Five personal-best (PB) times and a string of excellent performances heaped credit on Gainsborough and Morton Striders when they took to the streets of Lincoln for the city’s inaugural half-marathon.
The 13.1-mile course was tough, taking the runners from the Lincolnshire Showground through the scenic cathedral quarter and around Brayford Pool before a climb up Yarborough Hill brought them out on to the long home straight back to the showground.
But Striders covered themselves in glory, most notably Phil Marsland, who was in his usual top form to finish first in his age category. Marsland was cheered on by the crowd to clock a time of one hour, 33.55 minutes.
The array of PBs by blue-and-white vests was spearheaded by Jonathan Chapman, who knocked a massive 23 minutes off his previous best time, set six months ago, to come home in 2.09.17.
Will Lansdall continued his rich vein of form by finishing in a time of 1.24.44, which was enough to make him the first Strider to cross the line and take four minutes from his previous PB. James Croft was only a few minutes behind Lansdall in a time of 1.28.00.
The women were also hunting down the times, and Vikki Hearn made it on the PB list with 1.53.09. Kim Fravigar worked with Hearn during the first part of the race, and that pacing helped her to a time of 1.55.59, which was a four-minute improvement on her previous best.
Ladies’ captain Lorna Allison continued her fine comeback to finish second in her age category and fifth lady overall. And making her debut for the club, Carol Knapton was delighted with her time of 2.24.24 in what was her first-ever half-marathon.
Another debutant at the distance was Hannah Holmes, who secured a top-16 female finish, coming in at 1.39.06.
The other Striders to tackle the course were Simon Hunt (1.34.40), Hanna Bennett, (1.53.08), David Sweeting (1.53.10) and Helen Sweeting (2.00.36).
Further afield, Ultra runner Emma Humphries tackled much bigger hills in the Limestone Way 44-mile race. The route took her across the Peak District, from Ashbourne to Hope. She didn’t stop to take in any of the stunning scenery, though, as she finished first lady and sixth overall.
On the Parkrun front, it was back to normal at Gainsborough as Ronnie McWilliam finished first again in a time of 18.31 minutes. But Striders’ very own ‘Star Baker’, Maureen Allen, marked her 50th parkrun with a very good performance to clock a new PB of 36.49, and fresh from her first half-marathon a week earlier, Sara Kelsey found the 3.1 miles easy pickings as she also clocked a PB, crossing the line in 37.13.
Grace Housham also donned the blue and white vest for the juniors and, with some encouragement from her father Kevin, she chalked up a PB, finishing the hilly course in 38.11.
Training continues as usual for the club on Tuesdays at 7.15 pm from DW Sports, and on Thursdays at 6.30 pm from Queen Elizabeth’s High School. All are welcome.