Love was all around at Stamford on Sunday for the silver anniversary of the St Valentines 30k.
With course record holder and five-times race winner Aaron Scott honeymooning in Thailand, Helpston Harriers duo Michael Channing-Phillips and Josh Lunn took centre stage, along with Folksworth 15 winner David Hudson.
The Helpston pair crossed the finish line hand in hand for second and third positions in a speedy 1:46.06, and were awarded the highly coveted prize for the fastest Valentines couple.
The unlikely ‘love birds’ were feeling pleased with themselves for getting their Valentines entry ruse past the race organisers, and the Stamford Striders officials entered into the spirit and presented the slightly bashful pair with the prize in front of their bemused partners, amused friends and confused onlookers.
Dave Hudson from BRJ Huntingdon won the race comfortably in a time of 1:44.36 but sadly finished in pain, heading home via the casualty department where a suspected stress fracture was diagnosed.
Paying tribute to the post-race care he received, Hudson said: “It was a painful last part of the race. Thanks for everyone’s support and also those at the end of the race, especially the first aider, physio and race director Mark Alderson.”
Lunn’s father Paul Lunn came eighth in 1:51.43 running for Helpston Harriers, who won the team prize.
Michael Moore, who was recovering from injury, was their fourth scorer in 65th position with a modest time by his standards of 2:10.25.
Peterborough AC were well represented by Simon Fell who came in 13th in 1:55.39 and Kirk Brawn who was three places further back with a 1:56.57 clocking. James Sadlier crossed the line in 2:09.03 for 59th position.
Mark Popple was the first Stamford Strider home, finishing 18th in 1:58.52. Werrington Jogger Jeff Lucas ran 2:00.16 for 24th position.
Nene Valley pair Andy Todd and Mike Chapman finished 74th and 75th, with Todd in 2:12.18 winning their sprint race to the finish by one second.
Evergreen Eye runner Terry Fone knocked a huge 19 minutes off the Over 75 course record with a 2:49.16 clocking.
Second claim Nene Valley ace Jordan Foster carried on where she left off at the Folksworth 15 by comfortably winning the ladies race in 2:03.38.
Foster’s course knowledge paid dividends as she dropped runner-up Natalie Burns of Lincoln Wellington mid-race at one of the many steep ascents on the South Lincolnshire circuit.
Reflecting on her win Foster said: “I can’t lie and say I’m not a teeny bit disappointed to not dip under two hours, but it was a very tough course.
“I forgot quite how many hills there were, so overall I’m really happy. It was also a huge course PB for me, and I even managed to finish first female overall, so job done! Thank you to Stamford Striders for another excellent event, I’ll be back next year!”
Roslyn Loutit of Yaxley Runners had a tremendous race, winning the ladies Over 55 prize in 2:28.40.