Reds Run Well in Record Fields

Both men’s and women’s teams finished higher at Croft than in the previous race with over 200 runners competing. The men took 3rd just a point behind hosts Croft (must remember to check the organiser’s maths) while the women were 6th one up on last time. In unusually mild weather we were spared rain though the course was muddy in places.
We packed 3 in the top 10 in the men’s event in a bulging field of 127. Eliot ran a wonderfully bold race determined to hang on to the thoroughbred Tim Davies (1st 47.20) and was no more than 80 meters behind after one lap well clear of Tim Iveson in third. However this early effort began to take its toll and Iveson went past on the second lap drawing clear to take 2nd in 48.53. Eliot stuck to his task on a tough 3rd lap and came home a valiant 3rd in 49.56. Sadly it seems this may be the first and last we see of him in the League this season.
One place back Matt had a storming run (50.35) holding off the flying Stacy Morgan. Then came Russ again running superbly to take 9th and the inevitable 1st V45 spot. It’s a shame Mike is some distance from peak fitness as there was a gap to 28th (57.35) before he charged up the final hill. Dave ran his usual nicely judged race not far back in 34th (58.25) 2nd V50 while taking the odd look over his shoulder to see how close the supercharged Geoff Kay was getting to him. It proved to be close enough as Geoff was less than a minute and a half behind for 41st 2nd V60 just under the hour barrier (59.48) which is a decent measure of V60 quality. A sign of how well Geoff has kept his summer form going is that again he managed to keep Paul 42nd in 60.09 at bay albeit that Paul is still on the road back to full fitness.
We were treated to another Battle of Peterchurch with Neil 96th (71.35) defending his title against Raging Bull Baker Barnes who finished top centurion (100th) in 72.11. Everyone was pleased to see Chris Cleary back on Herefordshire soil having made the long trek up from Kent. Lacking his former sharpness, Chris took 110th place (75.05) calling out as he ran, “I am not a number” and making wardrobe adjustments en route (strange Kentish customs I imagine).
There was good packing in the shorter women’s event with Lisa not yet back up to summer speed  leading the team home in 19th in 39.38 followed closely by the duelling fifty somethings Ali and Tracy who raced each other to the line Ali again just prevailing in 21st 39.41 just three seconds and one place ahead of her rival. This was a great effort from both to take once again 2nd and 3rd in the V50 stakes. We saw another gutsy performance from new recruit Sam unfazed by the mud and hills and finishing a highly creditable 51st out of 83. It looks as though there is much more to come from her once she is race hardened. In the team event we were 6th one up from the previous race. It’s so good to have team and back-up in the women’s section again after last year when Ali started to feel a bit lonely. Well done all four.
Finally thanks to Mike and Crofties, Clive and and others who put in so much work to make this record 31st fixture such a success. And to think in all those 31 years Kevin Barnes has never finished outside the top 100. Keep it up Kev!