Ongoing work at the ‘grassy knoll’ obliged marshal Paul to act as if on ‘point duty’ for the halfway position of the Winter Handicap, although this did not stop one runner trying to circumnavigate the fenced off area – well, it was a Claremont event after all!
Despite the low temperature, the still conditions offset any excessive chilling, and the 42 runners set off in good heart.
Saiful Sazalli underlined his continuing improvement to carry off the Cup with a decisive win. Saiful was followed in by Elizabeth Stoddart, Alan Hansell & Paul Hughes, again all recording good times against the handicapper’s prediction.
However, Dave Manners once again demonstrated his expertise in the dark arts of handicapping by bringing home most of the field in a spread of only a little over two minutes.
Luke Bryant recorded an excellent time of 23:07, well clear of the rest of the field, headed by Jeremy Smith (24:11) and guest Paul Wilkinson (24:19).
Megan Murdoch (27:11) came in as the fastest lady, followed by Sarah Bowen (27:57), and then, in quick succession, Heather Steel (28:26) and Nina Jensen (28:30).
Ken McCormick became the new holder of the Shield for the best Aggregate Points Score (last 4 handicaps), demonstrating that with persistence and consistent effort, it is possible for any club member to climb to the top of the chart. Gordon Macfadyen (2nd) and Dean O’Brien & Mark Horner (joint 3rd) are now just behind Kenny, posing the prospect of an intriguing tussle for next round of the competition on the Town Moor in three months time.
Once again the Café de Vie was full to bursting, with Kim and his staff providing a very welcome warm meal for the hungry runners.
A big thank you is due to all the volunteer officials & marshals who once again enabled the event to progress without any major hiccups. It is very gratifying to see club members who are temporarily sidelined from running being prepared to help out.
Thanks also to Dave Manners for taking the photos.