NEIL WICKS led an impressive start for Stratford AC runners in the Tempo Winter Series 10k on Sunday.
Wicks was first home for the club as the local series kicked off at Ilmington and, as always, it was well supported by Stratford athletes.
Storm Brian meant that Larkstoke was even more gruelling than usual with a full headwind.
And having ascended the brutal hill, a flock of sheep was spread across the road. Just a rural racing incident and no-one seemed to mind – runners, farmers or sheep.
Wicks was fifth overall and claimed the V35 accolade in 39 minutes 16 seconds. As usual he cycled to the race and back home too.
Under-20 Sam Weaving is showing what a great runner he is turning out to be and was eighth overall (40.37).
An in-form David Smyth was 13th and took the V45 win by 10 seconds from Ivan Sarti (42.48, 58th) whose supreme downhill ability didn’t quite give him enough lead to hold off Smyth.
Andrew Cox had a great run to be 17th in 43.40 and Alex Hill, new to racing, finished 19th in 43.58.
James Cusack has been a great supporter of this series for a long time and had a good run to come home in 29th (45.27).
Despite nursing a calf injury for several months, Martyn Austin also ran very well and he was home in 47.28.
First home for the Stratford women was Ceri Shephard, coming back into fitness after a long injury and she was fifth lady home (48.32) so has a good shout in the series at the moment.
Lynne Hinson was seventh woman and pulled out another strong run in 49 minutes, closely followed by Emma Vickers an impressive ninth lady (50.10) and Suzi Graham 18th (55.14).
Completing the Stratford dominance of this race were Daniel Whittington, who clocked 58.58, Kimberley Lee in 65.25, Gemma Smith 73.46 and John Butler 76.24.