It’s Tough at the Top

Coming into the final Stag Trophy Race of the season there were five potential victors of the overall title for the season and four of the five were in great form having achieved PB’s in March.

Most of the cards, however, were in the hands of James Cusack who knew that finishing in any of the top six places would earn him the title, but there was no way that the others would lie down without a fight.

It wasn’t the warmest of April evenings with mercury just battling to get over 8° and a bit of a stiff breeze coming from the South West making both the alleyway and Grove Road a bit of a battle. Despite this, twenty-three people, plus a number of supporters turned up to be involved and the lighter evening makes quite a big difference to the route.

The race unfolded in the usual way, with a few people haring off and a few trying to be conservative to save themselves for the last lap but it soon became clear that the leading contenders were all having strong runs in their bid for the title. The issue for Lisa, Sam and the two Stuarts was that James was rapidly working through the field.

There were lots of other people having strong runs too, and so were complicating the issue – which is exactly how it should be – but it was making it harder for those chasing. Coming towards the end of the final lap and James overtook Caroline to find himself at the front of the field with little time for anyone to come back at him and he stormed through Parson’s Close to take victory on the night by a clear 12 secs, earn himself a 39 second PB and take the 2015/16 Stag Trophy title.

James’s challengers had certainly given their all too, with Lisa (3rd), Stuart R (4th) and Sam (8th) all getting their 5th PB’s of the year. Stuart Dimmock did not have a bad run by any means as he came in just about on handicap, but the others were on a mission!

In terms of the battle for silver and bronze it actually turned out that Lisa and Stuart Read tied for 2nd on 107 with Sam and Stuart D tied in 4th on 95.

On the night there were a whole host of other PB’s too with Katie Haylock finishing second on her birthday in 17:00, two years after her last PB. Husband Adam got under 14 minutes for the first time with 13:51 and the aforementioned Caroline Mann took 18 seconds off her previous best time too in 23:13.

Dominic Grimshaw managed to get out of his habit of running 16:14 but will be a fraction disappointed to miss the U13 record by 1 second in 15.59. He should have two more attempts at the start of next season to break the long standing record. Harry Bell also earned a PB by 22 seconds in his first outing since October.

So the Stag Trophy season has been a great one in many ways. 53 people did at least one race and 32 of them achieved PB’s. 15 did at least five races and so had a chance of winning. Going into the last run there were 5 people that could still win and 4 of those were in their first season with the club.

So to finish, thank you very much to Pete Watkins and particularly Dave Adams who give up a lot of time to organise us. Many congratulations to James for a tremendous effort this season and hopefully you’ve all enjoyed it enough to see you back in the park in October for the start of the next one.

Don’t forget to sign up to the annual dinner so that you can congratulate our top three over a shandy.

Full results for this season can be found here and an archive of the history is available via the Stag Trophy menu.