5k Parkrun circuit this year, double-the-distance posed a theoretical challenge. However, Eales proved that she has certainly established a strong endurance base, as she traversed the course in a time of 64:12.
On that renowned Parkrun scene, meanwhile, four HAC members were engaging in weekly combat. At Corby, Tom Ward broke the 19-minute mark (his 18:58 giving him second spot), while Dave Waddington notched 28th. At Northampton, Suzi Neal clocked a noteworthy 22:15 to take 54th amid a field of 236, and Matt Taylor took seventh in a new PB of 18:48 at the Leamington run.
Also racing over common territory were a six-strong women’s team; at the 2014 ERRA National Relays – on Saturday, in Sutton Park. Rubbing shoulders with some of the very best middle-distance runners that Great Britain has to offer, that sextet were representing town, district and county, as the only complete Leicestershire-based squad on show. Registering a combined time of 1:50:49 – that was some 18-plus minutes quicker, and two places higher than in 2013 – the team of Nicola Bugla (20:22), Sarah Blencowe (20:42), Yvonne Scarrott (18:12), Fiona Alexander (17:43), Debbie Napier (17:01), and Hannah Eveleigh (16:49) ensured due recognition and reputation was ably preserved.
One day on from those exploits, Desford hosted the sixth (and final) event of this season’s Winter Road Running League; with over 400 in attendance. Andy Meads recorded an excellent 35:06 for 21st place over the undulating 10k route, with Tom Ward also breaking the 40-minute mark, in 38:!2 (for 61st). Fiona Alexander notched 143rd in 41:51, and Ray Lack’s 52:40 gave him 334th.