Folksworth 15

Well 2023 has dawned cold and frosty, and many people in Grantham Running Club and elsewhere have found their minds turning to the marathons that are so easily signed up for in the autumn, but the new year brings cold reality and a need to really focus on the training.

Sunday saw 7 of those runners make the short trip down to the A1 to a small village in Huntingdonshire which hosts a challenging 15 mile timed road run. With three noticeable hills on both laps, this is a proper test of conditioning and mental ability to maintain an appropriate pace.

All the runners have completed at least one marathon so everyone knew that this was a run to take on tired legs, with a full training programme in the week beforehand so that when the higher stakes tests come, confidence can be taken from overcoming these previous challenges.

With that in mind, all the runners were happy with their results, although Dean and Warren cut the start time a little fine and so had to pass a number of runners before fully getting into their stride – there are
several parking areas scattered around the village and the organisers use taxis to bring everyone to the start, which normally works well but does add to the time needed on the morning of the event.

The underfoot conditions remained somewhat treacherous, with only half of the first downhill having been gritted and several of the shady areas keeping ice and frost throughout both laps. Fortunately, all of the GRC runners completed the event without mishap and no major incidents were observed by any of those runners.

From the start the runners spread out according to their expected pace, with Dean managing to move past several clubmates. Warren got ahead of the others until Craig and Caroline caught him on the final hill, but the downhill final half mile allowed him to regain his lead. Robin was grateful to several runners who he didn’t previously know, who, in line with the training ethos of the morning, worked with him to keep pace up the hills and encourage each other to the finish. Sarah was happy to use the morning as a
break from a hectic work schedule, finishing 3½ minutes faster than when she last ran the event in 2020.

Sarah and Caroline demonstrated their class by achieving podium positions in their age categories, with Sarah second and Caroline third.

The layout of the course means that there is a long back straight with a noticeable wind hitting everyone’s face, this was the coldest and slowest part of the course and lasted for a good third of the run, but really for a January day the conditions were surprisingly good.

Discussions afterwards focused on large number of very positive marshals and support teams around the course, all of whom were praised, and how nice it was that the event provided a vest rather than a t-shirt.

The first male finisher (and vet 40) was David Hudson from Huntingdonshire AC in 1:20:45, first female runner was Kanina O’Neil from March AC in 1:38:30. In the team results Huntingdonshire finished first overall, with GRC 14th out of 25 (an average of 25 minutes per runner behind the winning team). The winning female team was Rutland Running and Triathlon Club.

The full results are:


Peter Bonner



Robin Atter



Dean Riggall



Warren Stark



Craig Drury



Caroline Davis



Sarah High



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