For her last race of 2012, Leamington C&AC’s Sue Harrison chose the 27th annual running of the Sneyd Striders 10 mile road race held near Walsall.
The race was of extra importance as this year the Midland Masters Athletic Club held their annual ten-mile championship within the race.
A cold, blustery Sunday morning awaited the 500 starters as they lined up for a fairly flat two laps of a five-mile circuit.
Harrison went through a quick first mile in 5min 43sec and found herself 30 metres behind Great Britain triathlete Jodie Stimpson, with Midlands Masters rival Sarah Harris (Long Eaton AC) trailing the C&AC athlete by 20 metres.
Maintaining a strong pace, Harrison went through five miles in 28:51 but found herself a minute down on Stimpson.
The wind picked up on the second lap with one long section directly into the teeth of it and Harrison picked out mile eight as the toughest.
“One gust almost stopped me in my tracks,” she said.
“At 6:09, it was my only mile outside six minutes.”
Continuing to chase, she was unable to close the gap on Stimpson, who had narrowly missed out on a spot at London 2012.
Stimpson finally crossed the line in 57:16 with Harrison second in 58:15 - the second and third-fastest times by women in the race’s 27-year history.
The 41-year-old’s 29:26 for the closing five miles put her 23rd overall in a field of 478 and a clear winner of the Midland Masters Championships, with Harris fading to finish in 59:45.
And after an injury-ravaged year, Harrison said she finally feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“2012 has been a disappointing year with injury ruining the summer months.
“With the support of the Warwickshire Golf and Country Club, Warwick Sports and Mizuno, I have been able to begin my rebuilding programme.
“I must also mention my coach, Les Barnett, who has been a tower of strength for me.”
Kenilworth Runners’ Neil Smith clocked 1:12:07 to earn him 143rd position.
The men’s race was won by Leicester’s Gordon Lee in 52:47.