Biggleswade AC athletes enjoyed a successful day on the streets of Peterborough in the Perkins Great Eastern Run.
Renowned as one of the flattest half marathons within easy reach, the race starts and finishes in the town centre before taking a tour around residential areas.
Jamie Hall - in only his second attempt at the distance - was among those to reap the benefits, and he crossed the line in a superb 18th, with a time of 1:14.06 indicating that Roger Wadeley’s club record 1:11.15 (set back in 1988) could soon be under threat.
Jamie said: “It was a perfect day for it, the sun was shining and the air was very still.
“It was all going quite well - it felt tough but not unbearable. I was just counting down the time until the next marker. That was until I managed to misread the mile 8 marker as a 9. Seeing the 9 marker come up again when I was expecting the 10 really set me back, I was really looking forward to only having 5k left to go!
“From this point onward it was a real struggle to keep going. Were it not for the locals who had come out in force to cheer the runners on, it would have been easy to just shuffle the last few miles.”
Next home was Marcus Davey, who had arrived on the start line hopeful of finding the kind of consistency that would reward him with a PB. Yet the outcome, after finishing 151st, was somewhat unusual. He said: “I set myself to run each mile of the race at 6min 20sec. For the first 10 miles I hit the goal with beautiful regularity and was feeling fine until the heart started going in to overdrive.
“As usual I picked up my legs for the final 100s, always looking to overtake someone in an attempt to find some glory on the line.
“I was gobsmacked - I exactly matched my PB from last year’s race!”
Elaine Livera was 14th female finisher, 231nd overall, and first BAC lady home in 1:27.57, and she was joined in the sub-90 minute club by John Stott, who subjected himself to a “self-beasting” on his way to 258th in a brilliant PB of 1:28.50.
The evergreen Charlie Arnold, competing in the over 60s age category, arrived aiming to repeat a performance earlier in the year when he broke the 100 minutes barrier. He said: “The support was magnificent from young and old alike and although I was very much in the zone, I could appreciate the cheering and, even better, the calling of my name which I had on the front of my vest.
Charlie’s 1:37.18 was also good enough for third spot in the over-60 rankings. Running alongside him in the early stages, Aaron Ball - in his BAC race debut - acquitted himself superbly and finished just six seconds back.
Rachel Stott joined husband John in the PB stakes with a 2:14.06, and she paid tribute to her clubmates for helping her overcome race day nerves. “Everything was going well and we were sticking to our pace ... until mile 10,
“It is great thanks to Vicky Berry who got me through the last 3 miles and more importantly through the last 400m, where I was seriously wanting to fall in a heap.”
In the MBNA Chester Marathon, Nick Haworth finished in an excellent 2:57.22, while Rob Morgan agonisingly missed out on breaking the three-hour barrier, but his 3:00.18 is still an outstanding achievement.
In the Wimpole Hoohaah races, Deb Bryant and Julie Balaam were in hilly and muddy 10 mile and half-marathon action respectively.
Deb was sixth in the V40 age group, and ninth lady overall, in the shorter race with a fine 1:21.06, while Julie overcame shoe-related adversity to take second in the V40 category and seventh place in the ladies standings with an excellent 1:44.32.
“The poor girl stepped out of her car and her trainer lace broke,” Deb said. “She managed to buy one off a stall but wouldn’t fit through so she tied it all the way around her trainer - very Blue Peter, but it lasted!”
The Three Counties cross-country league kicks off on Sunday in Wellingborough for the notoriously muddy Croyland Park race.
Great Eastern Run 2017 results : (gun position, name, chip time)
18, Jamie Hall, 1:14.06; 151, Marcus Davey, 1:23.58; 231, Elaine Livera, 1:27.57; 258, John Stott, 1:28.50; 541, Charlie Arnold, 1:37.18; 574, Aaron Ball, 1:37.24; 775, Andy Bruce, 1:40.31; 778, Hannah Broom, 1:42.25; 1552, Malcolm Steward, 1:54.00; 1555, Clark Skerratt, 1:56.32; 1722, Neil Harvey, 1:56.06; 1745, Richard Dilley, 1:56.19; 1759, Kathryn Juty, 1:57.37; 1916, Amy Stamp, 2:00.28; 2100, Stephen Atkins, 1:58.51; 2359, Nicky Double, 2:06.22; 2489, Joanne Drummond, 2:10.01; 2601, Maria Merridan, 2:12.12; 2603, Giles Hawthorne, 2:12.13; 2727, Vicky Berry, 2:14.06; 2728, Rachel Hallam-Stott, 2:14.06; 3796, Nicola Perrin, 2:38.26; 4100, Lorraine Emerson, 2:58.15.