Amy Clings On
It was a close run thing, but Amy Inchley just about hung on to claim her second Stag Trophy victory on Wednesday after a long winter season. She has been the favourite for quite a long time, but some really excellent performances towards the end of the season put her under pressure and very nearly snatched the title away.
Twenty people turned up for the April race despite the threat of high levels of pollution in the air and some cheeky advice from Chris Dimmock not turn up at all so that he could have the points. The lighter evening made for some tremendous racing but it was Nick Clay, fresh from his very strong run at Sandy who took the 25 points with a time of 15:04 that sets him up very well for the London marathon next week.
The problem with Nick winning was that he denied his latest protege, Charlie Mead, from getting the win he needed to catch Amy. As it turned out, he ran a fantastic race himself to get a PB by 20 seconds, finish second and beat big brother Billy's family record by 4 seconds. This put him on 109 points, but Amy had already registered 110 and was just looking to improve on her other scores. However, it was not Amy in next but another of our leading ladies.
Katie Haylock joined the club last Autumn having not really run for four years and together with husband Adam have thrown themselves into the club. The hard training has really paid off for her as in her four appearances she has won three and finished third in the fourth. Unfortunately for Katie, she was struck down last month with a bug, which meant she only ran four races, but improved her time by nearly 3 minutes, including a 48 second PB in this race. Those four scores earned her fourth overall for the season, but does emphasise that if you can you have to get the races in early.
Behind Katie on this occasion was Liz Miller who recorded her fastest time of the season too. There was some serious hunting going on now as the runners flew in. Having started last again, Jordan Clay was chasing Dan Webb who was chasing Amy for fifth place and they are currently all in fantastic form. As it turned out Amy just held off the two boys, but all three recorded excellent PB's. Dan's 15:25 just beat his old PB from last month, while Jordan earned his third PB of the season and joined a fairly exclusive club of sub-13:30 runners with 13:28.
Amy however, has now achieved five consecutive PB's this season and is up to sixth on the all-time women's list for the Stag having run 16:00 minutes this time. Her fifth place meant that her total was now 112 points for the season and she could not be caught.
There were some strong performances that followed Jordan in seventh, but really only two stories that need wrapping up on the individual front. Mark Haynes was Amy's main challenger going into the final race, but a combination of marathon weary legs and a heavy cold meant that his previous improvements couldn't be repeated and he had to settle for third place overall with 103 points. Meanwhile, having come back from Loughborough university for Easter Billy Mead was looking for a new PB and he did indeed achieve it, but little did he know that it was just one second slower than young Charlie on the night……….!
So to sum up the season. It's been significantly different to last year in that we have had six less people doing at least one race (34 to 40) but six more people doing at least five races (13 to 7). In fact , even in the two years prior to that we have only had 7 and 8 people running five races so clearly there is a lot more consistent running going on at the moment, which has to be a good thing. There has also been 21 people set their best ever times this year, admittedly a number of those are new to the club, but it sounds good!
So, you can all have five months off the Stag while the summer moves past us and we can gather again in Parson's Close in October where we will be back to complaining at Dave that our handicaps are harsh and we'll be lucky to make it around the course.
Full results will be on the Stag pages imminently.