ROAD RUNNING: Alistair McDonnell retains Tony Hetherington Memorial Trophy
Rugby 6 mile road race
PICTURES BY BRYAN ACFORD
Rugby & Northampton AC hosted the second race in the East Midlands Grand Prix series when 357 runners completed the 6 mile road race in Rugby.
Last year’s winner Alistair Smith of Coventry Godiva Harriers returned to take victory once again with a time of 31:51 with his team mate Harvey Speed in second place on 32:17.
The first R&N athlete Alistair McDonnell also repeated his third place from last year in 32:30 to retain the Tony Hetherington memorial trophy as the leading runner from the club.
Godiva had fourth placed Scott Hudspith with 32:58 and along with Namir Batavia (11th in 34:40) they clinched victory in the Senior Men’s team race.
R&N packed well to finish second with Daniel Mould equalling his best ever placing in an EMGP race in 6th spot on exactly 34 mins while Dave Ball made the top ten for the first time in 34:37 for 9th place.
Mike Andrews closed out the team with his second victory in the M45 competition (13th in 34:46).
Sam Blackshaw and Daniel Cook finished 30th and 34th respectively with 36:17 and 36:49 and joining Andrews in the veteran team, which finished second, were Jonathan Taylor ( 36th in 36:54), Andrew Jacks ( 39th in 37:03) and Nick Gower ( 41st in 37:10 ).
Kettering Town Harriers repeated last year’s team victory.
The ladies’ race saw a convincing win for the 2016 EMGP series champion Kelly Barnett of Wellingborough & District when she recorded 38:58. Surprisingly this was only her second ever victory in the history of the Grand Prix.
Wootton Road Runners Victoria Aycliff was next over the line on 40:32, but it gave her first place in the F35 category and just nine seconds adrift was the F40 winner Helen Talbot of Nuneaton.
Zoe Shepherd led home Rugby & Northampton for the first time in 15th spot on 43:48 and finished 4th in the F35 section. She had back up from two other veteran athletes with Alison Cobb (17th and 2nd F50) on 44:45 and Caroline Carroll with 46:08 (22nd and 3rd F40 ). The trio claimed top spot in the veteran team race and third in the Senior Women’s event behind winners Human Energy and Daventry Road Runners.
The Senior men from R&N took victory in the first race of the East Midlands Grand Prix road race series on Friday, May 17, at Blisworth over 5 miles.
U20 athlete Haydn Arnall became the sixth man from the club to win a race in this competition when he recorded a time of 26:22 for a clear victory over team mate Mark Hill ( 26:47 ) who also achieved his highest ever placing.
Alistair McDonnell had won the Milton Keynes race at the end of the 2018 series and on this occasion had to settle for 4th place with 27:45 and just three seconds adrift was the first M40 runner Stephen Marks in 5th spot.
Completing the top ten was Daniel Mould in 7th position on 27:51 for a winning start for the R&N squad in their defence of the title.
Second place in the M40 category was Daniel Williams in 28:22 for 13th overall with Dave Ball nine seconds and one place further back. Mike Andrews took victory in the M45 competition for 18th place with 28:42 and was followed by Daniel Cook ( 30th in 29:26 ).
Closing out the four man veteran team was Jonathan Taylor ( M40 14th ) on 30:34 to clinch the team race from the overall title holders from 2018 Kettering Town Harriers.
Adam Bebbington made it a 1-2 for R&N in the Junior race when he recorded 32:13.
The ladies were led home by Amy Sarkies who helped the Senior team to 3rd place on the night and the Veteran team to 2nd.
Sarkies finished 2nd overall for the fourth time in an EMGP race, but was first F40 in 31:49. She had back up from the veteran pair of Zoe Shepherd ( 21st and F35 6th ) in 35:41 and Alison Cobb who claimed top spot in the F50 section in 36:40 for 32nd overall.
Helen Jones was third in the same age group with 39:07.