Atherfold moves from last to first

Nilesh Patel finished runner-up.
Nilesh Patel finished runner-up.
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Nene Valley Harriers’ Winter Handicap 5k League reached an exciting conclusion at Lynch Wood last week.

With five rounds of the six-race series completed, several runners were in contention for the overall series victory.

This made for an exciting race.

Paul Atherfold of Yaxley Runners came out on top after consistently out-foxing the handicapper by improving his time with each race. Indeed, Atherfold finished last in the first race of the series back in October with a time of 24:54.

His improvement was dramatic, and he ran the April race in a personal best (PB) of 20:43.

Atherfold’s clubmate Matthew Benton was joint runner-up in the series along with Nilesh Patel of Bushfield Joggers, while another Yaxley Runner, Barbara Johnson, was the first lady overall. The 63 year-old improved throughout the series running an impressive 23:39 in the final race.

Johnson is ranked in the top 100 female Over 60 veterans at every distance from 5k to the marathon, and is surely one of the best athletes ever to compete in Yaxley colours.

The fastest time in the race - 15:40 - was set by 17 year-old Nene Valley Harrier, Alex Hampson. This was also the quickest run of the series, and a PB for the highly rated youngster.

Jake Richardson, also from the host club, was second fastest on the night in a time of 17:19.

The fastest lady was Sarah Overington of Eye Community Runners who completed the course in a time of 20:32, just eight seconds down on the 20:24 she set in March. This proved to be the quickest female time of the series.

Nene Valley veteran Dave Neal claimed the prize for best age graded time of the series, coming home in 17:10.