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Grantham Running Club duo take on Ashbourne Half Marathon

Grantham Running Club’s Gav Meadows and Paul Rushworth took part in the Ashbourne Half Marathon on Sunday.

The scenic but challenging race started in Ashbourne’s market place.

The first mile or so was around the town itself before heading into the Peak District National Park.

Gav Meadows and Paul Rushworth (13573496)
Gav Meadows and Paul Rushworth (13573496)

The finish was in Ashbourne’s park and sports grounds.

Conditions on the day were fine and dry with the temperature perhaps slightly warmer than the ideal for running. On the plus side there was very little wind.

The course was challenging to say the least, boasting an elevation gain of 1,025 feet.

Gav confidently positioned himself close to the front on the start line where lots of veteran runners were lining up, the race also incorporating the 2019 British Masters Half Marathon Championships.

Gav started confidently, completing the first mile in just under seven minutes despite the undulating terrain. However, he soon learned that this pace would not be realistic for the rest of the race.

Gav said: "The first eight miles were the toughest with most of the climbing being crammed into this part of the race. Miles four and seven were particularly taxing with each boasting in excess of 200 feet of elevation gain. There was a big, long descent at mile nine and things got easier from there - relatively speaking."

Gav finished in 1hr 41min 22sec – at least 10 minutes slower than the time he would expect to run on a flatter course. He placed 93rd overall in a field of 362 runners and 33rd in the senior male category.

Paul took a more cautious and perhaps more sensible approach on the start line, positioning himself much further back. He also started the race in a similar manner and clocked almost a minute slower than Gav for the first mile.

Paul said: "I knew going into this race that my fitness wasn’t what I’d like it to be. A conservative approach suited me best and meant I could relax and take in the beautiful scenery that the course has to offer. The views at the highest points were stunning but you had to work really hard to earn them."

Paul finished in 1:46:25, placing 122nd overall. This was also at least 10 minutes slower than what he would hope to run on a flatter course. He also placed 32nd in the Male Veteran 40 category.


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