Club of the Year celebrations continued for Gainsborough and Morton Striders over the weekend, thanks to an incredible performance from Sophie Wood.
The Scotter woman marked her debut ultra-marathon with a first place finish and 34-mile course record, in the six-hour ‘Hell on The Humber – Helloween’ on Saturday night.
Competitors are required to complete as many four-mile loops of the Humber Bridge as possible within a six hour time limit, starting at 6pm and finishing at midnight.
This represents a tough challenge at the best of times, but as is traditional in the Humber Bridge events in recent years, the runners were subjected to blustery winds and sporadic sharp showers heightening the unpleasant nature of the race.
Wood settled into a consistent early 6mph pace and maintained this throughout the first five hours, gradually overtaking her competitors until she had claimed the top spot and record breaking distance before retiring at 5hrs 45, safe in her victory.
As a reward for her success, Wood is invited back to the 2014 race to defend her title.
On the other side of the Humber, three Striders entered the Brigg 10k, a 6.21 mile race organised on behalf of the Brigg and District Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
This event also featured a ‘military challenge’ alongside the usual run, in which entrants were asked to compete in weighted, 36 lb military style ‘Bergen’ backpacks and boots.
First Strider home was Jonathan Drake in an impressive personal best of 38:35, knocking some 15 seconds from his previous best and finishing in seventh place overall.
“It was very windy” said Drake, “but a simple gradual uphill 5k into wind and, you guessed it, 5k downhill, but not as much downwind! “
“Good for a personal best in settled conditions and I would recommend it for anyone.”
Helen Robinson continued her strong season with a fourth place ladies’ finish in a good time of 44:43, with Jordan Holmes demonstrating his return to fitness in 44:11.
Couch to 5k graduate and Lincsquad triathlete Shona Cannings thanked the Striders for their support, as she finished the race in 62:50.
“Having been injured earlier in the year, I was struggling with my running and joined the group to get back into it.”
“The Poppy run was my first in many years so thanks to Bex Cross and Jerry McCulla for helping me prove to myself I could do it.”
Elsewhere in Lincolnshire, the County Cross Country League convened its first meeting of the season with a series of races at RAF Cranwell.
Many Striders including Senior Men and Women raced in the events, but the early highlight from the results is surely 14-year old Mitchel O’Connor, who finished second in his race and will now be one to watch as the league progresses into the New Year.
In Worksop, nine Striders entered the annual half-marathon with strikes out from the town into Clumber Park before a fast final few miles as the route descends back into a finish in the Market Square.
Alan Clark produced another strong effort to finish in 77th (1:25:03), with Lorna Allison in next in 1:35:05. Phil Marsland and Martin Edwards clocked identical times of 1:36:01 but were separated by six places, with Andy Trowsdale close behind in 1:36:17.
Chris Litherland (1:47:22), Jo Clark (1:54:19) and Mick Wood (1:55:50) completed the list of Striders who had ran the distance previously.
Debutant Lee Fenlon completed his first half-marathon in Striders colours with a pleasing 1:56:56.
Entries are now open for the club’s 10k race, which takes place in March and is one of the fastest routes in the UK.
With 750 places available and a growing reputation, this event is sure to sell out quickly.
For more information visit www.gainsboroughrunningclub.co.uk.