Grantham Running Club's Matthew Kingston-Lee bettered his own club half marathon record when he finished eighth at the Keyworth Turkey Trot on Sunday 8th December. Behind Matthew, fellow club mates Ben Hatherley and Kevin Baker set impressive personal bests on a tough hilly course.
The 31st Keyworth Turkey Trot Half Marathon was a remarkably popular event with its entry limit of 1000 runners filled this year in just nine hours. With funds raised going to the 1st Keyworth Scouts Group, the event is a fine example of a slickly organised community supported race, with generous crowd support on what was a near entirely rural course. Weather conditions were fine for a December event: sunny and relatively mild, with just a stiffening breeze hampering runners at times on a fairly exposed hilly route. Finishers of the race were rewarded with a memento mug - presented by none other than Father Christmas himself - with free soup and other hot beverages offered for the weary runners.
First home for Grantham Running Club was Matthew Kingston-Lee. A swift opening downhill mile saw him lie in around twelfth place when he struggled badly on the first climbs of the race at around three miles. He rallied well though in the middle section of the race when he began to haul in runners ahead of him and at ten miles found himself eighth and around 30 seconds up on his schedule to break his existing half marathon PB of 1:16:46, set at Milton Keynes in 2010. Some tough climbs in the final miles however saw him finish just outside his best, albeit in a season's half marathon best of 1:17:01. This bettered his old club record set at this year's Robin Hood Half Marathon by eleven seconds.
Behind Matthew, Ben Hatherley was pleased and somewhat surprised, considering a distinct lack of recent training, to clock a new PB of 1:29:06, bettering his old best, set at the Newton's Fraction Half Marathon in 2012, by seventeen seconds. Behind Ben Mason (1:38:00), Kevin Baker was delighted to take two minutes off his old PB, clocking 1:38:47. He credited the improvement to the club's Tuesday night hills and interval sessions which he has been excelling at in recent weeks.
Robert Howbrook, taking part in only his second half marathon, found the course tougher than his debut at Peterborough in October, nevertheless he ran well to finish just over a minute slower than his best with 1:42:36.
Behind Nick Payne (1:45:18), Lucy Roberts was the first of two GRC ladies to finish, coming home in 2:09:36. Yvonne Taylor showed considerable determination with a finishing time of 2:30:36.
The race won by V45 Tom Hartley of Barrow Runners in 1:13:19, with Katherine Fitzpatrick the first lady to cross the finishing line in 1:26:36.