The pre-race favourite was always James, and he stormed off at the start. Jim Graham has been concentrating on his running and he also started very strongly. I am not noted for fast starts but went through the first mile in 6m23s, but James and Jim were already way out of sight, probably well under 6 minutes!! Soon after Phil Couch came cantering past looking very comfortable.
Colin went out fairly quickly, and was followed by Mark and Rachel who were being paced by Rob, who was barely at a jogging pace by his standards, whilst making Rachel and Mark run at their limit!
With Barns Green it is always the second half of the race that sorts everyone out as somehow it seems to be predominantly uphill, especially after 9 miles. By the half way mark though we already had two casualties. Clare had to pull out with cramp, which was very disappointing for her, and Emma stopped halfway. Her 6-month taper for this race had left her severely undertrained!
By 9 miles James had run into trouble. He was on course for a 1h23m finish when he developed severe stomach cramps. He gamely carried on, running and walking to still finish just outside 1h33m. Meanwhile Jim Graham kept up his excellent pace to be first home in 1.26.19. Phil could just see him at times but could not close the gap to finish in 1.27.12. Steve was delighted to run a very even race in 1.28.18.
Once Mark had got his breathing together he managed to push on to finish 14 seconds ahead of Rachel and Rob, but not before all three had caught and passed Colin late on. He wasn't wearing club kit and it was only the muttered expletives that made them realise they had overtaken him! Rachel broke her PB by some 4 minutes so had a cracking run. John Liebers ran in place of Steve Mac (apparently worried that 14 pints of lager the night before might have an adverse effect) and did a time Steve would have been proud of - just outside 1h46m and a few minutes ahead of Del who did a respectable 1h52m.
Lucy had an excellent run to finish second lady in 1.46.30, and Kay planned and executed a very steady even race in 2h10m and Julie did an excellent 2.08.56 (?PB). I didn't even see Sharon in the melee afterward but she was third lady from the club just outside 2h6m. Julienne finished in 2h34m.
No race would be complete without the support crew so thanks to Steve Mac (and Murphy), Hazel and Pete for their consistent cheering.
MEN WINNER 1.10.30
Jim Graham 1.26.19 22.43% 10points
Phil Couch 1.27.12 23.69 9
Steve Alden 1.28.18 25.25 8
James Dear 1.33.19 32.35 7
Mark Jordan 1.41.00 43.26 6
Rob Hoodless 1.41.13 43.56 5
Colin Chambers 1.43.25 46.68 4
John Liebers 1.46.07 50.51 3
Del Hastings 1.52.33 59.64 2
WOMEN WINNER 1.22.45
Rachel Baker 1.41.14 22.33%
Lucy Williams 1.46.30 28.70 9
Sharon Chladek 2.06.07 52.40 8
Kay McMenamin 2.10.18 57.46 7
Julie Williams 2.08.56 55.81 6
Julienne Stuart-Colwill 2.34.20 86.5 5
Emma Alden DNF (6miles) 4
Clare Parkinson DNF (cramp) 3
Author: Steve Alden