Athletes from the Gainsborough and Morton Striders club followed in the footsteps of legendary veteran Brendan Foster when enjoying their first big outing of the year at the weekend.
Foster, now a TV commentator, holds the course record of 48.01 minutes for the renowned Ferriby 10-Mile race, which is held every year on the outskirts of Hull.
And although none of Saturday’s 709 finishers was able to get close to that time, no fewer than 20 of them completed their runs in under an hour, which was no mean feat considering that several patches of the route were strewn with ice after a sharp overnight frost.
One of the elite 20 was Striders’ own Jordan Skelly, who came home 18th in a time of 59.38, just under six minutes behind the race winner. And nine of his teammates returned home with personal-best (PB) times under their belts.
Mat Huteson was three minutes quicker than his 2016 result with 60.35, while Carl Currie notched an even bigger improvement, more than six minutes, with a 67.10 finish. Mark Rodgers (69.23), Daniel Gleave (82.43), and Vikki Hearn (84.08) improved by about four minutes, while Glenn Peniston (77.19) was three minutes better off. The other improvers were Wayne Greenfield (62.14), Simon Hunt (71.00]) and Joanne Proctor (78.46), whose time was good enough to place her eighth in her age category.
Five club members used the hilly course for their first attempt at this race distance. James Croft was the first of them to finish, in 68.49, ahead of Darryl Kelsey (80.20), Dale Swinton (84.08), and Samantha Garrison and Sian Turner, who encouraged each other as they finished together in 100.40.
There was also a welcome return to racing action after illness and injury for the Jonathans, Drake and Chapman, who ran 67.38 and 108.46 respectively, while Striders’ remaining times included: Lorna Allison, who came second in her age group, 69.14, Craig Ward 72.06, David Sweeting 84.54, Mick Wood 85.21 and Hanna Bennett 87.12.
Arguably, though, the performance of the day came from Craig Williamson, whose time of 83.36 was some way off his best but followed a gruelling 31-mile race he had run only the day before. Williamson was guided round the Waterways 30 course in Derbyshire by Nigel Bowler, a veteran of the event, as they finished a few seconds over six hours. Some distance in front was fellow Strider Tom Humphries, who finished fifth in four hours, 19 minutes.