Barbour sets the Tempo in Winter Series

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Sam Weaving, Matt Burdus, Chris Cond, Rich Shephard, David Smyth, Ivan Sarti and Oscar Barbour line up for the camera at Ilmington.

OSCAR Barbour produced an outstanding performance in the Tempo Winter Series event at Ilmington on New Year’s Eve.

The races start and finish at Ilmington Sports Club and include an ascent and descent of Larkstoke, Warwickshire’s highest hill.

Runners from Stratford AC made it a memorable day for the club, with Barbour leading the way.

The club’s recently crowned senior athlete of the year won the event by 15 seconds in a magnificent time of 36.22, at an average pace of 5.50 per mile.

With the second mile up Larkstoke taking 7.27, that shows just how quick the rest of the race was and ensured he finished 2017 in fine style.

Stratford had three runners in the top ten and nine in the top 30.

Next to finish for the club in fourth was Rich Shephard, in a time of 37.25.

Shephard showed that after a difficult year he is once again approaching his best form.

Oscar Barbour on his way to victory. Photo: Barry Cornelius

Another of the club’s runners who has had an exemplary year is Neil Wicks, finishing in seventh place with a time of 39.50 despite only recently returning to training after an end of season break.

Nineteen-year-old Sam Weaving has shown remarkable consistency in all three of this winter’s races. His 14th place finish in this race, in a time of 41.47, puts him in fourth place overall in the series to date.

Chris Cond (18th, 43.30) is another runner who has shown great consistency in all three of this year’s races, a point reinforced by the fact that he is third in his age category and in seventh place overall in the series to date.

The battle royal between David Smyth (21st, 44.03) and Ivan Sarti (22nd, 44.03) continues, with them occupying second and third place in their age categories and eighth and ninth overall in the series to date.

Rich Shephard. Photo: Barry Cornelius

Smyth just has the edge by two seconds over the three races.

Completing the top 30 finishers for the club were Matt Burdus (26th, 44.21) and recent recruit Owen Goschen (28th, 45.07).

Andy Cox (31st, 45.44) is another runner who has had a fabulously consistent series and as such, he is fifth overall in his age category.

Barely a minute covered the next three Stratford runners to finish. Leading home the trio was Martyn Austin (35th, 46.10) closely followed by Paul Jeffries (43rd, 46.48) who is really enjoying his running at the moment.

The final one of the trio was young Alex Hill (47th, 47.12). Hill has shown great improvement as a runner during 2017.

The first lady to finish for the club was the redoubtable Emma Bexson (49th, 47.26).

Bexson finished second in her age category, a mere one position and eight seconds behind the age group winner.

The first lady to finish overall in 32nd place, was Katy Young, in a time of 45.46.

Emma Bexson. Photo: Barry Cornelius

Bexson was the first of a group of four Stratford ladies to finish. She was followed by Seanin Gilmore (55th, 48.39). Gilmore was also second in her age category.

Next was Emma Vickers (64th, 49.33). Vickers was third in her age category and is another of the club’s runners who has finished the year in fabulous form.

Lynne Hinson was recently named the club’s most improved athlete of the year and as if to prove the point, she finished in 89th place and a time of 51.47, a performance that sees her in second place in her age category for the series to date.

Tim Owrid (119th, 55.39) finished off the year with a wonderful performance, ensuring he finished fourth in the competitive M55 age category.

Rebecca Pridham (152nd, 59.37) will have been delighted to dip under the hour mark in her first race following a foot injury.

Pridham was followed by Daniel Whittington (174th, 1.01.50) and Paul Nash (200th, 1.08.18).

Finally, Gemma Smith showed plenty of grit and determination to come home in 215th in a time of 1.12.13.