08 Oct

FELIX MCGRATH and JACK BANCROFT finally got the opportunity to underline  the recent form and progress they have shown in training during the lockdown in Sunday`s Rogue Runs promoted Shepperdine 5M road race, reports Mike Down.

Despite the odds being stacked against them, they defied  relentless rain and that curse of all runners fierce winds besides a hardly favourable early 8am start time to smash their previous personal bests for the distance.

In accordance with the sport`s current guidelines for distances of 5K and above the runners were set off at 10 second intervals, and as the fastest two in the field they started first, with Felix 10 seconds after Jack.

Jack could have waited for Felix, but made him work to close the gap over the first mile or so after which they duly shared the pace together till the closing stages when Jack, who had clearly saved something in the locker for when Felix caught him, pulled away from his clubmate in the closing stages to steal line honours in an impressive time for the conditions of 24:52, with Felix in his wake only losing 4 seconds of the 10 he had gained in closing the original gap to record an even faster 24:46.

It improved Felix` previous best for the distance by over a quarter of a minute, while Jack was some three seconds faster than his best done in far better conditions at Sutton Benger.

“I can`t honestly recall running in worse conditions, but we both decided to give it a go whatever ,” commented Felix. “At least the course was pan flat and we had each other to keep the pace going.” Boosted by their fine performances they are both now looking forward to tackle their 10K pb`s in the Cheshire 10K in a fortnight`s time.

With ANDY DRAKE following them home third in 27:29, which was only 20 secs off his best despite having to run the whole way on his own, Bristol and West runners dominated the team event with four others in the top eight fastest times recorded.

DAN CANNON also dipped under 28mins with 27:52 for 4th place, while LEE GAWLER 6th in 28:15, NICK TUFTNELL 7th and first vet in 28:17, and STEVE HONIGHT 8TH 28:37 were all well inside 29mins.

Mike Down