APRIL may have proven one of the wettest on record but even the downpours of last Sunday couldn’t put a dampener on the collective Harborough AC spirit.
No fewer than 33 club members – across a total of ten teams – braved the elements for the 2012 Livingston Relays.
In the second outing at its new home of Braunstone Park, the well-renowned event boasted an overall entry field in excess of 50 teams, with the men’s race contested over four legs of the three-mile course, and the women’s raced over one less.
Pride of place on the day was reserved for the trio of Bethany Ellis, Emily Taylor and Sarah Ward, who won the under-20 women’s title in a new course-record time of 64mins 26secs; with Ellis also scooping the prize for fastest individual leg (19:48).
Just missing out on the podium places was the senior men’s ‘A’ team. Led off by the increasingly-impressive Jake Watson (who also registered the quickest Harborough AC time of the day, with 16:19), the quartet stopped the clock at 67:40, to take fourth spot from the 24 complete teams.
With Matt Driver, Sean Fenwick and Will Clapp combining to stop the clock at 67:40, that finishing berth was four places – and 2:37 – better than in 2011.
The ‘B’ team, meanwhile, also secured a top-ten finish, the squad of Michael Burke, Adam Brooks, Mark Cherry and Chris Webb placing ninth in a time of 72:27. A little further back, and Nick Turner-Henke, Tony Harrison, Dave Ward and Nick Johnston pooled their reserves to take 18th position with a collective time of 87:06.
The ‘D’ team were just three spots back, the foursome of Dan Taylor (notably lowering his personal time from last year by some 3:26), Graeme Rolfe, Alan Fordham and Dave Oram timed at 90:06.
The club’s veteran men’s team of Richard Bufton, Kevin Dinsdale, Pete Leach and Rick Brown took seventh place, with 88:58.
In the female ranks, the ‘A’ team fared one spot lower than their male counterparts, placing fifth in an overall time of 63:00. Brought home by Debbie Napier in the quickest of the club’s senior women’s times (20:08), the threesome was completed by Yvonne Scarrott and Hazel Buswell, acquitting themselves with due accord from the 20-strong field of entries.
The ‘B’ team of Nicola James, Unity Hamilton-Harding and Lianne Brooks were 12th, in 69:30, and the ‘C’ team – Linda Lawton, Lin Farrow and Sarah Blencowe – were 16th, in 74:53. Also donned in club colours was Marise Taylor, who braved the elements on something of a solo endeavour, registering 25:42.
After the event, Harborough captain Will Clapp was as pleased with the turnout as anything else, saying: “Once again, collective spirit and commitment came to the fore in support of a great event, despite atrocious conditions.
“It’s definitely fair to say that everyone has fully deserved a relaxing bath and warm drink now, that’s for sure.”
One day earlier, and continuing the green-themed weekend at the other end of the park, George Nolan registered his 13th outing of the 5km Parkrun Series. From 160 runners, Nolan placed 33rd, with a clocking of 20:51 – his third quickest for the course.
In the final instalment of the inaugural Northamptonshire Network 5k Series, the duo of Paul Tomlinson and Jill Postlethwaite braved the conditions to take on the Corby route.
Tomlinson led the pair back, capping a strong series overall with fifth place (18:56). Postlethwaite was hard on his heels though, and also ran well, scraping a top ten spot (and second female) in 20:22 from the field of 62 runners.
In somewhat more urban surrounds, Ady King tackled the Milton Keynes Marathon.
Starting and finishing in the grounds of Stadium:MK, the course takes in the more scenic aspects of the city, helping to protect the runners from the inclement weather; though not from certain parts where flooding had taken hold.
Despite all that was thrown at him, King showed all the grit and determination imbued in him from Tuesday and Thursday night training sessions, to record an excellent debut clocking of 3:00:26, and a superb 28th position for the 26.2 mile distance. On that score, King’s next outing is earmarked as the Snowdon version, in October.
Clubmate Paul Russell, also at MK, recorded 3:56:09 for 868th.
Over half that distance, the triumvirate of Kenny Anderson, Ruth Bingham and Jo Johnston trod the boards of the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Half Marathon.
First back was Anderson, in 1:45:48 for 363rd position. Bingham, meanwhile, also broke the two-hour mark, with 1:59:26, as she took 823rd, with Johnston just 30 places back – in 853rd with a time of 2:00:05; from 1,743 finishers.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 28 mph
Wind direction: North