Stag Trophy – Latest Results – 2020/21

Race Three:

Well. In the dim and distant past, it may be the case that we had over 30 runners doing the Stag on a Wednesday night, but if it’s happened before it’s only been once or twice. I hope most people agree that it makes for a great race when there’s so many people there. Through the middle part of the race we had 18 people finish in 44 seconds, which takes a bit of management, so thanks to Pete, Richard, Roger and James for making themselves available on the night and to Dave for still doing the handicaps from home.

Onto the race, and we had three new people in Sid Mead, Paddy Ashton and Bob Dickinson all making their debut, plus a number of others doing just their second race, plus Tim Inchley doing his first Stag since October 2010! This all meant it felt like we had lots of new people, which is fantastic.

Although it was a bit chilly with the mercury hovering around five degrees, there was minimal wind and so actually made for excellent conditions for fast times. Eighteen people ended up beating their handicap times and six people achieved PB’s in addition to the three making their debut. On top of all that, we had a new age-group record with Rob Elmore having turned forty since the last race in December and taking Pete Watkins’ 29 year-old record to reduce it down to 13:01.

Fresh from her win in the Langmay Trophy on Sunday, Sadie Towell cruised around the course to win on the night by a minute. Clearly she wasn’t pushed hard so must still have a fair bit in the the tank. Leading the main pack home was Scott Isaacs, who is returning to some good form after a plenty of niggly injuries in the last year. Completing the top three was the first of our debutants, in Sid Mead who has been running very regularly this year and now clearly has his sights set on his older brother, as he was only 15 seconds slower this month!

With four races still to complete, anyone who has done a race could still win the title, but the current standings, early in the series is that Ruth Mitchell (who also ran a new PB last night) leads the way by one point from Andy Inchley, with Alison Bell and Jordan in third and fourth respectively.

You can find the full results for this race, plus the overall standings at the bottom of the page. The table of PB’s has also been updated if you want to see where your own best time puts you.

Race Two:

Another great turn-out for the December Stag after the postponed November race. Twenty-three runners arrived in the park to make a very competitive race. Last month I made a big deal out of Jordan breaking a course record for the Stag that stretched back to 1994. I went into a bit of history and generally gave him lots of kudos.

It’s difficult to take that much further following last night’s race. He started last, finished first and obliterated his own stunning record by 26 seconds! Everyone who ran the race saw him cruise past and thought, “Is he actually trying?”. Anyway, I can’t think of any more to say about Jordan so congratulations. Is there more speed there?

To highlight what the event is all about, next home was Alison Bell, who was one of the first starters and held off everyone except Jordan to earn 24 points, and then third was Gary Stratford who started in the middle of the field. The point is that anyone can win the Stag, whatever your pace.

The only other PB on the night was achieved by young Josh Harrison who came home in a cluster of people to finish 7th. We also had two debutants in the shape of Rachel Fawcett and Ceana Mackenzie-Brodie. Ceana joins our increasing Scottish squad looking to take us down from the inside( 😉 ), while Rachel (who is used to 100K races 4K ones) moved into 7th place on the women’s all-time list.

After two races, Jordan leads the way with Andy, Josh and Ruth Mitchell all within striking distance, but at this stage of the season it’s all about building a base as anything can happen yet.

The next race will be Wednesday 6th January (all being well). At some point in the season we’ll have to squeeze in the missing November race, but we’ll keep you posted on that.


Race One:

Back in the mists of club history in the late eighties and early nineties, there was a young man who joined the club. He was extremely slim with long elastic legs (Not as long as Pete Mack’s, but still) that he was able to getting turning at a rate of knots. Throughout his junior years – when there wasn’t really a junior section – he trained mostly on his own, on a Wednesday with the adults and with a small group around Appenine Way on a Tuesday. He became a regular winner of the Chiltern League and was often high up the field in major championships. His name was Mike Shevyn.

Unfortunately, in his late teens, Mike had to leave Leighton for Birmingham and joined Birchfield Harriers. Whilst this was a loss to the club, Mike went on to record some fantastic results over the years, including getting an England vest once (I think) and we kept in touch to this day. He occasionally came back to Leighton in the early years and on one such occasion in April 1994 ran the Stag as a guest. He recorded a fantastic time of 12:14 for the 4K course, which has stood as the course record for 26 years, until now……

On an evening that was just about ideal for running with minimal wind and a mild night, we had a very strong turn-out of 25 for the first Stag of the new season. There were a few notes to make: We had three debutants; two people who ran a marathon on Sunday; a couple of extra volunteers lighting the alleyway and a good spread of predicted times across the field. Some of these factors are really helpful when you’re trying to run fast, particularly having a target to aim for and being able to see your feet!

Given the opportunity, I usually warn a debutant at the Stag that the handicapping is very difficult so there’s a strong possibility that you’ll either win or come last in your first race. It settles down after that, but it is regular occurrence so don’t be surprised either way. This race was no exception, with Rachel Wells, a new member and Josh Harrison, an upcoming junior both smashing their handicaps by a minute or more to come home first and second and pick up the valuable top scoring points. Congratulations to them and good luck next month.

It was also a great night if your name is Ruth, with both of ours recording new PB’s. Having taken 45 seconds off last month, Ruth Eastman took another 25 off this month, which is crazy in a race that is so short and sharp and her 16:05 puts her in joint 10th all-time for the club’s women. Ruth Mitchell meanwhile, fresh from a cold and wet marathon round Caldecotte Lake on Sunday thought she’d grab a new best time too with 16:18! Remarkable from both.

Now the idea of the Stag is that Dave tries to get us all to finish close together. By definition therefore, all things being equal, most of the overtaking should be done in the last few hundred metres. It therefore came as something of a surprise to most of us when Jordan Clay flew past some people on the second lap and in my case with a kilometre to go, looking like he was jogging!

Jordan then proceeded to sprint off into the distance and come home 3rd on the night in a stunning new course record of 12:13 for the 4K/2.48mi course which is 3:05mpk/4:55mpm if you want to know the pace. Even Mike Shevyn, as good as he was did his in April when we run in the light. Without wishing to put words into his mouth, I imagine that Jordan was helped by having someone start just behind him, which is rare when you’re running that fast.

Rob Elmore also ran the Stag last night, started 10 seconds behind Jordan due to their runs in September and produced an outstanding run to finish in 12:40, break his own V35 record which he set last month, which would be quick enough for fifth on the all-time list (if he wasn’t already 3rd!) and probably in the top ten times ever! This however, was only good enough for 8th, and these two guys were over a minute quicker than anyone else on the night.

As ever, the most pleasing thing about the Stag was the numbers there, as the whole idea of the series is that it tries to create a level playing field for anyone to win. Next month we’ll get back to focusing on the points, however, a new course record for the first time in a generation, 182 Stag races and probably around 3000 performances is not something we should let pass without acknowledgment and congratulations.

Brilliant running by lots of people last night, but especially Jordan.

2020/21 Season Races:

Overall standings for the 2020/21 Season