On a horrible night for running with a strong wind blowing down the Tyne Valley, 32 foolhardy souls braved the elements to compete in this year’s winter handicap. They had to endure the first 2 miles into the wind and then, when the wind was at their backs, it started to rain.
Sarah Bowen, showing that she has made a good recovery from her injury problems, made a mockery of the conditions and her handicap to storm home fully 2 minutes ahead of the field. (Note: the novice handicapper will learn from this!). The fastly improving Leanne Salem led the rest of the field ahead of guest Chris Wann.
Fastest on the night was Luke Jones in 24:02, followed by Jonathan Gilroy in 24:28 and Paul Robinson with 25:30. Fastest lady was Heather Steel in 28:12 followed by the two Sarahs – Sarah Bowen in 28:57 and Sarah Kerr in 29:59.
The aggregate points shield has been replaced by a knockout cup competition. The first ever Winter Cup Final was contested between Janet Palmer, Jonathan Gilroy, Sarah Kerr and Dave Kear based on performances in the previous 3 handicaps. It produced a close finish with Jonathan overtaking Sarah in the final stretch by the Copthorne to claim the trophy.
The full results and the qualifiers for the next rounds of the cup competitions cabn be found here.