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Hill shows maturity in debut half marathon

Stratford AC were out in force at last weekend's Rugby 10 race.
Stratford AC were out in force at last weekend's Rugby 10 race.

STRATFORD AC’s Alex Hill produced a brilliant run at Sunday’s Cardiff Half Marathon.

Competing in his first half marathon, Hill clocked 1:27:35 to finish in 487th place and in the top 25 per cent of the almost 19,000 runners who completed the course.

His 5km splits were all within 30 seconds of each other, showing great maturity for someone competing in their first 13.1-mile race.

Australia’s Jack Rayner won the men’s race in a time of 1:01:01 while Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel won the women’s race in 1:09:45.

At the Alcester 10k, ten Stratford AC members took part, with one finishing as an age category winner, and three placing second in their age category.

Ollie Senior was the first of the club’s runners to finish, placing fifth in a personal best of 35:17 to finish second in his age group.

Dave Parkin was the next Stratford member to cross the finish line, placing 15th in 38:04, taking almost three minutes off his PB, which was set at this race two years ago.

Parkin was followed by Alan Dwyer in 71st place with a time of 43:57, also a PB.

Lynne Hinson was next to finish for the club. Her time of 45:21 was 30 seconds quicker than last year, ensuring she finished second in the W45 age category.

Phil Brennan (47:53) also finished second in his age category, M75. Brennan was followed by Suzi Graham (49:13), almost two minutes quicker than last year and her quickest 10km for two years.

Ruth Calderbank, another runner who improved on her time of last year, this time by almost a minute, crossed the line in 52:20 to finish first in the W65 category, almost eight minutes ahead of her nearest rival.

Alice Baxendale’s time of 58:03 was a PB by almost two minutes. Tomas Horbury’s time of 1:01:46 was just 20 seconds slower than his time at the Blenheim 10km just seven days prior, while Sheryl Buckland finished in 1:09:17.

689 runners completed the race, which was won by James Marshall in 33:31. In 22nd place overall, Sophie Booth was the first woman to finish in 38:59.

There was also plenty of club interest in the Rugby 10-mile race, which takes place entirely on public roads, starting in Barby, passing through Kilsby and Hillmorton before returning to Barby.

The course is undulating and includes the infamous ‘Cart Hill’ after six miles, as well as a climb in the final mile.

This was the final race in this year’s Warwickshire Road Race League and six members of Stratford AC competed.

Pete Sugden was the first of these to finish, clocking 1:14:20, four minutes quicker than last year.

Annie Cox ran 1:20:45 to finish not only first in her age category but overall age category winner for the year in the Warwickshire Road Race League.

Luke Watkins (1:23:45) was followed by the greatly improved Nic Reynolds (1:36:27), 11 minutes better than her previous best time over this distance.

“This was the first time I'd run this race and although I had been warned about the hill at mile six, it was a lot longer climb than I imagined,” said Reynolds.

She was followed by Pippa Abrams (1:39:05) and Tash Watkins (1:46:47)

The race was won by Callum Hanlon in 53:49. In 46th place overall, Eleanor Fowler was the first woman in 1:04:58.

Meanwhile, the first of this year’s Winter Race Walk League fixtures took place at Stourport last weekend and Stratford AC’s international race walker Paul Hawkins enjoyed a flying start. His time of 1:03:37 for this 10km race was both a PB by some 13 seconds and a club record.

Hawkins was pleasantly surprised by the time, as he hadn’t expected to get under 1:04:30, having had a bit of a break following his recent championship racing in Malaga. He finished first in his age category and consolidated his fifth-place ranking in the UK this year in his age group.

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