And then there were three!
Following the February Stag Trophy race there was still a wide open competition in terms of potential victors, with 13 people still in the hunt for the coveted award that represents the person who has shown consistent improvement throughout the season. Last night's penultimate race put something of a different complexion on things.
Sixteen members made it down to Parson's Close ready to be sent on their way by Dave and Pete. Possibly the harshest start was given to Caroline Mann, who as a brand new potential member knew nothing of the race and so arrived at Tiddenfoot for a normal run at 7:28! She was driven down to the start, given very hurried instructions and told to go! She made it around all three laps so hopefully will be slightly more prepared in April.
The weather was just about perfect for running as it was cold but there was no wind so as soon as you got going you were warm, the pavements were dry and all the lighting was in good order. As usual the race unfolded with people trying different tactics – go hard and hold on or start steady and finish strong. Whichever way you looked at it, there was a lot of heavy breathing up the finishing straight.
At the start of the season Fiona was delighted when she got under 20 minutes for the first three races, having battled so long to get through the barrier, this was the night however when the nineteen minute mark was broken. It's amazing what a bit of training can do for someone and the results of her labours were 25 precious points towards her total. Following her home was Mark Haynes who is now getting back to fitness after his illness and looks much stronger again.
Year after year we bang on about how this event is perfect for the new runner as it is designed to suit someone who is getting better each month and beating the handicap each time. Well, this has been perfectly shown this year in that the only three people who can now win the trophy are all in their first full season of Stagging.
David Killick finished third on the night and has now improved by over a minute across the season with all but one of his races being a PB. The only question now is whether he can finish it off in April. There is no doubt he will be pushed all the way though. On the night James Bell just sneaked past Sam Dear as they scored 21 and 20 points respectively to remain the only people who can now pip David to the title. Sam has PB'd in all of the four races he has done so far this season whilst James has had three so both are certainly meeting the improvement criteria.
The reality is though that David needs to finish outside the top six in April, whilst at the same time Sam must also be in the top two and James has to win. This may sound unlikely but such things have happened before. Should either Sam or James slip up then there are six other people who can yet get into the top three with a good performance. They are Andy, Warren, Liz Peters, Mandy, Fiona & Jordan so there is still a lot to race for.
Traditionally April sees the fastest times of the year as the clocks have sprung forward and we are running in the light so please make the most of the rare opportunity and make sure that David doesn't have it all his own way in the final race. It will take place on April Fools Day so you can read into that whatever you like, but please do come down and make it interesting.
Full results, history and PB listings can all be found via the Stag Trophy page.