Most intriguing battles at front of field for several years
Ideal road running conditions with a cool sunny morning but almost no wind greeted the 235 runners in the Rugby 10 mile last Sunday (October 7).
This helped generate one of the most intriguing battles for several years at the front of the field.
Over the first two miles Ben Jones of Kenilworth was making the pace with Callum Hanlon of Leamington on his shoulder whilst Alistair McDonnell of R&N was close behind in third place and defending champion Paul Andrew was in 6th place.
The two leading ladies Eleanor Fowler of Nuneaton and Sarah Davis of R&N were also locked together at the two-mile point.
By the time they reached the six-mile mark and the climb up the famed Cart Hill into Barby, Jones had slipped back to fourth place and McDonnell was forcing the pace at the front with Hanlon on his shoulder.
Scott Hazel of Massey Ferguson had also moved through into third place.
The hill proved decisive in the ladies’ race as Fowler opened up a gap on Davis which she maintained through to the finish.
In the closing miles of the race McDonnell battled to shake off Hanlon’s attention but he was still in close attendance as they reached the final mile and the testing climb from Kilsby back to the finish in Barby.
Hanlon made his move as they came off the final hill and held on to win in 53-49 and take the Rugby Advertiser trophy. McDonnell had still run a fine race on a tough course and finished just five seconds behind in a time of 53-54.
Hazell consolidated his 3rd place and finished in a time of 55-40. Fowler won the ladies’ race in a time of 64-58 to finish 46th overall in the race.
Davis was 2nd lady (65-21) in 50th place overall as she continued her preparations for the Berlin Marathon at the end of the month. The third lady was last year’s winner, Laura Pettifer of Kenilworth in a time of 67-12.
Leamington turned out in force to take the men’s team race from Kenilworth in their quest for the overall Warwickshire Road Race League title.
Rugby & Northampton claimed the women’s team thanks to Davis, Sally Baker (6th) and Angela Copson (17th) who all also claimed individual prizes in their age groups.
The race was also the Rugby & Northampton Club Championship and there were 19 competitors.
McDonnel won the men’s race from holder Jon Taylor with John Saw in 3rd place whilst the ladies title went to Davis with Baker and Copson in 2nd and 3rd places.
The race also marked the final event as organiser for Mary Akiens after seven years of stalwart efforts.
The club’s thanks go to her and everybody who assisted with marshalling to make it another successful promotion for the club.
Grateful thanks also go to excellent hosts Barby Cricket Club, who provided the Race Headquarters, car parking and refreshments.
R&N results: 2 Alistair McDonnell 53:54, 32 Jon Taylor 1:02:33, 47 John Saw 1:05:04, 48 James Wormall 1:05:06, 50 Sarah Davis 1:05:21, 52 Richard Stevens 1:05:37, 57 Richard Thomas 1:06:27, 73 Sally Baker 1:08:47, 105 Lawrence Scott 1:13:04,
113 Bryn Littlefair 1:14:23, 115 Andrew Wylie 1:14:38, 129 Angela Copson 1:17:16, 131 Michael Howell 1:17:25, 132 Helen Jones 1:17:27, 134 Alison Cobb 1:17:34, 162 Jodie Ingle 1:21:53, 190 Minerva Chesser 1:26:03, 193 Lisa Phillips 1:26:50, 229 Nathan Swift 1:43:43.