Flush with the success of a whitewash in the 5K Series and total domination in the last cross-country fixture at Presteigne, Couriers approached the Summer League with cautious optimism, though mindful that we lack strength in depth in the all-important women’s section. As it turned out, we took rather a hammering, finishing only fourth, with the wretched Wye Valley finding TWO teams to beat us,thus reversing the result at Presteigne.

Nonetheless, there were some highly encouraging individual results. Being the Club stalwart that she is, Ali chose to cross the pain barrier and compete, finishing 82 [and 2nd F50, close enough to the first for her to overcome the deficit as the season goes on]. This was well down on what we would normally expect of her but given her lack of training and racing, was a brave and important contribution. Equally impressive was our new recruit, Amy Wolfson’s run, making her debut in the League with less than ideal footwear and finishing a nice round 100th. With a pair of Inov8 Talons [Yes,I am their rep] we should see her improve even on this, particularly bearing in mind her sub 2 Hereford Half performance.

Eliot had a cracking run in 2nd, getting the better of his perennial nemesis, Jon Pullen. Then came Luke James in a fine 6th spot with Mike Link hard on his heels with a brilliant 8th, which also gave him 1st M40, a just reward for his efforts in training. Richie Bamford also finished well up in 11th, a first sign perhaps of what he is capable of delivering. Among the older men, Dave Williams [M50], Geoff Kay [M55] and Steve Herington [M60] all followed Mike’s lead by registering wins in their categories. Dave was a little disappointed with his 19th after a storming run in the last 5K but 12 hour shifts are wearing on an old man. And, as well as securing a category win, he managed to stay ahead of Neil Lewis, who has been easing back on training lately, in 21st. Some observers were surprised to note that it took Geoff [24th] till the halfway point to overhaul the impetuous Herring [27th] but the key to this riddle may lie in their respective race preparations. While Geoff spent an irksome afternoon working on the loquacious Mrs Bellingham’s ruptured ball valve, Steve was at home, recumbent in his Astrakhan coat and shawls on the gold brocade chaise longue, being spoon-fed Linguine al Pommodoro by his doting wife, bathed in the Elysian tones of Jeff Buckley. “Couldn’t have been better,” opined the Herring, ” though the half bottle of Chianti combined with the humid evening made me a touch drowsy before the start.” The same could not have been said of Kev [64th] who was pacing up and down his cage before the off, “just to loosen the pins” he explained, having tackled the fearsome Darrens Dash on Sunday, wearing horse shoes tacked to his Asics. ” I didn’t half come down that bank!” he boasted.

Kinnersley in 2 weeks then. And one man predicts a big surprise for our rivals. “Let’s just say that I am preparing to unleash a secret weapon!” announced Mike Link, Couriers’ own Harry Redknapp, with a dash of Shelley thrown in for luck. Issuing a mysterious warning to Wye Valley and Croft, from atop an Aconbury sillage cistern yesterday, he bellowed, “Look on our team, ye mighty and despair!”