The Harriers at Bideford matched those as Bath in terms of both number (7) and performance (excellent!).
Unsurprisingly, Dave Stone led them all home in a time of 77:32 for 13th place overall and a very well deserved 3rd MV40 place in what proved to be a very high quality field in this ever-strong category on the day. Speedy-Stonie is clearly on the mend after the back trouble that plagued him during the Fulford 5 race last month.
Cathy Newman was the next Harrier in, tackling the half-marathon distance for the first time in a few years and making a darn good job of it! She recorded a superb time of 85:50 for 55th spot overall and a very well deserved 2nd placed female overall. Even more amazing is that Cathy runs in the FV50 category, so she not only beat every other female in that category, but all but one of them in entire race! AND, as if that already wasn't impressive enough, she also beat all of the male vet 50s into the bargain!! This gives her a massive 89.31% on age-graded! The gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down for the Harriers' female club championship!!
A familiar name to many Harriers, if not a familiar face as he cannot train as much as he would like with the Harriers due to work committments, is Adrian Kearns. Adrian pops up at races from time to time, proudly sporting the Harriers blue and yellow, and always gives a good account of himself. On this occasion he clocked 86:54 for 71st place overall and 19th MV40.
An ever-improving Lisa Hatchard was the next Harrier home. Now proving her credentials on the road to back some some super recent performances at multi-terrain events, Lisa placed 237th overall and 8th FV35 in a time of 99:57, just bagging herself that covetted sub 1:40 clocking and giving herself a nice springboard - not to mention confidence boost - as she prepares to tackle the Paris Marathon this April.
Ladies captain, Dawn Teed, was in next and setting her fellow ladies a fine example with determined and gutsy performance that earned her 313th spot overall and a truly superb and well deserved 2nd place in the FV45 section! This is a highly competitive race and so Dawn did a fine job to get on the podium in her category. As with Lisa, this shows that Dawn has timed her training and raced just right as she prepares to fly out to the Falklands in 2 weeks time to tackle the island's marathon. We wish her and her partner, Hugh, luck!
Joan Mason was next across the line in a time of 1:53:21. This was a fantastic run for Joan and represented a PB for her over the distance by 40 seconds: proving that with hard work and determination, PBs are still achievable even after years of running! Last autumn she ran 1:56:28 at the Birmingham Half and so to have shaved 3 minutes off that time over the winter is testimony to her efforts and committment to training over the cold, dark winter months. This gave her 476th place overall and 9th FV50.
Roger Riggs was definitely a man with something to smile about when he crossed the finish line on Sunday. His time of 1:58:31 was less than a minute outside of his life time best - set at the Great West Run last May - and this despite a season of injury problems over the autumn / winter. This time, which gave him 585th place overall and 28th MV55, will give Roger huge encouragement that he well on the road to recovery and getting back to his best.
There were 867 finishers. Top man was Jim Cole of Tavistock AC in 68:56 and top woman on the day was Helen Dyke of Poole Runners in 82:04.
The Bideford batallion, ready for the off! L - R: Roger Riggs, Joan Mason, Lisa Hatchard, Dawn Teed, Dave tone, Cathy Newman.
Maybe the Harriers could club together to buy Dave a trip to the sun to get some colour on those pins!! ;-)