Newman impresses on Shakespeare Half debut - The Stratford Observer
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Newman impresses on Shakespeare Half debut

Stratford Editorial 15th May, 2018 Updated: 15th May, 2018

STRATFORD Athletic Club runners were out in force competing in their ‘home’ Shakespeare Marathon or half marathon – one of the highlights of the racing calendar for locals.

Thirty-nine members took part and there were some truly memorable performances, with the number achieving personal bests running into double figures. Club members also had a top-five finish, two age category wins and a victory in the women’s team competition.

Those taking part in the full marathon face the daunting task, both mentally and physically, of having to turn left at the end of The Greenway to start their second loop of the course. This is made all the more challenging due to the fact the half marathon runners, who carry straight on, are tantalisingly close to achieving their goal.

The club had four competitors in the full marathon and Joe Lee was the first of them to finish in the impressive time of 3:37:22. Next to finish, with arguably the best performance of the day, was 20-year-old Cadie Hibberd, who clocked 3:53:16 – a 50-minute improvement on the PB she set at this race last year.

Annie Cox was next to finish. The 19-year-old was competing in her first marathon and it has to be said this is not the easiest of marathons. She also ran a superb race, finishing in 4:00:53, agonisingly close to four hours.

Tara Lambert was the club’s final finisher, crossing the line in 4:31:43. For Lambert, an ultra-marathon specialist, a mere 26.2 miles must have seemed like a stroll in the park.

The marathon was won by Tom Buckley in a time of 2:41:58 on what was his marathon debut. Clare Rees was the first woman to finish, placing 18th overall in a time of 3:09:15 as 486 completed the race.

SAC had a hugely impressive 35 members competing in the half marathon and the irrepressible Josh Newman, making his debut at the 13.1-mile distance, was the first to finish for the club.

Of the 1,654 runners who completed the race, Newman finished fifth in the superb time of 1:17:33.

“I learned a lot from my first half marathon,” he said. “I felt good until ten miles and then the wheels came off but I’m happy with fifth place and the home support out on the course was awesome.”

Dan Lynch finished 16th in 1:22:55, followed by Dave Parkin in 33rd in a PB of 1:26:18. Chris Cond (37th, 1:26:45) ran a two-minute PB and Owen Goschen (54th, 1:29:06) also set a big PB to finish eighth in the M50 category.

Matt Burdus-Cook (59th, 1:29:28), who has recently discovered the delights of track running, took 15 minutes off the PB he set when he last ran this race in 2013. Drew Sambridge (67th, 1:30:07) was next to finish for the club, agonisingly close to the 90-minute mark.

Consistent performer Malcolm Bowyer (71st, 1:30:45) was just five minutes outside his PB, achieved at this race some seven years ago. He also finished third in his age category.

Andy Cox (76th, 1:31:18) was competing just three weeks after running the London Marathon. Less than two minutes separated the next three club members to finish – Duncan Reading (1:32:38), James Coy (1:34:44) and another remarkably consistent runner David Smyth (1:35:25) – whose time was barely a minute slower than his time for the same race in 2011.

The redoubtable Emma Bexson was the first woman to finish for the club, clocking 1:35:39 – her fastest half marathon since 2013. She was 12th woman to finish and sixth in her age group.

Emma Parkin, running her first half marathon, was next to finish in a time of 1:37:51.

Pete Sugden’s time of 1:39:12 was a six-minute PB and he was followed by the third and fourth SAC women to finish – Lucy Cotman (1:39:09) and Lynne Hinson (1:42:22) – ensuring the club won the prestigious women’s team award.

Hinson’s time was a mere 18 seconds off her PB but was enough to secure third place in the W45 category.

Ryan Bakewell (1:43:45) was yet another runner to record a big PB – his time being seven minutes quicker than his previous best. He was followed by Sarah Boundy in 1:43:09.

Penny Stainthorp (1:45:09) was the first of the age category winners for the club as she finished ahead of the other 48 runners in the W55 age group, some two minutes in front of her nearest rival.

One month after completing the Brighton Marathon, Karl Harris recorded a PB of 1:48:59 and was followed by Gavin Lambert (1:49:32), who took two minutes off his PB from last year.

Chris Whateley (1:51:26) was the next of the age category winners for the club, finishing ahead of the other 15 runners in the M65 age group.

The race was won by Simon Birch in 1:10:41, while former British international Nicola Sykes was the first woman to finish, placing 17th overall in 1:23:21.

Other SAC members to complete the race: Ian Hill – 1:51:59; Becky Gray – 1:54:20; Jennifer Morrison-Jones – 1:55:37; Bev Brigden – 1:58:55 (her first half marathon, sixth in her age group); Richard Hartwell – 1:56:22 (two-minute PB); Jan McLure – 1:57:29; Nic Reynolds – 2:03:19 (12-minute PB, just three weeks after running the London Marathon); Spesh Maloney – 2:04:46; Sue Mothershaw – 2:07:10; Alan Coldicott – 2:11:08; Seb Hopper – 2:35:44; John Butler – 2:47:05.

Report compiled by David Jones.

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