Magnificent Seven Head ‘Famous’ Five Race
As a long-time fixture on the East Midlands Grand Prix Series, the Harborough 5 is firm favourite on the road race calendar – with a regular entry list of around 300 runners – and this year’s event certainly proved no exception!
A final start list of 291 was definitively boosted by a 20-strong home contingent which, in turn, helped the Club to second place in the Senior Men’s team competition (sixth in the Veteran Men’s equivalent), and sixth spot in the Senior Women’s team contest (fourth in the Veteran Women’s event).
However, seven of the Harborough AC membership stood out, registering top-five age category positions on the day. Chief amongst those, and leading the Club home, was Jake Watson, who clocked a tremendous time of 28:27 for 14th place overall, and first in the Under-20 bracket. That time not only represented a Personal Best of over four minutes for Watson (with that previous PB having come some twelve months ago), but also reduced the Club Under-20 record by a huge 75 seconds! Already this season, Watson has set new lifetime bests in the 600m, 800m and 1500m on the track, and now looks to be ably extending that repertoire to the harder terrain.
Towards the other end of the age groups, though proving to be no less effervescent, Ray Lack also took top spot – in the MV65s. His time of 43:03 saw him place 225th overall, but marks achievement in itself for Lack, who continues his notable return from injury and illness.
Meanwhile, the trio of Ady King (15th overall, in 28:57), Will Clapp (23rd, 29:57) and Jacquie Hanmer (144th, 37:55) secured fourth place finishes in the MV40, MV45 and FV45 groups; while Debbie Napier (75th, 33:50) and Hazel Buswell (147th, 38:01) took respective fifth positions in the FV40 and FV45 categories.
Commenting on his co-collaborating gun-slingers, Club road Captain, Will Clapp, was quick to pick out youngster Watson – very much cast in the role made famous by Yul Brynner – enthusing: “Jake’s maturity is what really stands out for me. He’s not long turned 18, but the massive improvements that he’s made over the past year are testament to his dedication, and suggest there’s plenty more to come! Aside from the performance aspects, I’d also like to pay thanks to all those who gave up their time to help out in hosting the event - the organisation, marshalling and general atmosphere made it a fun experience for those of us who just ran – and a special thanks and congratulations to John Thompson, who’s unswerving commitment made the whole race possible!”
Elsewhere in the field, Michael Burke (20th, 29:51), Matt Driver (26th, 30:02) and Mark Cherry (45th, 31:33) took top-100 finishes; while Steve Foxon (124th, 36:52), Nick Johnston (127th, 36:53), Kenny Anderson (128th, 36:57), Dean Rushby (139th, 37:31), Unity Hamilton-Harding (152nd, 38:28), Saran van Nierop (167th, 39:07), Ruth Bingham (173rd, 39:32), Clare Barton (187th, 40:24) and Jo Johnston (195th, 40:57) secured spots inside the top-200. Rounding off those bedecked in the yellow and black was debutant Nicola Bugla, who stopped the watch at a highly credible 45:59 (well under ten-minute mile pace), for 250th place.
Five Go Giddy in Glooston
Evidently not content with the rolling undulations of the Harborough race, five Club exponents numbered amongst the 129 who took on the more daunting hills of the nearby Glooston 10km. Run over two laps of a testing, redoubtable course, it certainly isn’t one for the faint of heart! Matt Driver led the HAC runners in, taking tenth place in 38:38. Debbie Napier followed her personal success over the Foxton-based route with 24th place, and third in the female race (43:41). Four places farther back was Tony Harrison (44:47), with Nick Turner-Henke in 55th (47:30), and Jo Johnston in 89th (52:09).