Kenilworth Half win takes its toll as Edwards settles for a ‘Big’ third place

Leamington C&AC's Megan Rothman, Monica Williams, Jenny Jeeves, Natalie Bhangal and Kelly Edwards at Stratford's Big 10k. Picture: Les Barnett
Leamington C&AC's Megan Rothman, Monica Williams, Jenny Jeeves, Natalie Bhangal and Kelly Edwards at Stratford's Big 10k. Picture: Les Barnett

There was strong local turnout for Stratford’s Big 10k where athletes took advantage of perfect running conditions to record a string of personal bests.

The race was identified by the England Masters Athletic Association as one of five events they would take into account when selecting the England team for the Home Countries cross-country international in November and as a result attracted several top English masters’ athletes.

Running hard from the gun, Leamington C&AC’s Kelly Edwards again found herself at the forefront of the ladies’ race.

She shared the lead with Knowle Runners’ Jane Evans through to the 6k mark before feeling the effects of the previous week’s winning run at the Kenilworth Half Marathon.

Edwards said: “I felt my calves tightening up and despite Jane encouraging me I had to let her go.”

With a kilometre to go she was also passed by Lucie Tait-Harris from Telford but she hung on to finish third lady and 29th overall in a nine-second personal best of 37min 1sec.

“I am pleased with my time but disappointed with the result,” she added. “Perhaps I’ll come back next year without a half-marathon in my legs.”

Evans won in 36:42, with Harris second in 36:55.

Having a strong run behind Edwards was clubmate Natalie Bhangal who recorded a PB of 38:32 for sixth lady and 49th overall.

Megan Rothman was delighted to finish four places and four seconds behind Bhangal, also with a new PB, to help the ladies to the team prize.

After a troublesome period with injury and minimal training, Monica Williamson easily won the W55 category in a superb 40:36.

Kenilworth Runners’ Laura Pettifer ran well to finish fifth LV35 in 40:31, with team-mate Kelly Burnett-Nicoll running a new PB of 41:56.

For the men, Spa Striders’ Chris Liddle finished 18th overall in 34:46, while clubmate Luke Bennett went sub-40 for the first time, clocking 39:27.

Kenilworth Runners’ Harry Purewell ran a new PB of 38:23 for 44th and was closely followed by Ryan Baker (47th in 38:30), with Peter Bryan 66th in 39:22.

Leamington C&AC’s Paul Rutter ran a well-judged race to finish 68th and fourth M55 in a PB of 39:26.

He was followed home by Marc Curtis who continued a long series of sub-40 runs, recording 39:41 for 78th place.

Ray Charlton was the fifth C&AC athlete to claim a new PB, clocking 40:36.

Over at Draycote Water, Spa Striders’ Neil Smith recording a convincing win in the 20-mile race, coming in five minutes clear of his nearest challenger in 1:58:35.

Kenilworth Runners’ Ian Baynes was 21st in 2:21:42.

In the ten-mile race, Striders’ Mike Pugh finished tenth in 68:42, while Clare Hinton was second lady in 74:10 despite using it as a training run.

Kenilworth Runners’ Joe Chick clocked 63:47 for eighth place and Sam Moffatt was second LV55 in 1:33:15, while clubmate Alex Watters clocked 63:25 in the 10k race.