It was something of a surreal and subdued atmosphere, perfectly matched by the drizzly weather, as round 2 of the Championships took runners to the calendar staple that is the Dronfield 10K. With many races being cancelled, and uncertainty about many others, perhaps it’s not too surprising that many took advantage of perhaps the last opportunity to race in the short term. It was something of an odd sight seeing elbows being deployed prior to a race and certainly not in such a cordial fashion.
We saw our first head to head between last year’s top 2 as Joe and Phil faced off against each other, with Liam Walker missing this one through injury. Despite Phil’s home advantage, Joe was the quicker on the day, finishing 3rd overall. Fellow Dronfieldiens Liam Turner and Stuart Carrack also running well on their season debuts, although Stuart’s lack of Striders vest has certainly fuelled rumours of a move to the New Zealand’s own Manawatu Striders. It was also pleasing to see Malcolm Baggaley make his well deserved Premiership debut about an injury lay off and he’ll know doubt hope to regain some of last season’s fine form as we go on.
Division 2 saw new Strider Todd Thornback build further on his impressive showing at Huddersfield and go one better to take the 20 points while James Staves showed rewarded my faith in his abilities that saw him double promoted, as he turned in another sub 40 time on a pretty tough course. Adam McAuley and myself, on the other hand showed the dangers of accidental promotion, but hopefully picked up useful points that might be enough to stave off relegation when we get to the sharp end of the season. Special mention in dispatches also goes to Rob Betts for turning out the day after the Grindleford Gallop and still making it look oh so easy.
It was a fairly tight affair in Division 3 as Tom Briddock reversed the previous round’s result to finish ahead of Darren Barnett with Richard Pearson completing the Strider sandwich. Last year’s winner of the “Tactically Avoiding Promotion” award, Heather Hatton, had a great day at the office finishing as 1st Lady but more importantly picking up 17 points. Ben Sanderson and Paddy Treehowes also had a bit of a ding dong battle, in the end only finishing seconds apart.
Division 4 looks to be warming up nicely with last round’s winner, Al Dalton, not running; instead providing valuable Strider papping services. The first 4 home in the division were all making their season debuts as Nate Smith took the honours on the day closely followed by Russell Stevenson, Paul Blockley and David Nasibett. Mr Stuart Jones certainly wasn’t counting crows as he showed the value of consistency to move up to 2nd overall.
It looks Luke has certainly Prest the button in Division 5 as he ran away with another 20 points, quite remarkable considering he was plying his trade in the Evo-Stik Division 9 (North) last year. Dominic Sleath overcome failing to convince his peers to instead make it a 200 Meter race, finishing with a decent 17 points behind Ashley Biggs and Emma Clossick.
Everything seems to be going to Clan in Division 6 as fell transferee Harriet Davies again utilised her genetics to full effect and snagged 20 points, despite taking a very Davies like tumble at the finish. Behind her it was a tale of two Stephens as messrs Mallon & Slater conspired to take home 19 and 18 points. There was also a rare off-track sighting of Kate Scott who ran well to pick up 14 points, as well as being in contention for leggings of the day.
Izzy Carter, fresh off her Parkrun Cup victory, again picked up 20 points in Divison 7; but in an exciting finish so did Richard Pegg, as they finished on the exact same chip time with Alice Thomas not much further back. Sam Keen managed to overcome a foreign object to the eye (he insists it wasn’t the hill making him cry..) to pick up a solid 16 points.
Division 8 saw Steven Lewis take full advantage of absence of Charlotte Civico as he took 20 points back over the border into the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire. Though with not much separating the runners behind him, this could be a tightly contested division. Ryan Talley for one will certainly fancy his chances if he can get everything to add up towards the end of the season, while Richard Short also showed he wasn’t going to make life a beach for his divisional peers.
Muhammed Khan and John Liddle had a case of the Freaky Fridays as they swapped their finishing positions from Huddersfield to take the top two spots in Division 9, while Ian Blackburn, Sarah Percival, Vikki McAuley and Mel English (despite a misplaced buff) all made their season debuts.
Luke Hilton obviously obviously is aiming for the briefest of stays in l’hotel de Division 10 as he delivered another 5 star performance to check out with 20 points. Elsewhere in the division John Dempsey, Heidi Hargreaves, Gaynor Hobson and Sandie Ireland all did well breaking 60 on their first outings this season, despite the less than friendly conditions.
Division 11 saw the resumption of the M&M battle as Maggie Vickers and Megan Ohri once again battled it out, with Maggie coming out on top much to the detriment of my fantasy team. A great turnout in the division also saw great performances from Sally Lee, Sara Copp, and Gillian Person who all took a sizeable amount of their Huddersfield times. A special mention also goes to Julie Armstrong, for not only completing her first 10K race, but for also providing an amazing race report.
For the tables and full results/standings click here.