Wendy came round the corner to the finish of last night's handicap as though all the hounds of hell were snapping at her heels. She more or less collapsed after crossing the line but smashed last year's PB by 43 secs, dying (almost) proof that marathon training makes you quicker. Ross recorded an equally good PB which took him well under 23 min. Graham, Chris and Lyn also recorded their best times and Kevin and Mark equaled theirs. PB's aside it was a very good race as nearly everyone finished within a minute of 3rd place Graham and Olivia had a new PB in scribbling speed trying to keep up with recording names and times. It was good to see Vernon back at the Handicap after missing it last year. He had an excellent run posting a time as good as any when he last ran two years ago. A word has to be said about Simon, the new apprentice time-keeper. He took to his new responsibilities with calm assurance and sent Wendy & Lynn off without a hitch. I felt I could relax and leave the start in his capable hands - big mistake! I suppose Gerry jogging up the road, even later than usual and well passed his start time must have been the spanner that knocked Simon's brain off the rails. After Gerry was added in and sent off late, Brent was next. He stood on the start and waited, and waited ...."How long have I got?", he asked. Simon glanced at the list, Start time 5:10 then he glanced at the watch 5:42, 5:43, 5:44 ... GO! Simon yelled and Brent took off like a scalded cat - 34 seconds late. Who's next, Katie; what time? 5:44!! Watch now shows 6:05, Oh God! "Katie Go!" Katie shoots off and Simon takes a breath, panic over. Ross, Steve, Mark and Judy waiting in line, Simon checks the list, 6:21 for Ross 6:27 for Steve. He checks the watch - oh no not again! Watch on 6:31 - Go Ross! Go Steve! Back to the list Mark next on 6:51 also Judy, watch shows 6:50, just in time, and Simon sends them both away, but then a closer look shows Judy should have started six seconds later on 6:57! All very entertaining and it didn't alter the final result except that Lyn would have finished 9th instead of 13th. The club needs a timekeeper for The Cotleigh Canters - I know just who to recommend.
Another lovely evening for this month's handicap saw 20 runners turn up to enjoy the fun. The trophy (actually Richard has lost it though he claims he knows exactly where it is) was awarded to Brent as he was first over the line, but regular readers will know that I sometimes manage to throw a spanner in the works. This month's spanner was Jay. Thinking he had decided there were higher things in life than wrenching your heart out for 3.1 sweaty miles, I had left him off the list. I started him on Clare's handicap time remembering their tussles from last year but when I adjusted things for his correct handicap it turns out he would have beaten Brent by 22 seconds. Pippa was another who made a welcome return and she brought along Rowan who started with Judy but overtook almost everyone to finish 3rd. Richard and Mark managed to get inside their PB's but most of us were content to get round without too much agony. Thanks to Roger, Suzanne and Clare for doing the recording.
It was a lovely sunny and very warm evening for the June Handicap last night. Ideal for the spectators but a tad warm for the runners who welcomed every bit of shade along the route.The battery on the club timer had died so the timing team of Roger, Jo Jo and Simon had to do things the old fashioned way with a stop watch, but all went off without a hitch. As for the run itself things got a a bit complicated with Judy having to get away early so starting with the first runner, and Richard having to be pushed down the start order; his handicap time was far too generous since he is now back to the Richard of old. Judy was easily first home but Ross with another big PB of 46 secs was the true winner making it two wins in a row. Kathy also had a good PB run, as did Richard. Steve and Katie both ran well and are second and third on the leader board at present (see below). There was a welcome return by Tony but he is not yet back to running hard for 3 miles and had to stop and stretch on the way round. Chris Entwhistle made his first appearance and romped through the field at close to 6 min/mile. Kevin was delayed by a combine harvester but was very pleased with his run. The corrected results below show that he would have finished fifth. Finally it was very good to see two of our Umbourne Ug juniors Henry and Iain reminding us of our yester-years.. There was I running close to a heart attack and almost deafened by my heavy breathing, when these two loped gracefully past with no visible effort at all - oh to be young again!
When the runners set off for this month's handicap I knew that Ross's handicap must be wrong as he was being sent off too early. It was no surprise then when he came belting round the corner to the finish with no other runners in sight. So the race was awarded to Kathy who had a storming run with a new PB by 21 sec. Having checked my less than infallible spreadsheet I found the mistake but then saw that Ross had such a good run (a PB by 2:27!) that he would still have won so back he goes into first place - sorry Kathy. As you can see there were some other good PB's. Tim was complaining about being unfit, carrying a hamstring injury, or some such moan but then overtook almost everyone to finish 3rd. Liz had another 4th place and set a new PB and Clare must be pleased to be running well after she lost some of her speed. The two Nick's had a battle royal. Nick the Yorkie had a 51 sec start but Nick the Car caught and passed him up the hill. Being a lad from up-north Nick the Yorkie held on and then got in front on the downhill stretch. He did admit to drafting, and you can see why, but that's no crime in running. Then we had the most exciting finish of the night, with two dogs, Tracey and Rod sprinting for the line. The dogs won but had Rod not chosen that moment to check his watch - was he late for an appointment? - it might have been a different story. Then we had Judy just keeping Steve in his rightful place, Lesley slightly off pace because of lack of running recently and Graham still recovering from and injury were next in. Jo Jo, Simon and Wendy were a bit off form but you can't be a super-fit and highly toned athlete all the time, the cake and wine are far too tempting!
Thanks to Suzanne and Steve for recording + two little Spiller cheerleaders, Ella and Max, but mum and dad need to work on the actual cheering bit.
It was good to get out to Cotleigh for the first of the summer(!!) handicap runs. I didn't see much of what was going on as I ran round with only distant runners in view except for the whiz kids who galloped past me. But as you can see Brent got his hands on the monthly trophy, or he would have if Richard Garage had returned it. Katie pursued him to the line but couldn't quite close the gap. She had the compensation of running the best PB of the night and marathon fit Judy also knocked a few seconds off hers. It was good to see Ian out on the handicap again and he shaved 5 seconds of his PB. Nick Burton had his first handicap run and we set him off with Brent which proved to be a good choice as he finished just over half-a-minute behind him. Thanks to Jo Jo and Sandra for doing the recording.
What a difference a month makes! Last month Richard came back to the handicap after a whole year's absence through injury. Rather than run under his old handicap he did a new qualifying run. Since then he has been getting back towards his old level of fitness and as you can see he is making good progress. It's a pity that Hayden found himself running against a fitter Richard as he did a good PB and finished well ahead of Clare. The three Grizzly runners all showed their fitness by coming in next, with Hadleigh just getting past Nick on the line. Sandra was not far behind and it was good to have Tim finding time for an outing. Steve has had a frustrating two weeks nursing his foot and Vanessa was making a very welcome return after some difficult months. Another welcome returnee was Brent who sniffed Spring in the air and decided to come out of his winter hibernation. He did seem to be limping round but kept going and was even talking of a sub-20 minutes at the Yeovil 5K series this year - is he taking bets on that?
Sadly my offer of help had to cry off at the last minute and so I kept a lonely vigil at the finish line until Wendy LeM, who was feeling just too drained after a hard day, pulled out of the run and kept me company.
Next month's handicap will be at Coteligh - hurray!
Jo Jo wins the February Handicap with massive new PB
Jo Jo had a splendid run in the February handicap and knocked a whopping 2:48 off her PB. For all three laps she was well clear of any opposition and as you can see was 51 seconds clear of 2nd place Clare. Clare set off with Juliet who was doing the handicap for the first time. These two have really got the bit between their teeth and did 18 miles on Sunday - insane I know! Unfortunately Juliet missed the turn at the bridge so her qualifying run will have to be next time. Hadleigh also set an impressive new PB by 1:04 and young Katie is also getting faster and faster, as anyone (like me) who has tried to keep up with her on club nights will know. Age is definitely on her side so Judy had better watch out. Steve B. is steadily getting back to form and had an encouraging run and Judy, having ran 17 miles on Tuesday can be very pleased with being able to run at all. Ceri is another steadily building back to her form and was very close to last year's PB and Lesley had a good run despite not having done much running recently. Hayden, Steve and Bruce finished close together. I guess the last two are saving themselves for another XC battle at the Dalwood 3 Hills on Sunday.
There was an abundance of help, so thanks to Ross, Julian, Fiona and Rod who came along and cheered everyone on.