Sunday, 13 January 2019

Oundle New Year 10k

A 2-3 finish at the Oundle 10K on Sunday 13th January ensured a small piece of history was made for Grantham Running with two runners in green claiming podium places in the same race for the first time. Kicking the New Year off with a bang, the club also won the Men’s Team Trophy and there were several new personal bests from the twenty one GRC runners who took part in what was the opening round of the club’s 2019 Grand Prix Series.
Hosted for the first time, the Oundle 10K took runners out of the historic market town of Oundle on a scenic, mildly undulating two lap triangle shaped anticlockwise course between Oundle, Cotterstock, and Glaphorn. On a reasonably mild, mostly cloudy morning, conditions were made challenging by a bracing stiff westerly wind which made for a brutally tough near mile long steady incline, heading directly into the wind, shortly after the opening kilometre. This served to sap the energy reserves, especially when the exercise was repeated on the second lap with the wind, if anything, strengthening in intensity.
Finishing second in the race was Matthew Kingston-Lee in 00:36:42, with club mate Ian Williams coming home third just six seconds behind in 00:36:48. In an exciting race, Matthew initially pulled out a gap on Ian as he moved into third place with an extravagant surge of pace into the headwind at 2km and then worked hard to close down and overtake the second placed runner at just after halfway.
With Matthew still in sight and sensing a chance to finish third, Ian closed down and also passed the ailing fourth placed Mathias Martinez into the headwind section. Matthew then dramatically stopped with around two kilometres left to run to retie his laces that had come undone at halfway, allowing Ian to briefly take second spot. With right trainer now firmly reattached to foot, Matthew immediately retook the position on the final climb of the race and was just about able to eke out a small gap by the finish.
All this action meant that Ian bettered his old PB, set at the November 2018 Leeds Abbey Dash 10K, by over 30 seconds. This is an outstanding performance, especially when considering that both the winner, John Uff (35:13) and Matthew were both two minutes down on their best 10K times set late in 2018 partly due to the windy conditions. 
Another excellent performance came from eleventh placed Joaquim Jeronimo in a time of 00:40:45, which secured the club an emphatic victory in the Men’s Team Competition. Next home for GRC was Ian McBain, who was pleased with his time of 00:43:58 given the challenging weather conditions, which was within seconds of his personal best.
Samuel Jepson-Rivers followed and was delighted to have achieved an impressive 00:46:02, establishing an official 10K PB and bettering a previous 10k time by almost eight minutes. It was a great day for the Jepson-Rivers family as Samuel’s wife Naomi Jepson-Rivers was delighted to better her personal best by more than two minutes, coming in at 01:00:21, and Samuel’s father Paul ran well to finish fifth in the V60 category, clocking 00:53:31. The Dodwell’s were another family to return home happy with Jack Dodwell clocking 00:47:01 and his brother Sam thrilled to finish in 00:50:17, bettering his old 10K PB by nearly seven minutes.
Nichola Webster was first woman home for GRC at 00:56:45, enjoying the day despite battling the strong wind. Tracy Webb, who continues to chip away at her 10k race times, reduced her personal best on the road by more than a minute, with an excellent time of 00:58:15. Kathleen Gray was next finisher for the club in a time of 00:59:15, a personal best denied by the challenging winds.

Kathleen was followed by Sylv Hull (01:00:03) just ahead of Sue Swann (01:00:05). Kate Marshall (01:02:00) struggled with the wind, especially on the second lap. New club member Sue Hardy finished in 01:03:29, Claire Fritz clocked 01:04:48 ahead of Edina Burns (01:07:25), with Louise Kennedy just behind in 01:07:27 and Yvette Taylor hot on Louise’s heels with 01:07:33. Paula Ebbins, in what may be her first ever race for the club, completed the GRC finishers with a time of 01:10:28. Unfortunately, Vicki Geeson was forced to withdraw mid-race due to injury but praised the first aid assistance provided to her and hopes to be back up and running soon.
With a few shortcomings addressed the Oundle 10K is surely set to be a popular early year fixture on the local race calendar and provided a great opening round to what promises to be a competitive 2019 GRC Grand Prix Series.
Emily Foran of Sleaford Striders AC was the winning woman in 00:40:51. There were 472 finishers.

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