What’s not to love about a road or trail race and the extra day’s holiday this Bank Holiday weekend certainly provided the Peelers with plenty of opportunities to test their racing legs at events all over the country.
The Uttoxeter half marathon acts as a counting race in the Burton & District Summer League and is organised by Uttoxeter Road Runners. It’s always a favourite race with the Peelers, starting at Uttoxeter racecourse and following an undulating and scenic route around the lanes south of Uttoxeter before finishing with a cramp-inducing downhill gallop back onto the racecourse. Unfortunately, several key members of the team were unable to run due to injury or illness, but the club was well represented with Club Chairman Lee Rickards first to cross the finish line in a time of 1:32:00. Emma Pick continued her impressive return to form and had a very strong race finishing as 5th female and 3rd in age category (FSen) and a time of 1:35:25. Next home was Rachael Rickards as 10th female, 3rd in age category (F40) and a time of 1:42:13. She was followed by Zac Gibbons in 1:43:22; Allen King (first time at Uttoxeter and a huge personal best time of 6 minutes and 43 seconds!) in 1:46:55 and Carolyne Browne in 2:00:32 and 3rd in age category (F55).
Meanwhile, over at the Great Birmingham Run half marathon, Emma Livingstone was also knocking out a personal best time of 2:12:00, taking 8 minutes off her previous personal best! Michael Shelton also took on the Birmingham half marathon for St Giles Hospice and finished in a time of 1:37:04, whilst Jude Matthews and Donna Reid ran the course together and finished in 1:52:14. Finally Jo Insley, making a welcome return after some time out from racing, finished in 2:02:16.
Peelers like a challenge and Clara Walton, not content with one race this week, took on the Big Bear Bluebell Challenge at Hartshill Hayes on Tuesday and completed 17.7 miles in a time of 4:45:52 on the undulating trail route. Following up on this success, she then went on to run the Great Birmingham Run 10k on Sunday in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and finished in a very creditable 59:45.
On Bank Holiday Monday, Milton Keynes was the destination for the Dempsey Duo! Helen Dempsey completed the MK half marathon in a time of 2:28:33, a course personal best by 3 minutes, whilst husband Neal Dempsey ran a personal best time in the marathon finishing in 4:40:28.
Taking on Mo Farah in the London Vitality 10k was the challenge for many runners on Monday, which saw Peeler Jackie Tierney (F55) continuing her current run of good form to cross the line in an impressive 56:29.
Joy Sykes travelled to Yorkshire to take part in the Tadcaster Sprint Triathlon (pool swim 400m, cycle 13km, 6km run) which she finished in 1:36:31.
Also on Monday, Martin Hollamby competed in the undulating and testing course of the “Big Way Round” 50k, an ultramarathon trail run around the spectacular Winchester countryside taking in parts of the South Downs Way and the Itchen Way. Having run a well-paced race, he finished in a time of 4:16:48 and 6th place overall.
Crossing into Leicestershire, on Saturday Garth Cox took on the Wymeswold Waddle 5 mile road race on an out and back course famous for its uphill “out”, which he completed in a strong time of 39:07.
The weekend parkruns also saw a good turnout of Peelers with Kingsbury once again the biggest draw. First to complete the 5k course in a time of 19:24 and in 3rd place was Rob Mace. He was followed by: Mike Shelton (20:42); Ben Dorkins (22:38); Lisa Stretton (23:47); Simon Gordon (24:34); Chris Bennett (24:49); Tim Mudd (24:59); Martin Hemming (25:56); Garth Cox (27:41); Jackie Tierney (27:43); Mark Boffey (27:43); Darren Truman (27:44); Claire Guffick (28:36); Roger Eastaff (30:34); Joy Sykes (31:42); Alison Perry (32:52) and Chris Norris (46:18). Sarah French volunteered at Kingsbury parkrun to help with the event (as all parkruns are run by volunteers).
Parkrun tourists included: Tanya Murphy (39:13) at Brueton, Solihull and Mick Stevenson (30:30) at Northallerton.