THE 9th running of the Simply Run Not The Roman IX, based at NFU Mutual Sports & Social Club on Knights Lane in Tiddington was another triumph of race planning and running community spirit.
The event always takes place in a friendly and supportive atmosphere and is a big favourite with club athletes and unaffiliated runners alike.
The race started at the bottom of Alveston Hill and finished back in the car park at the Sports & Social Club.
There is one long, uphill section in the first half of the race but otherwise the race is picturesque and free from nasty surprises without being conducive to especially fast times.
The race began in beautiful sunshine and, as the morning frost had all but disappeared, runners had much more favourable conditions than forecast.
The race was won by Stephen Price from Derbyshire representing UKnetrunner.co.uk who crossed the line with a chip time of 40.56. This was his second consecutive win and his third in four years. His time was five seconds slower than last year, but one second faster than 2009! Stephen won by a massive 1 minute 42 seconds.
Second place went to David Tame (Hook Norton Harriers) who was 6th last year, while 17-year-old Patrick Roddy (Kenilworth Runners) finished third.
The first woman to finish was Sue Harrison (Leamington C &AC) who was 9th overall in 44.03.
Ten Stratford AC athletes took part while the rest of the club were on organisational and marshaling duty or doing a spot of facilities management.
Despite an exhausting cross country league fixture less than 24 hours earlier, Kate Wright (41st, 47.19 – 5th woman) showed her fitness and willpower with another resolute performance. Not far behind, Cat Clifford (81st, 50.26) simply ran a blinder.
Dawn Compton (85th, 50.48) also ran in the previous day’s cross country event and will have better days.
David Smyth (114th, 52.12), Emma Bexson (120th, 52.32), Roger Wilson (202nd, 55.52) were the others who decided that just one race in a weekend is not enough.
This was Emma’s fourth race already in 2012. She finished 12 seconds ahead of David at a recent 10k in Ilmington and will be hungry to beat him again next time they meet.
Roger added the M70-74 prize to his cabinet with a fast 12km stint. He made his time of 57.42 a year ago look pedestrian in comparison to his 2012 race and was a phenomenal effort.
Andrew Brown (212nd, 55.49) has been running in plenty of races recently and continues to look fluent, relaxed and capable of some fast times.
Larry Coltman (351st, 1.01.27) always looks at ease, has strength in abundance and took to this race with his usual aplomb.
Christine Cooper (593rd, 1.20.11) has been making waves on Wednesday night training runs with her rapid improvement and showed how well she can cope with a long and unforgiving race.
Stratford’s first three women, Kate, Cat and Dawn, took the second placed team prize behind Leamington C & AC.
The men’s team prize went to Birchfield Harriers.
Sue Harrison, who was the first woman to finish, sprints to the line. (s)
Leamington C & AC edged out Stratford AC to win the ladies team prize. From the left - Susie Tawney, Sue Harrison and Zara Blower. (s)
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