A group of lady runners from the Gainsborough and Morton Striders club are proving that the role of heroic sporting underdogs is not solely the domain of FA Cup non-league giantkillers Lincoln City.
For they have defied all the odds by turning themselves into accomplished runners, and they are now preparing to compete in their first-ever 10k race.
Club spokesman Chris Inman said: “Running has a few similarities with football because for every Chelsea or Manchester City, with designs on a trophy or two each season, there are hundreds of Lincoln Citys, or even Gainsborough Trinitys, who continue in hope, more than expectation, that they will achieve something significant soon.
“Only a few athletes, such as Sir Mo Farah, can expect to break world records or gain Olympic medals but, behind them, there are thousands who go out with the sole aim of running just that little but further or getting a personal-best time.
“Striders have been fortunate in the last year or so to have acquired a dozen or so new lady members. They would readily admit they are not likely to win loads of races, but every one of them has already made huge progress in their running.
“Eight started running last summer through the club’s ‘Couch To 5k’ programme which, as its names suggests, takes absolute beginners from doing no running whatsoever to being able to complete a 5k run, over three miles, without stopping.
“Not only did they complete the programme, they are also now preparing for their first big race, the Gainsborough 10k, next month.”
The eight ladies concerned are Louise McClue, Karen Ramsdale, Clare Carney, Claire Cutts, Jayne Hunt, Jeanette McGhee, Joanne Cook and Alison Howe, who have all covered the full distance already and are now fine-tuning their training in the build-up to the race on Sunday, March 19.
They will be joined on the start line by five other newcomers, Amanda Johnson, Helen Clarke, Victoria Walker, Carol Knapton and Tracey Cutts, who have taken up running in a bid to boost their health and fitness.
Clarke and Johnson even have plans to go one step further or, to be more acfurate, six miles further as they have also entered the North Lincolnshire Half-Marathon, starting and ending in Scunthorpe, in May.
Last weekend, there was very little running action, with most Striders clocking up the miles in preparation for forthcoming races. Simon Hunt managed 58 miles and Carl Currie 53. However, there was a stunning performance at the Gainsborough parkrun by Jasper Humphries, who shaved 12 seconds off his previous personal-best time, despite a course that resembled a mudbath. His time of 22.15 was also enough to make him the second-placed finisher.
The club’s regular training sessions continue, wiht the juniors meeting on Tuesdays at 5.30 pm at Gainsborough Academy. The seniors meet on Thursdays at 6.30 pm at Queen Elizabeth’s High School, and on Tuesdays at 7.15 pm at DW Sports in Marshall’s Yard. High-visibility clothing is required for the adult sessions.