A total of 36 members of Grantham Running Club made the short trip to Sleaford on Sunday to take part in the Sleaford Half Marathon. The fairly low-key local race starts and finishes at Eslaforde Park on Boston Road & takes in the villages of Kirkby la Thorpe, Evedon, Ewerby, Ewerby Thorpe & Howell. Whilst very pleasant the weather on the day was far from ideal for running. The searing heat meant that most runners performances were slightly slower than they would normally expect when running on this relatively flat course. A total of 417 runners took part in the race.
|The course offered little shade|
Next to finish was MV50 Tony Johnson in 25th position overall with a time of 1:27:44. Tony began the race at quite a pace and to the surprise of many of his club mates, was able to maintain this throughout. This result is only 80 seconds shy of his 2017 time and proves that Tony is well and truly on his way back to his best after recent health issues and battles with injuries.
The 3rd GRC finisher was MV40 Peter Bonner who produced an equally impressive performance. He ran a new personal best of 1:29:13 slashing some 2:50 off his previous mark smashing through the much sought after 90 minute barrier in the process. He placed 30th overall. A remarkable demonstration of focus given the conditions.
|Paul Davidson as a guide runner|
The front runners in the ladies section were also veterans with Sarah High leading them home in 1:57:20,well outside her best but on balance a satisfying result given that she had to withdraw from London due to injury and has not been able to train hard since February. Sarah was third in her age category Next lady in was Caroline Davis enjoying a fine season in 1:58:26 with Julie Braker coming home in 2:00:53.
|Assisted runner taken ill|
A special mention goes to Robert Braker who abandoned his own race to help assist a runner who took ill to a first aid point, after helping carry her to the first aid tent where her heat exhaustion was successfully treated he returned to the fray and finished in a time of 2:11:34.
Other notable performances included personal bests for Kevin Kettle (1:43:24), Stuart Reader (1:46:10), Russell Maksymiw (1:56:08) all dipping well below the two hour mark. Julie Gilbert (2:07:13) and Justyna Gill (2:18:39) also bagged PB's. Any PB performance deserves special praise but even more so when the heat on the day is taken into account. There were also half marathon debuts for Stefan Latter (1:42:46), Lucy Hardstaff (2:08:04), Belinda Baker (2:22:50), Tracy Smith (2:23:34), Nic Webster (2:24:06), Yvette Taylor (2:42:50) & Melanie Taylor (2:49:41). A real baptism of fire on a day that tested even the most seasoned competitors at this distance.
Other results: Craig Drury 1:48:10, Nev Chamberlain 1:50:41, Liam Vincent 1:53:36,:Suzanne Britz 2:03:38, Martin Carter 2:04:45, Claire Pimlott 2:10:20, Emma Weighill 2:17:16, Jo Moore 2:18:54, Rosalind Sadler 2:21:52, Nicola Cottam 2:22:06, Kathleen Gray 2:23:39, Hayley Staff 2:24:59, Lucinda Gamble 2:34:20, Sue Swann 2:42:50, Claire Fritz 2:45:37