The start of the Spa Striders Summer Series saw the club well represented at the Leamington Spa Half Marathon and they were rewarded with three top-ten finishers.
Although still pretty warm despite the 8.30 am start, the weather was much kinder than last year’s inaugural race which saw athletes struggling in baking-hot conditions.
Ian Allen and Neil Smith were both part of an early seven-man breakaway and despite neither being able to stay the pace with Adam Holland (73:58) and Valter Fonseca (74:42), Smith hung on for third place and a personal best time of 75:10.
The in-form Allen clocked 76:50 for sixth, with clubmate Chris Liddle ninth in 79:41.
Kenilworth Runners were led home by Connor Carson who finished seventh in 78:04.
Katie Deards overhauled long-time leader Natalie Bhangal (Leamington C&AC) in the last mile to win the ladies’ race in 86:12.
Bhangal finished 23 seconds back, with her C&AC clubmate Hannah Thorne third in 87:31.
Kenilworth Runners’ Laura Pettifer was fifth female and first FV35 in 1:31:41, with Spa Striders’ Laura Peake sixth lady in 1:33:48.
There were also PBs for Striders’ Michelle Hutton (1;34:06), Jame Cummings (1:53:08) and Louise Parry (2:12:12).
Selected others (Spa Striders unless stated): 25, Adam Notley (85:31); 30, Gavin Fowler (Leamington C&AC, 86:01); 38, Steve Bradley (Kenilworth Runners, 87:04); 53, John-Paul Hunt (88:50); 66, Paul Okey (Leamington C&AC, 89:55); 68, Ryan Baker (Kenilworth Runners, 89:56).
Spa Striders were out in force the previous Thursday evening at the sociable Sphinx 1-mile relays in Coventry, with the men taking home the team prize and the ladies finishing runners-up.
Further afield, Mel Venables ran the North Downs Way Marathon, finishing in an impressive 4:15 to take first lady and eighth overall.
Lucy Walton raced in the Evesham 10k, finishing in 50:09 for a shiny new PB.
Just hours after completing the Leamington Spa Half Marathon in 1:32:58, Kenilworth Runners’ Ian Baynes finished 13th in the Seven at Severn, a 7k race around Draycote Water which took place at 7pm.
The annual race attracted a large field of 370 runners, with Baynes clocking a personal best of 27:47.
Runners’ team-mates Tom and Pauline Dable finished in 39:02 and 42:46, respectively, with Pauline the leading FV70.
Three Spa Striders also took part, with Chloe Kinton 31st in 30:43, Michael Clarke 50th in 33:00 and Julie Heaton 172nd in 42:01.
The race was won by Bedford Harriers’ Mark Raddan in 25:32, with Louise Balloch (Daventry Road Runners) the leading female in 28:13.
Meanwhile, Leamington C&AC’s Ben Hawkes has been selected to represent Great Britain at the European Under-20 Championships in Sweden from July 18-21.
The C&AC record holder for 400m will be taking part in the 4 x 400m relay.