Performances of Weeks 28 & 29 – 21 March to 4 April 2011

13 Apr
1 MICHAEL JOHNSON – Mike was the second Brit to finish in 5th place in the Wilmslow Half-marathon, which doubled as the English championship race. He finished just one second behind Kenyan Simon Tonui in a time of 66mins exactly, while  the following weekend clocked the unofficial fastest time in the Avon clubs 4 x 5M relay from Bitton to Bath and back. Feeling in need of a hard morning’s workout, he set the pace on the opening leg ahead of our nominated first stage runner Steve McGuigan and then had just 45 seconds recovery before taking over from Steve and running his official leg back to the start at Bitton.that he finished with a healthy lead.
2= STEVE FRANCIS and CHRIS DODD – Both Steve and Chris yet again slashed their previous bests in the latest Bridge Inn 5K race. Steve had set himself the target of breaking the 15 minute barrier for the first time and with his parents in attendance set off as if his life depended on it. Never letting up, and with an eye on his watch he made it with just four seconds to spare in 14:56, thus carving another 12 seconds off his previous month’s PB and some one and a half minutes off the time he had set at the start of the season. Chris for his part back in third place, took an almost identical chunk off his previous best, 13 seconds to be precise, as he stopped the watch at 15:26 to underline the extra stamina he has gained this winter and which he looks set to exploit on the track this summer.
3= TOM MERSON and STEVE McGUIGAN – Ironman Tom has been at it again, this time smashing the course record in the Exe to Axe 20M fell race. which involved some 4,000ft of climbing between Exmouth and Seaton. He won by more than a quarter of an hour in 2:32:17. He even caught the organisers napping as they could not keep up with the Exmouth Express who reached the second drink station at Sidmouth before they had got there to set up! Steve’s latest efforts may not be so dramatic, but no less satisfying as he followed up a new Bridge Inn 5K PB of 15:47 with a sub 26 minute 5M on the opening stage of the Avon 4 x 5M relay.
1 CHARLIE MACLEAN – Charlie underlined the talent that won him the English Schools senior boy’s steeplechase title last summer by tracking Steve Francis all the way in the Bridge Inn 5K to finish runner-up in the impressive time for a junior of 15:07, which duly clinched his place in the club’s top team for the National 12-stage road relay championship.
2 HOBIE MARTIN – Young Hobie capped his outstanding cross-country season by finishing a close-up 7th for the England Intermediate boys team in the Home Countries Schools international at Antrim in Ireland. 
3= NATHAN YOUNG and MATT DEACON – Nathan continued his assault on the local Somerset road race scene with victory in the Hemington 10K in 34:24, which followed a narrow defeat – just two seconds – by Bitton’s Richard Farley in the annual Butleigh multi-terrain 7.5M. For his part Matt Deacon made what seemed impossible possible by answering a team manager’s call at 8.35am – or should I say his mother did as he was still fast asleep – and volunteering to run in the Avon 4 x 5M relay that just happened to start at 9.30am. Not only did it enable us to finish a team, but Matt’s sub-29 minute effort was faster than he had done for the distance before.
1 ALEC WOODS – Alec was second vet in 5th place overall in the gruelling Cleevewold multi-terrain 14M race from  Winchcombe.He completed the testing course in 1:37:52, which was under seven minutes adrift of National Masters cross-country champion and mountain running international Martin Cox, who won in 1:31:08.
2 HEATH BAMPTON – Heath has twice in recent weeks gone close to breaking the 17 minute barrier for 5K, clocking 17:09 and 17:13 in successive weeks in Swindon’s latest two 5K Parkruns.
3 JON GOODLAND – Like young Matt Deacon, Jonathan also came to the rescue of our makeshift team in the Avon clubs 4 x 5M road relay. He did at least volunteer his services the night before, but was under the illusion that the race started at 11am rather than 9.30am, and ended up making a dash by car to Bath before racing down the towpath to meet our incoming third runner, who just happened to be Matt! Unfortunately the story did not have the fairytale ending it surely deserved, for though he took over with a reasonable lead he was caught in the closing stages of the final 5M stage, which was hardly surprising mind you given his effort in getting to the start and the small matter that at 54 he was giving years away to his pursuer from Westbury Harriers.       
1 REBEKAH RANDELL – Rebekah upset the formbook by beating many of her international rivals in the annual Home Countries cross-country match in Antrim. Representing a Midland Counties team she finished a creditable 5th, less than 40 seconds behind the winner Juliet Doyle and just one second down on South West champion Laura Parker who was in the official England team.
2 IMOGEN AINSWORTH – Imo scored a runaway victory in the latest Bridge Inn 5K. Back in her best form after her recent brush with a car door, she yet again improved her pb for the distance to this time just one frustrating second outside the 17 minute barrier. The sub 17 minute clocking is surely only just around the corner.
3 JENNY JAGGER – Jenny is already getting back to the form she was showing before her recent pregnancy and dipped under 18 minutes for the first time as she took an impressive third place in 17:54 behind Imo and Emma D’alton in the Bridge Inn 5K.
1 ELLIE WIMSHURST – Unlike Rebekah, Ellie was selected for the England U20 junior team for the Home Countries cross-country international, and though not in the winning England trio she was a close fourth scorer in 6th place, losing out only to two of the Scottish girls, and this despite her training being restricted of late due to a niggling foot injury.
1 ANNABEL GRANGER – Annabel created quite a stir by beating all the male opposition to win the Minchinhampton 10K outright. She overcame the tough course to win by nearly 100m in 37:30.
2 AMY CHALK – Amy warmed up for the National road relay by using the latest Swindon Parkrun 5K as a time-trial and was rewarded with a winning time of 17:35 as she crossed the line alongside the men’s winner.
3= SIAN DAVIES and ALI HURFORD – Sian and Ali both clocked season’s bests in the Bridge Inn 5K, Sian recording 19:18 and Ali breaking 20 mins for the first time as she crossed the line well pleased in 19:52.
Mike Down – 12th April 2011