Striders’ Venables calls on her ultra background to Nearly win at Naunton

Spa Striders line up ahead of the Naunton Nearly 19.
Spa Striders line up ahead of the Naunton Nearly 19.

Ultra specialist Mel Venables found conditions to her liking at the Naunton Nearly 19 off-road race on Sunday, finishing second lady.

A slightly longer course than usual which started in the village of Guiting Power rather than Naunton meant a slow start over stiles and through gates before athletes could get into their running on a tough course of close to 19 miles.

Venables led home the 13 Striders, completing the race in 2hr 37min 38sec.

She was followed by Paul Edwards (2:42:22) who along with Chris McKeown (3:06:10) took a wrong turn a few miles from the finish to sacrifice second and third spots, respectively.

Anne Hurrell (2:48:11), Bethan Gwynn (2:51:15), Chris McKeown (3:06:10) and Hartwig Busch (3:07:10) all ran strongly, while Claire Murphy, Charlotte Everard and Rosie Banks (3:17:01) were a happy trio as they crossed the line together. For Murphy it was her longest run since the birth of her son in August, while Banks was running further than a half-marathon for the first time and Everard was making a welcome return from injury.

They were closely followed by Ruth Tennant and Fiona Edwards (3:21:02), Dan Stannard (3:21:23) and Pete Schofield (3:22:45).

Four Kenilworth Runners also took part, with Andy Snow (3:04:09) coming in just two seconds ahead of Colin Bailey.

Neil Smith clocked 3:06:54, with Mike Scandrett finishing in 3:09:28.

The Telford 10k is known to be a fast course and the rescheduled event did not disappoint with local runners posting a host of personal bests.

Spa Striders’ Adam Notley (36:41) clocked a new PB to finish 121st, with Steven Taylor (38:36) and Simon Parsons (38:39) both dipping below 40 minutes, Parsons with a PB by 25 seconds.

Helene Wright (46:35) continued her run of good form by knocking a minute off her best time, while Jude Baum (47:03) celebrated a new PB by 29 seconds and LV60 victory.

Claudine Piper (47:12) continued her recent run of PBs, while Sandra Stokes (50:51) was second in the LV55 category and Chris Jones (54:20) started on the long road back from injury.

Striders’ ladies finished third team.

Kenilworth Runners’ Oliver Flippance was also in personal best form,clocking 39:41 to finish 181st.

There were also PBs for Kenilworth clubmates David Oxtoby, who finished 235th in 42:42 and Michelle Oxtoby, who was 11th LV40 in 49:03.

The race was won by Charlie Hulson of Sale Harriers in 29:12.

Kenilworth Runners’ Stef Lunn and Richard Broadbent took part in the Dirtrun Winter Series Race 2 at Dudmaston National Trust on Sunday.

The rescheduled event took place on a cold and frosty morning in the woodland of the Dudmaston estate, rather than in the National Trust grounds like some other Dirtrun events.

Broadbent was fourth in 48:58 (2nd MV40), with Lunn 22nd in 55:21 (3rd lady) to place them well up in the overall series.