Athletes from Nene Valley Harriers, Bushfield Joggers and Stamford Striders were delighted with their achievements in Sunday’s Hereward Relay, a 38.4-mile four stage race run from Cathedral Square across the fens to Ely.
What the course lacked in undulations was more than made up for by the many off-road sections, some of which turned into quagmires as the race progressed and the overnight frost thawed.
Nene Valley fielded a team of veteran ladies, but achieved a significant success coming home as the third ladies team, while Bushfield Joggers men finished a highly creditable fourth overall.
Local pride of place, however, went to Stamford Striders who took first place in the ladies event and third position in the men’s.
The ladies four of Yvonne Youngman, Leah Jennings, Katie Arnold and Maggie Skinner crossed the line first in a time of 4:29.30,and their men’s A team finished third behind Cambridge and Coleridge and Ryston Runners.
The in-form Nene Valley Harrier Nicky Morgan ran the 6.5 mile opening leg from Peterborough to Whittlesey making light of the icy conditions underfoot, handing over to Louise Blake in third position, but crucially, within touching distance of the front runners from Stamford and St Edmund Pacers
Blake and Yvonne Scarrott, who collected the prize for fastest veteran lady on her leg from March to Welney, ran well to keep Harriers in contention as Sophie Wilkinson began the anchor leg to Ely.
Wilkinson soon gained a place and held on to third position by just one second, holding off a late challenge from a St Edmund Pacers’ athlete.
Bushfield Joggers men finished just outside the medals in fourth place in a time of 3:58.28, but it has been many years since the Orton-based club have been able to be competitive at such a high level.
Bushfield finished exactly a minute behind third-placed Stamford. Brian Corley and Michael Daniels gave them a solid start, but when Phil Martin began the third leg in 15th position they appeared to be in with little chance of contesting the podium positions.
The ice had by now turned to mud, but this didn’t trouble the Bushfield man as he gained eight positions on his leg, covering the 11.30 mile stage in a speedy 1:06.48 l.
Fourth leg runner James Fisher moved his team up three more places to fourth, and was gaining on the Stamford runner ahead of him with each stride until he ran out of course.
The Yaxley men’s A team performed well finishing ninth, with Matt Launch fourth fastest over the 10.5- mile second stage from Whittlesey to March in 1:04.25.
ELY FESTIVE 5k
A rejuvenated Ruth Jones tasted victory in The Ely Festive 5k on Sunday.
The 35 year-old Nene Valley Harrier was expecting a flat course and was surprised when she was confronted by a climb from the river to the cathedral halfway through.
However, having tasted victory in a mountainous Welsh half-marathon recently Jones took it in her stride, crossing the line as first lady in a time of 19.47, with just five men finishing ahead of her.