Tony Johnson, Nov 18

November saw another long list of worthy nominees for Grantham Running Club Member of the Month with some outstanding performances in a year already full of superlative efforts.

Beginning with the race that ended the month, the GP Series Derby 10 Mile Race saw Chris Limmer run the second fastest 10 mile time of the year for GRC (1:01:39) despite recovering from a heavy cold. The incredible Julie Braker ran 1:25:20 at the race, which looks set to see her ranked #2 in the UK over the distance for a V70 runner, matching her achievement over the half marathon distance.

Matthew Williamson produced an eye-catching PB of 1:02:42 at Derby, which is arguably a better performance than his half marathon PB at the Great Eastern Run in October and saw him run an unofficial 10K PB en route! As at Peterborough Matthew was followed home by Joe Clarke (1:03:37) and Dean Riggall (1:04:41), who both ran new 10 mile PBs. Dean had also at the start of the month produced a great run to break 40 minutes (39:42) for the first time at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K. It capped a great year of running for Dean who set personal bests in six of the seven distances he raced over in 2018; only the hot weather at London blotted the copybook – Project Sub3 hopefully will follow in 2019!

Penny Hodges was another runner who doubled up at Leeds (44:53) and Derby (1:14:41). While neither performance totally satisfied a runner hell bent on trying to achieve silver age grade status, they were strong runs that saw her ranked #3 and #2 woman over 10K and 10 miles respectively for the club at the time of writing. She also led the team home with a fine top 10 finish at the Lincolnshire Cross Country League at Belton House.

Matthew Kingston-Lee was another who raced over 10K, 10 miles and cross country. His 34:52 at Leeds was the second fastest 10K of 2018 by a GRC runner. He followed this up with a third place at the RAF Henlow 10 Mile Race (57:50), then three days later finished fourth at the Belton House Lincs League XC which, I believe, is the highest ever position in that league by a GRC male and the best since Anna O’Hare was winning them back in 2014. Caroline Davis was nominated for her fine efforts representing the club at cross country in the Lincolnshire League, the North Midlands League and the England Cross Country Relays.

Peter Bonner ran the same three races as MKL in November. His 10 mile PB of 1:08:04 at Henlow was highly commendable but it was his text book 39:18 at the Leeds Abbey Dash which was arguably the performance of the day at that race – breaking 40 minutes for the first time and taking over a minute off his previous best. New club member Ian Williams showed he is a runner with exciting potential – he ran an excellent PB of 37:22 at Leeds then a very fine 1:04:07 in his first 10 mile race at Henlow.

Kevin Kettle was co-runner up for his super 44:09 PB at the Doncaster 10K, bettering his old best by nearly a minute. Fellow runner up was Tracy Webb, who was an age category winner at the Rockingham 5K in her first race over that distance, then put in a pair of great back-to-back performances at the Peterborough 10 mile multi-terrain race and the Derby 10 Mile Race.

The runaway winner of November MotM had been nominated for the fifth time in 2018 in the eleventh month of the year. A seasoned racer with an impressive palmares of performances and times, a year ago Tony Johnson was faced with the very real possibility of never being able to run again due to a health scare. Thankfully given the green light to run early in the year, Tony has been one of the most prolific and outstanding racers for the club in 2018, running with a fresh appreciation of the joy that running and racing brings to him.

November saw Tony finish third at the Boston Poppy Run 5 Mile Road Race in a fine 32:21 but it was his 1:25:32 at the St Neots Half Marathon which drew Gav Meadows to rightfully proclaim it as one of the performances of the year. This time, which ranks the V50 runner at #4 for the club over half marathon, came off the back of eleven previous half marathons in 2018 for Tony, who produced something special to better his previous best for 2018 by 95 seconds. A great use of his Joker for the club’s GP Series, this 79.57% age grade performance helped secure Tony third place in the 2018 Series and ranked him #2 in terms of Age Grade over the half marathon distance.

Congratulations to Tony Johnson on being the November 2018 Grantham Running Club Member of the Month!

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