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Round-up of the action from Grantham Running Club

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The prestigious Nathan Walker Memorial Trophy is awarded to the Grantham Running Club member who has made an outstanding contribution to the club or has been recognised for an outstanding achievement at a race event as either part of a team or as a solo participant.

This honours Nathan, one of the club’s most promising athletes and son of two of their most popular members in Ady and CJ Walker who died tragically in 2016.

The committee presented CJ and Ady with three nominations who this year were Robert McArdle, Kate Marshall and Chris Limmer.

CJ and Ady Walker awarding the trophy to Chris Limmer who made a special trip to the presentation evening to collect the accolade.
CJ and Ady Walker awarding the trophy to Chris Limmer who made a special trip to the presentation evening to collect the accolade.

At the club’s presentation evening, Ady descried how he and CJ spent hours debating the eventual winner but this year’s choice was a popular one with Chris Limmer the recipient.

Despite being a second claim member, Chris’ commitment to the club and running in general is unquestionable.

A man who loves to challenge himself, his performance at the Chiltern Wonderland 50 mile Ultra was outstanding after finishing an impressive 23rd in a strong field with his time of 9:00:33.

As well as being an outstanding endurance runner he selflessly gives up his time to lead a Tuesday intervals group targeted at the slower end of the club.

This has been a huge success with numbers often reaching maximum capacity and many club members would credit this group as the main enabler to their new personal bests.

Three members of Grantham Running Club made a wintry trek to the coast to take part in the Skegness Coasters 10k.

Marj Spendlow. Photo: Barry Robinson
Marj Spendlow. Photo: Barry Robinson

This event made a welcome return having been delayed since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The beginner-friendly flat course starts at Southview Leisure Centre and loops around the Water Leisure Park and the event donates all proceeds to local charities and causes which have included the RNLI, Air Ambulance and Skegness Hospital.

Runners experienced the joys of the British weather with conditions changing all the way around, with wind, rain and sunshine all making an appearance.

Battling with both head and crosswinds, Marj Spendlow was the first Grantham runner to come home in a fantastic time of 52:28, beating her last personal best only set in November ago at Prestwold by more than two minutes.

Rightfully Marj was incredibly pleased with her time as she continues to improve at an impressive rate.

Next back was Emma Hopkinson who also set an impressive new personal best with a time of 1:02, shaving a couple of minutes off her previous best.

Peter Bonner. (54816398)
Peter Bonner. (54816398)

Rounding off the Grantham runners was Louise Kennedy who, despite feeling under par, perservered and finished in a time of 1:11:54.

The men's race was won in a time of 31:31 by William Strangeway of Lincoln Wellington AC.

The women's race was won by Claire Cooney, also of Lincoln Wellington AC, in a time of 39:05.

The club also had runners taking part in the Rauceby Ripper which is approximately a nine-mile multi terrain race over farm trails, field edges, public footpaths and short road sections.

Starting within the grounds of Rauceby Hall in the village of South Rauceby, the field of runners set off in dry but cold and blustery conditions.

Warnings by the organisers of wet and muddy going under foot for the first couple of miles felt a little exaggerated as the worst of the mud and puddles were easily negotiated.

Caroline Davis. (54816400)
Caroline Davis. (54816400)

Peter Bonner, Caroline Davis and Paul Davis were Grantham Running Club's representatives and for the first half of the race they battled at times against the strong winds blowing off the empty fields.

However, once past the halfway point and heading back to South Rauceby there was a more than welcome tail wind.

First back for Grantham was Peter Bonner in a brilliant 13th place with a time of 1:03:37. He had warmed up for this race by doing Belton parkrun.

Next up was Caroline Davis crossing the line in 1:21:46 and 111th place while Paul Davis came back tired but satisfied with how the race went in a time of 1:26:00 and 134th place.

A very well organised local race that Grantham's three participants all agreed should be on the calendar of anyone who enjoys deviating away from the tarmac once in a while.

The final fixture of the Lincolnshire Cross Country League for Grantham Running Club took place at Witham Way Country Park in Boston.

Grantham Running Club (54709319)
Grantham Running Club (54709319)

The unseasonably mild, sunny weather conditions were a pleasant change from some of the conditions at previous fixtures and made for an enjoyable morning.

The men were first up in a four-lap, 10k race over a pretty flat, dry but technically challenging course with testing cross gradients.

Rob Howbrook, acquitting himself well with an impressive run, finished first for GRC and in 20th position overall.

Also finishing strongly for the club was experienced cross country and ultra runner Andrew MacAllister. He was followed by Paul Davis, who put in a dogged performance to bring the team home.

For the GRC ladies, Rachel Hamilton, in only her second cross country appearance for the club, had a perfectly paced race which earned her the position of first female vet and seventh overall.

Caroline Davis, who had another strong race, was next to finish for GRC in 12th place overall and first in the FV50 age category.

Grantham Running Club (54709322)
Grantham Running Club (54709322)

Michelle Parczuk put in a great effort to finish close behind coming in in 13th position and second in her age group.

Grantham's ladies captain, Sarah High, brought the team home, finishing first in the FV55 category and in 14th place overall.

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