Ashby 20

The Aldi Ashby 20 mile road race is organised by Ivanhoe Runners and its tag line is ‘organised by runners for runners’. Taking place 5 weeks before the London marathon, it is a great opportunity for a challenging supported long run before the taper phase.

This year the event started in pouring rain, with the overnight downpours leaving standing water on the grass of Bath Grounds park, which housed the event village and finish. Fortunately the race is well planned and is all on tarmacked road apart from a final footpath section, so the water was not a problem for the actual event, though it did hamper spectators wanting to be close to the finish.

Three members of Grantham Running Club took part in the race, with Peter and Darren using it as intended for London Marathon training, whilst Jo was getting in early for the Edinburgh Marathon.

Jo Grace finished in a chip time of 3:04:36, which is her fastest recorded 20 mile race and she put everything into the event, with her final sprint finish being sufficiently impressive to earn her a spot prize from the organisers. Jo struggled a bit with the weather, having dressed for rain and then finding that the sun was remarkably strong by the time the second lap started.

Darren Harley is somewhat of a specialist in 20m races, having completed Oundle three times previously. He found the hills made for a tough course but thought it was good preparation for London. Darren was also very impressed by the organisation and the cheese cob and hoody rewards afterwards. Darren finished in 2:38:03.

Peter Bonner was doing only his second 20m race, having not managed to fit one in during 2023 and he found it much tougher than expected – describing his day as having started hard and got harder. He also found the weather to be difficult, with the rain cap in particular helping him overheat, which he described as useful learning for London, even if painful on the day. Despite his struggles, Peter was pleased that hi time of 2:22:13 was 10 minutes quicker than his previous 20m race, and he appreciated the support of the large number of marshals, refreshment providers and other volunteers on the course and at the event village.

There were 1296 finishers The first male runner was Jack Dakin (Derby AC) in 1:52:22, followed the first female, Amy Lowe (Washlands Women Runners) in 2:11:12.

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