As Gainsborough Striders headed both north and south in their pursuit of racing glory last weekend, there was little doubt who emerged as the club’s star turn.
Step forward Wayne Greenfield, who conquered the York Marathon in sparkling style. In a massive field of almost 4,000 runners, Greenfield finished as high as 49th after scorching round the 26-mile course in a time of two hours, 53 minutes, knocking four minutes off his previous personal best (PB).
He was one of four Striders who travelled to the ancient city to tackle the Plusnet Yorkshire ten-mile and marathon races, with Simon Smith and Simon Hunt joining him in the longer event. Smith completed the course in a shade under five hours, 13 minutes before retiring to the bar for a celebratory drink! While Hunt secured a fine top-500 finish with his time of three hours, 28 minutes.
In the shorter event, Lottie Lindley took part in her first race over a meaningful distance for 18 months, so she had every right to be delighted with a time of 88.02 minutes, particularly as she was easily in the top half of competitors who finished.
Down south on the same day was Striders teammate Hanna Bennett, who had managed to secure one of the highly sought after places in the Royal Parks Half-Marathon in London. Based around Hyde Park, the event attracted 16,000 runners, but she clocked a very respectable one hour, 52 minutes that placed her comfortably in the top third of finishers and boosted the final stages of her training for the New York Marathon next month.
Slightly closer to home, a dozen Striders went to Burringham to tackle their well-organised 10k race. The course is one of the flattest around and, usually, it is well suited to anyone wanting to improve their PB.
Unfortunately, a strong headwind over the last 4km meant that only Emma Humphries, finishing in 44.33, managed to achieve one. James Croft and Chris Inman gave it a good go, but their times of 38.22 and 46.31 respectively left them both a couple of seconds short.
Not for the first time this year, Mat Huteson was the first Strider home, in 36.43, while Carl Currie, Stu Mills and Craig Ward were closely packed with their 41-minute times.
Timothy Smithson managed a sub 45-minute time, much to his enjoyment as he had feared problems with an old injury. And 10k debutants Clare Harwood and Darryl Kelsey started their racing careers with exceptional times of 63.02 and 50.38 respectively. Finally, Clare Hardwick clocked a season’s best of 52.56 and Kirsty Smithson ran 65.45.
In the junior fun run, over about a mile, it was normal service at the front once more as Jasper and Joe Humphries secured first and second places in a field of very enthusiastic youngsters.
Striders’ weekly club training sessions are continuing. Juniors meet on Tuesday at 5.30 pm at Gainsborough Academy. The Thursday senior session begins at 6.30 pm at Queen Elizabeth High School, and their Tuesday session starts from DW Sports in Marshall’s Yard at 7.15 pm.