ATHLETICS: Grantham AC’s Sophie defeats ‘Grim Reaper’

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Grantham Athletic Club long distance runner Sophie Stanley completed the Grim Reaper race at Grimsthorpe Castle on Friday.

Running her first ultra-marathon, Sophie opted for the “short” 40-mile off-road option over four 10-mile laps within the castle grounds.

Having already completed the London Marathon and Edinburgh Marathon this year, she continued to keep her distance training up and built on her already established endurance fitness leading up to the event.

The day itself was challenging with warm and humid conditions a real test, but Sophie crossed the finish line in 8hr 25sec for 16th overall and third placed female.

Sophie said the Grim Reaper had been her hardest challenge to date: “No training really prepared me for just how tough this was going to be. At the end of the third lap I was seriously questioning my ability to run a further 10 miles.

“But to cross that finish line as the third female and realise what I had achieved was amazing. I can’t wait to do the next one now.”

Another to complete the 40-mile run was Adam Foyster, also from Grantham.

l Grantham Running Club’s Mark Hillson and Gordon Geach took part in the 12th Dovedale Dipper.

Both successfully completed the tough hilly 16-mile course through the Derbyshire Peak District in 3hr 22min.

l Grantham RC’s Matthew Kingston-Lee and Ben Mason competed in the third race of the Lincoln Wellington 5km Series last Tuesday.

Determined to break the 17-minute barrier for the first time, Matthew made a swift but controlled start and came home eighth in a new Grantham RC club record of 16.55, bettering his old personal best by 49 seconds.

Ben, returning to the Lincoln race for the first time in six years, had an excellent run to finish 44th in 20.35, an improvement of more than a minute.

l Despite losing their fastest entrant, Stuart Sinclair, in the warm-up, the seven runners from GRC who completed this week’s Newark Parkrun managed four PBs between them, with Holly Durham setting a new course record for a woman in her age group.

Results: 10 Chris Armstrong 20.20 pb, 15 Holly Durham 21.10 pb, 20 Mark Wilson 22.27, 23 Warren Stark 22.49, 62 Ruth Dunstan 25.55, 74 Nikki Carr 27.19 pb, 103 Julie Wilson 30.38.

l Andrew MacAllister was the sole GRC runner at the Peterborough Parkrun where he set a new best time of 24.29.

l GRC members Catherine Payne and Robert McArdle were joined by the inspirational Team England athlete Steve Way, fresh from breaking the British Masters Record at the Commonwealth Games, at the Parkrun Tollcross in Glasgow.

Despite a wet and hilly course, Catherine’s time of 21.42 was quick enough to move her into the all-time list of UK athletes her age at this discipline.

Steve spent almost two hours answering questions from everyone about running and what it is like to be part of a major games event.