A STRONG Stratford Athletics Club contingent were once again out in force for the annual Alcester 10k race.
Now in its fifth year, the race started and finished in the High Street, with the traffic-free course going through the lanes and villages around Alcester.
Even the weather played its part, with the forecast rain failing to materialise, and conditions remaining sunny and warm.
Every age and ability was represented in Stratford AC’s 16 finishers, from John Raby – a magnificent eighth and close to his best in 39:04 – to Richard Hadley (909th, in 1:22:36) claiming the rearguard position from John Butler (871st, 1:16:02).
Mark Hateley (35th, 42:07) was followed in by Lynne Hinson 94th. Her 46:57 put her third in the F45 category, despite being her first outing for several months, and kept her ahead of Damian Wheeler (97th, 47:04).
Tony Tomecek had to put up with Phil Brennan snapping at his heels in the later stages but held him off to finish 146th in 49:09. Brennan (153rd, 49:30) was second in the M65 category.
Five further runners came in under the hour. Andrew Madden, 53:28, and Stuart Macleod, 54:14, were followed in by the tireless Louise Stewart, 54:27.
Kate Sergent (398th, 57:17) looked in good form ahead of her international marathon later this month and she edged out Ruth Calderbank, 418th, 57:17, to take spot in the F65 category.
Meanwhile, 10k specialist Clare Eynon was just under the hour in 59:54.
Mark Bailey and Robert Dunnett had a mutual aid pact which saw them finish together in 1:12:31 and 1:12:32 respectively, with John Butler and Richard Hadley a little behind.
FINISHING any marathon is a great achievement and three Stratford AC competitors in the Chester Marathon – Rachael Green, 4:21:07, Kim Lee, 4:27:05, and Ian Greaves, 4:52:51 – are far from the club’s most experienced at this distance and deserve full credit.
Four of their club-mates prefer things a little wilder, so headed for the Loch Ness Marathon.
After some solid training, James Coy had a fine run. He found the conditions horrible to start, but they improved in the later stages and he was pleased to finish just outside the top 300 in a time of 3:32:43.
Cara Reynolds, who was close behind in 3:43:54, had a great run, especially as she was recovering from injury, and was inside her aspirational time.
Richard Hartwell, 5:17:51, and Victoria Jeffs, 5:56:29, both did well to overcome a distance they are not greatly familiar with.
Meanwhile, Lesley Kirk took a day out of her holiday to run in day one of the Atlantic Coast Challenge round the north Cornish coast.
She completed the marathon distance in 5:34:32.