A sea of red, white and blue, nervous pacing and chatter before the start, jokes a-plenty and cakes for all. This didn’t seem so much like a race as a celebration, but the racing was hard on a humid evening at Kingsmeadow.
48 club runners gathered for what must be the most eagerly and yet anxiously anticipated event in our calendar. 1 mile, 4 laps, and a completely different feel to any other distance. Observers from the last couple of years would, though, have been excused for thinking “plus ca change” as the same faces led us off for the third year in a row (subs please check), with Aimee Billington leading the ladies and Joe Chang the men round the respective first laps.
From there, though the races differed. Aimee was closely followed by Zoe Ashcroft and Maggie Stacey, all with poker faces good enough that opinion was divided as to who would win. Into the final 300 and Aimee and Zoe pulled away from Maggie, and the elastic between the front two was stretching very very slightly. It was still close off the final bend, but Aimee had the edge and took the past the post title as a reward for a well-paced effort. Zoe stayed close enough to pip her on the age graded score, but was herself beaten in that competition by the third lady to go under 6 minutes, Maggie Stacey. Zoe gets the plaudits for consistency, and I’m sure those two seconds can be incremented by a place at other distances.
Behind the front were some other battles, with Laura Roberts emerging at the front of her group behind Jane Calderbank‘s lonely run. Natalie Randell‘s sprint speed carried her away from Sarah Pettefer and Julie Chasin while in the vets’ battle further back, Elaine had enough to stay ahead of Ann Bath and ever-smiling Lizzie Wilson.
The mens race was fascinating, and I apologise for not being able to do justice to all the tussles through the pack. At the front, Joe Chang (after his fastest lap of the day) was passed by Jack Holland after 600m, with Ross Muir staying on his shoulder. After 1000m, Luke McDonagh eased into the lead, with Ross Muir staying on his shoulder. Marcus Dinardo was running in between the front and chasing group, but was soon joined by John Neal, and those two closed momentarily before Luke and Ross fired the fast-twitch muscles. It’s rare to see a more determined and focussed face than Luke’s – one eye on the clock to see if the flipping thing would tick over 00:05:00 before he got there. It did, but not by much. A fine win for Ross “staying on his shoulder” Muir. Too many other people to mention you all, but Declan Flynn had a well-paced run to take the coveted age-graded title, and special plaudits to some big finishes, especially David Pearce and Josh Brunskill. The latter’s shot-putt technique looked pretty good to me, too.
After a few minutes’ organisation, and a few more, we had one final race, a 4x100m relay at which we learned that Grant Davison‘s sprinting should always be seen on the home straight rather than buried out on leg 3. That would also save leg 4 from quaking in their shoes as Grant bears down on them…
Good running everyone, and particularly good to see 18 in the ladies race this year, up from 10 in 2010.
Grand Prix tables are available in the downloads section.
Ladies 1 mile: Aimee Billington
Ladies 1 mile age-graded: Maggie Stacey
Mens 1 mile: Luke McDonagh*
Mens 1 mile age-graded: Declan Flynn
* Post report Edit: Under the terms of the Club rules, runners must be paid up members of the Club to count for both the Championship and Grand Prix. Unfortunately, Ross Muir was not a paid up member at the time of the Club Mile and so is not elligible for the Championship title or Grand Prix points. Pegs
|Men||Past the Post||Age Graded|
|Ross Muir *||00:04:58||75.57%|
|Women||Past the Post||Age Graded|
|Nikki De Sousa||0:07:40||7||57.76%||4|