As usual, an immaculately prepared course, this year in truly summer conditions, crafted by Clive and daughter Kate, with Mike rolling up in the afternoon after an overdose of the Ashes. Thanks all three and the other Courier and Tony support on the night: you did the runners proud!

At the end of the lap of the top field, Eliot had eased ahead and the main point of discussion was how much he was likely to win by. Alas, as runners began to emerge from the bottom orchards a dozen or so minutes later our star man was not to be seen. There were [disgraceful] mutterings of foul behaviour beneath a Yew tree by our City rivals, an outrageous claim that Eliot later refuted with all the conviction of a Chris Froome answering allegations of a different sort. Bravely, despite breathing difficulties which had affected him in the Crocodile, he [Eliot, not Froome] struggled round the final hilly lap to finish in 9th, a score which sadly may cost him the Series win which looked his for the taking. Ahead of him on the day were Matt in a fine fourth and Luke, apparently barely affected by his recent gruelling off road mountain marathon, in 7th. Continuing to rediscover his old penchant for speed, Dave blasted to a great 14th, comfortably clinching the V50 Series crown. Behind him in 18th, making a pleasing 5 in the top 20, was Mike who is becoming increasingly impatient with the dry weather.

A bit of a gap then to Neil in 30th, who kept Herington [32nd] at bay on the last hills without too much trouble. ” I missed Geoff coming past me today” complained the Herring, ” he creates such air turbulence as he flies past, he’s like a portable fan.” Mr Kay has been spending time away with his coach at his warm weather training base trying to plot leading V60, Mike Warrick’s [10th today] downfall.

Next in was a galloping Kev [62nd] in a bit of a lather but gaining some distance on Ali [70th] who once again was our first woman home though only two spots ahead of Jayne who is impressively on course to take the F55 honours. Sheryl kept it going well for 92nd with 11 runners behind her.

Personally, I still can’t make up my mind about the course. Is it fast or tough? Probably both, in fact. There are a few short sapping hills but plenty of downhill and flat running. A curate’s egg that has been in the sun too long is my considered summation. Or maybe, just another conundrum from Mr Rowberry & Co.