Near-perfect conditions, a fast course and a tailwind in the closing stages all combined to produce a raft of personal bests at the Coventry Half Marathon last Sunday.
Kenilworth Runners’ Stuart Hopkins was the first local runner home in 17th position in a time of 1hr 16min 44sec, pipping Leamington C&AC’s Jake Watson by a second.
Fellow Leamington runner Eoin O’Flynn was 31st in 1:18:41, with Paul Okey (1:26:33) clocking his first sub 90-minute half to finish 170th and Natalie Bhangal close behind her clubmate in 1:27:18 to finish third senior female.
Twenty Spa Striders produced personal bests, with Paul Edwards (1:19:48) bagging his first sub-1:20 time to finish 43rd.
Chris McKeown (1:21:01), Andrew Graham (1:22:27), who had run a parkrun PB the previous day, Pete Soley (1:23:31), Dan Stannard (1:23:38) and Steve Taylor (1:28:46) also ran personal best times.
Andrew Bonjour and Greg Harris ran solid times of 1:34:04 and 1:39:02, respectively, and another glut of PBs were earned by Andrew Pope (1:38:38), Matt Leydon (1:39:58), Mark Whitehouse (1:40:26), Mike Cox (1:41:59) and Steve Pope (1:43:56).
The club’s female runners were rewarded for their winter training with Clare Hinton (1:28:16) taking nine minutes off her PB to finish first V35.
Fiona Edwards (1:31:08) raced alongside Susie Stannard (1:31:09) who took second V35, with Carolyn Wilkinson (1:32:52) and Sue Cox (1:36:04, 2nd V50) also producing solid runs.
Kenilworth’s Jim Richardson (68th in 1:21:48) produced a fine run to finish inside the top 100, but the club’s star performer was Sarah Rose who ran a new best of 1:23:53 - the second fastest half by a Kenilworth lady - to finish fifth lady and first VW40.
Rachel Siggers also ran well, finishing third LV35 in 1:31:15, while Louise Andrews was fifth LV40 in 1:33:09.
There were 4,210 finishers and the race was won by Peter Brookes of Holmfirth in 68:40.
Selected others (Kenilworth Runners unless stated, positions based on gun times but times shown are chip times): 98, Vassilis Andreoulakis (1:24:06 PB); 109, Neil Sheward (1:24:32); 115, Alex Atkinson (1:25:03); 131, Anthony Morgan (1:25:12 PB); 273, Rob James (1:30:13 PB); 361, Richard Zanetti (1:32:41 PB); 459, Dave Pettifer (1:35:04); 620, Rachel Miller (1:37:43); 552, David Johnson (1:36:21); 604, Andrew Johnson (Leamington C&AC, 1:39:01); 634, Steven Hessian (1:37:38); 653, Ian Baynes (1:37:57 PB); 657, Lorne Williams (1:38:01); 749, John Smillie (1:39:47); 766, Andrew Marsh (1:39:37); 874, Martin Belcher (1:42:00); 972, Tom Williams (1:42:56); 974, Fay Manders (1:42:50); 1,057, Shanika Samarasekera (1:44:42); 1,059, Tom Summerrell (Spa Striders, 1:44:48); 1,209, Karra Herrero; (1:44:51); 1,299, Tom Cosgrove (1:47:41); 1,300, Claire Goult (1:49:23); 1,349, Steve Lord (1:48:15); 1,446, Lucy Tugwell (Spa Striders, 1:50:29); 1,554, Anton Raath (1:50:19); 1,579, Lorraine Parsons (Spa Striders, 1:51:04, PB); 1,656, Rosie Scares (Spa Striders, 1:51:15, PB); 1,665, Sandra Stokes (Spa Striders, 1:52:45, PB); 1,695, Samantha Moffat (1:52:59 PB); 1,817, Elena Savelieva (Spa Striders, 1:51:22); 1,940, Kimberly Fryer (Spa Striders, 1:57:51, PB); 1,974, June Johnson (Leamington C&AC, 1:59:46); 2,007, Mandy Crust (1:56:30); 2,026, Alistair Kirkwood (1:57:52); 2,119, Julie Heaton (Spa Striders, 1:55:20); 2,148, Chris Hart (1:55:22); 2,303, Roz Cox (Spa Striders, 1:58:38); 2,641, Gary Perkins (Spa Striders, 2:04:02); 2,944, Michelle Hart (2:07:02); 3,204, Chris Coop (2:09:41); 3,325, Aiden Keher (2:16;24); 3,784, Kirsty Smith (2:30:14).
Meanwhile, at the Cambridge Half, a combination of hard training, perfect weather conditions and a new faster course helped two Striders run massive personal best times.
David Lithgow knocked nine minutes off his best time to finish in 1:54:06, while Caroline Whitehouse, having targeted the race as her spring goal, was delighted to finish in 1:31:10, a personal best by six minutes.
Kenilworth Runners’ Laura Pettifer smashed her PB at the Winter Series Manchester 10k, on Saturday 27th February finishing 3rd lady in a time of 41:18.
The race was won by Mark O’Brien (unattached) in 35:00and the first lady was Jenny Burrage in 40:12.
The racing weekend was kicked-off at the Belvoir Challenge, where two Striders enjoyed the off-road course, infamous for tea and cake stops! Chris Jones completed the event in 3:32:56 while Helen Forrest crossed the line in 4:09:12.