Stag Trophy – Latest Results – 2020/21

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