One week on from the highest profile marathon in the world of road racing, the domestic focus dispersed somewhat to other parts of the UK. Nigh-on three hundred miles north of the nation’s capital, and the Greater Manchester version of the 26.2 mile discipline saw one Harborough AC member registering his debut over that distance. Having chalked off most of the available distances up to that, there was only ever one more logical step for Matt Driver, and the flat, consistent course certainly offered a nice entry to the experience. Running at a relatively even pace, Driver’s 248th-placed finish (from a field of almost 5,000) – in the shadow of Manchester United’s imposing Old Trafford stadium – indeed had an air of high-calibre about it, and a clocking of 3:05:21 was the realisation of a solid, well-tempered run. And all that just 24 hours after a second-place return over the 5km route of the Hanley Parkrun too! Post-race, Driver was his usual ebullient self, quipping: “it was all a bit of a last-minute decision to run, so I’ve got to be happy with that! I’ve proved to myself that I can tackle the distance, and it gives me a benchmark to target now. I always prefer racing, and today has just confirmed that even more – here’s to the next one!”
Also traversing the 42.2km distance this past weekend was Bob Allsopp. No stranger to that length of course, Allsopp has previously even taken to running in five-finger shoes (think gloves for your feet). And he once again put his know-how to good use, this time for the Rotary Shakespeare race. Routed as two laps around the famous bard’s home town – including a more sheltered, disused railway section, the more clement recent climate aided the runners, and Allsopp took good advantage, stopping the watch at a commendable 3 hours 49 minutes.
Sunday saw the regular site of the Braunstone version of the Parkrun series doubling up, as that of the 2013 Livingston Relays. In teams either four (for the men) or three-strong (for the women and youngsters), the races are now approaching their fourth decade, and represent a well-respected, firm fixture on the spring calendar. It also usually heralds another source of regular success for HAC, and this year’s event proved no different. Amongst the 32-strong delegation, it was the Veteran Men’s ‘A’ team, and their female counterparts, who took pride of place, each securing bronzed returns. For the former, the quartet of Sean Fenwick, Martin Gore, Will Clapp, and Ady King stepped onto the third tier of the podium with a clocking of 67:50, just 24 seconds adrift of silver. The trio of Bethany Ellis, Jacquie Hanmer, and Yvonne Scarrott, meanwhile, saw a timing of 58:42 cast them a top-three berth, also agonizingly in sight of that second spot. Comprising the rest of the contingent; Dave Waddington, Ray Lack, Graeme Rolfe, and Rick Brown took 11th (85:19), while John Thompson, Nick Johnston, Peter Leach, and Chris Webb took 12th in the veteran ranks. In the seniors’, Adam Brooks (with a new Personal Best), Andy Robinson, Richard Bufton, and Tom Ward secured 12th, with the team of Steve Sawford, Nathan Macdonald, Charlie Blencowe, and Dave Oram in 22nd. For the ladies, Lin Farrow, Karen Brooks, and Lianne Brooks came home seventh, with Sarah Blencowe, Nikki Bugla, and Jackie King in 11th, and that of Nicola James, Marise Taylor, and Linda Lawton in 14th.
A day earlier, Graham Laurie maintained his strong race walking form, with a time of 31:47 at the Northampton Racecourse Parkrun, while Dan Taylor recorded 22:12 at the Brisbane South Bank.
Earlier in the week, Charlotte Ellis showed her intention to continue redrafting the Club’s record annuls, as she ticked off the under 13 girls’ javelin mark! Ellis extended the previous mark by more than five metres, with a throw of 20.66m.