ATHLETICS: Grantham RC members use Ashby 20-miler as marathon prequel

Grantham Running Club's Dean Riggall, Gavin Meadows, Caroline Davis, Paul Davis, Penny Hodges and Holly Durham.
Grantham Running Club's Dean Riggall, Gavin Meadows, Caroline Davis, Paul Davis, Penny Hodges and Holly Durham.

Ten members of Grantham Running Club made the trip for this year’s Ashby de la Zouch 20-mile race.

Windy yet relatively mild conditions greeted the full field of 1,300 runners taking part over the undulating course. Many of the GRC members were using it as a tester ahead of forthcoming marathons.

First in for Grantham Running Club was Chris Limmer who went close to a personal best despite the conditions, finishing in 15th place in 2hr 4min 8sec.

Gav Meadows ran steady and was really pleased with 2:22:16 and 128th place. Dean Riggall was next in 2:27:48 and Paul Davis came in with a time of 2:29:06.

Holly Durham was first lady in for GRC in 2:30:18. Holly was worrying she would suffer over the longer distances but thankfully put any potential thigh issues to bed with a really good performance and is now in a really strong position to do well in the London Marathon in April.

Soon after, the rest of the merry band of GRC runners made it into the finish. Despite not having her finest race, Penny Hodges still did really well to get in under three hours in 2:53:18. Nick Payne was only just ahead in 2:51:45.

Next and fresh from her 50th parkrun the day before, Caroline Davis was also running well, completing the course in 3:00:14, with Andrew Spencer close behind in 3:01:09, before Neil Emerson finished in 3:16:16.

Now many in the club begin the final preparations for hopefully a really successful spring marathon season, with some beginning the taper down to marathons next weekend and others having slightly longer till the London Marathon.

Two Grantham Running Club’s athletes made the trip north to take part in the Locke Park races in Redcar.

The challenge of both distances of 10 and 20 miles took place on a tight, twisty multi-lap course. The weather was the typical four seasons in one day variety, with a stiff onshore breeze making a challenging headwind on the only two straights.

Catherine Payne took part in the 20 miles version, setting a personal best to finish as third lady in a time of 2hr 30min 10sec, with team-mate Robert McArdle opting for the shorter version, completing the distance in 1:17:01.