With the cancellation of so many races both locally and nationally in the 48 hours prior to the start of the third Oundle 20 on Sunday 15th March there was a weird atmosphere amongst the runners that stood on the start line. A number of runners were just wanting to enjoy what they (rightly) felt was to be their last organised race for a number of months given how the pandemic had developed in other countries like Italy. A few others were grateful that the spring marathons they had entered were no longer happening as their training had been less than ideal and it meant they could run the challenging undulating course without any pressure of having to run a certain pace.
|Sub 2 for Jonny|
First in for GRC a week after his excellent run at the Cambridge Half Marathon was Jonny Palmer. Taking part in his first 20 mile race, he set off with the leading pack in sight and ran as high as third. Finishing fourth in 1:56:49, just over a minute and a half behind the race winner Phil Martin of Peterborough and Nene
|Warren smashed his PB|
Next in for the club was Chris Limmer - one of the few from the club to neither PB or run their first 20 mile race. Starting towards the back of the field Chris Limmer chose to run his way though the field and see what would happen. Keen to enjoy the last race for a while he crossed the line in 2:11:45.
FIrst of the GRC PB runners was Dean Riggall who finished 31st and in doing so beat his previous 20 mile best by seven and a half minutes with 2:20:16. Next was Darren Harley who, on his 20 mile race debut, hung on to finish just five minutes behind Dean in a fine 2:25:30.
Still nursing a minor injury niggle in the build up Sarah Chenowyth gave the race a controlled effort and to clock 2:39:31, finishing 20th female and 114th overall. The women’s race was won by Sophie Darling ofLincoln Wellington AC in a new course record 2:13:22. Warren Stark was next in and he smashed his previous PB from last year’s Oundle 20 by an amazing nineteen minutes with 2:50:49
Caroline Davis was another to set a PB crossing the line in 2:52:25, shaving 31 seconds off from her year old previous best set at Ashby. Four minutes later in 2:56:25 was Women’s Captain Sarah High who remarkably managed to equal to the second her PB set back in 2016.
|Tracy clocked 3:55:20|
GRC had six participants who had entered the race as part of their training for their first ever marathon and were taking part in their longest race to date. This included Dale Towning (3:09:45) who was followed by Rachel Varela (3:22:00), who had marathon experience having completed the Rutland multi terrain marathon in September 2019. Claire Martin (3:41:26) led home four runners who were rarely out of sight of each other. CJ Walker (3:49:10) was full of praise for her club mate Belinder Baker (3:48:35) for supporting her and she was delighted to break four hours. Kate Marshall (3:48:26) and Tracy Webb (3:55:20) both enjoyed their first runs at Oundle too even if Kate then felt a sharp pain in her thigh attempting to stretch afterwards!
With all races postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future Kate and the rest of the runners have plenty of time to recuperate and hopefully be fit and able to enjoy the pleasures of running while the world battles more pressing matters.