FRESH from the 28th annual Harborough AC presentation evening, 13 of the club’s members – five of them award-winners – opted to turn their dancing feet to running soles.
They were pounding the roads of Middle-England across three different venues just hours after the trophies were handed out.
The night’s musical rhythm was soon replaced by the proverbial ‘B’ of the bang in half-marathons in Coventry, Peterborough and Leicester city centres, and the full marathon distance in the latter.
For the 2012 Perkins Great Eastern Run, Bob Allsopp decided to take the unusual step of running the course barefoot.
Having trained on inconsistent terrain for the past few months, the smooth, flat route of Peterborough’s premier race – boasting upwards of 3,400 finishers – offered reassuring respite. And Allsopp took due advantage, recording a tremendous clocking of 1hr 44mins 04secs – just three minutes off his heeled personal best – with another half-marathon planned for this weekend too.
Although a little sore afterwards, Allsopp said: “I’m feeling the effects of the pounding a little bit, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how forgiving the roads were. And at least you don’t get any blisters from rubbing trainers!”
Allsopp was the third of six Harborough runners gracing the East Anglian area.
Ady King was first across the line among the sextet, taking 88th spot overall (in 1:19:54). Mark Cherry – in his debut outing over the distance – also broke the 90-minute barrier, with 1:27:07 (for 213th).
Jackie King and Lin Farrow both registered new PBs too, as they scraped inside the top-1,300 (King in 1,283rd with a time of 1:50:06, and Farrow just 14 seconds adrift in 1,296th). Finally, Mary Downey clocked a time of 3:01:33, for 3,403rd.
At the Coventry equivalent, Yvonne Scarrott certainly showed no ill-effects of the night before, as her 1:31:06 proved good enough for 79th place overall, and second FV40 (fourth overall female).
A shade closer to home, and another four committed souls draped HAC colours to take part in the Leicester version of the 13.1-mile sojourn. From just under 2,000 runners, places inside the top 500 for Jacquie Hanmer (372nd, in a new PB of 1:42:45) and Unity Hamilton-Harding (1:45:58, for 489th – third FV50) represented excellent runs. While Claire Rice pushed the two-hour barrier all the way for 1,095th (2:00:45), and Paul Booler took 1,331st (in 2:10:06).
Rounding off proceedings in epic style were Paul Russell, and the recently-crowned HAC Endurance Athlete of the Year, Rachael Hardman.
The former chopped a huge seven minutes off his previous best, stopping the watch at a dogmatic 3:36:37 (for 132nd position).
Meanwhile, Hardman’s 4:00:16 (for 282nd) saw her enter double figures in her 12-in-twelve-in-2012 Challenge.
Just two more remain for the indefatigable Hardman who, on being bestowed with the Hillary Johnson trophy, was labelled as equally “mad” and “inspirational” by club captain Will Clapp.
One thing is for sure, though: Hardman may well feel the need to soon follow Allsopp’s lead, and eschew trainers in preference of bare feet to ease her battered limbs!