MATT Burdus-Cook was the first athlete from Stratford AC to finish at the latest Tempo Winter Series race in Ilmington, report by Jon Mulkeen.
The Tempo Winter Series comprises five races of 10.13km held once a month between October and February each winter.
The picturesque but notoriously challenging course is the same for each race but is run counter-clockwise then clockwise on each alternate date.
Burdus-Cook, who was recently named the club’s most improved athlete of 2018, finished fifth overall in 39:45, his fastest ever time in Ilmington.
It was the first time Burdus-Cook had been Stratford’s top finisher in one of the Winter Series races and he crossed the line one place and eight seconds ahead of club-mate Dan Lynch.
Both men ran significantly faster than they did on this same route in the first of the Winter Series races in October.
Both the overall participation number of 285 and the Stratford AC contingent of 28 represented the biggest turnout of the Winter Series so far – an impressive feat given the event’s close proximity to Christmas.
Chris Cond produced his fastest time of the current series to finish 14th in 41:52 and he was followed just nine seconds later by Ivan Sarti, who finished 15th overall and first in the M55 age category.
Malcolm Bowyer placed second in the M55 category and 19th overall in 43:34, almost two minutes faster than his October clocking.
Ilmington debutant Jon Mulkeen finished 23rd in 43:57, 42 seconds ahead of Owen Goschen in 32nd place. David Smyth (55th, 47:09), Ryan Bakewell (59th, 47:22), Joe Lee (62nd, 47:34), Peter Sugden (68th, 48:15) and Damian Wheeler (72nd, 48:51) were the other Stratford AC men to finish inside 50 minutes.
Alan Dwyer (88th, 50:18), Sam Nicholson (111th, 53:02) and Simon Curran (122nd, 54:15) followed soon after.
Emma Parkin was the club’s first woman past the finish line.
The 11th-placed woman overall, her finishing time of 48:59 was her fastest-ever performance in Ilmington.
Sarah Boundy finished 91st overall and 16th among the women in 50:41, while Rebecca Pridham (117th, 53:35) and Suzi Graham 130th, 54:53) both finished well inside an hour to rank among the top 30 women on the day.
Maggie Macleod (155th, 58:04), Stuart Macleod (220th, 1:05:26) and Claire Eynon (235th, 1:07:35) ran well in what was one of their first appearances for Stratford AC after recently graduating from the ‘couch to 5k’ programme.
Other Stratford AC members competing in Ilmington were Alice Baxendale (238th, 1:07:49), Louise Stewart (244th, 1:08:56), Paul Nash (269th, 1:17:35), Gemma Smith (271st, 1:18:35), Sheryl Buckland (272nd, 1:18:48) and John Butler (278th, 1:23:08).
Leamington’s Paul Andrew achieved his third consecutive Ilmington victory of the winter, winning in 37:37. Club-mate Natalie Bhangal, making her first ever appearance in a Tempo Winter Series event, was the first woman to finish, clocking 41:45.