No Moolah for Sister Sarah: Stamford St Valentines 30k

Race Date Sunday 12th February 2023

This was the 29th edition of this event which has long been a favourite with Striders prepared to make the 180 mile round trip to deepest Rutland. The largely rural course is described as undulating although some might disagree especially when negotiating the unwelcome little ramp that comes with four kilometres to go. At least this year the weather was quite benign compared to some previous editions with temperatures around nine degrees with hardly any breeze.

Used by many in preparation for a spring marathon, the strategy amongst our group was to run this at marathon pace, whatever that might be? Topping off a 170km week, Rob Byers’ strategy was to set out to do 16km at marathon pace but when he found himself in the lead what else could he do with a number pinned to his vest? Running largely on his own he briefly had some company at 10k with the sound of approaching footsteps as he was chased down on one of the hills. “I’ll give you a hand when I’ve recovered” said the stranger but he soon drifted away no longer to be seen as Rob continued to hang on to win by 30 seconds in 1:47:33. If he continued for a further 12km at that pace he would do 2:30 for the marathon so things are looking good. So, what happened to the mystery runner? He turned out to be England international Aaron Scott (marathon pb 2:16) whilst reference to his Strava feed explains it all “3k pacing, 8k getting carried away, 4k struggling, little stop, couldn’t run so took a short cut”. At least he got his traditionally dubiously coloured  t-shirt handed out at registration.

Rob Byers collecting his filthy lucre despite being instructed not to win anything as it would mean hanging around for the presentation.

As we drove home, Rob opened his envelope expecting a voucher from a local running store only to find a number of crisp twenty pound notes. Very useful as he paid his petrol money there and then but alas no prize for Sarah’s first F50 for there were no vet prizes at all. The presence or size of prizes doesn’t normally concern us mere mortals and whilst veterans athletics is really just a sideshow this appears to be rather mean considering that entries from veterans made up a sizeable proportion of entrants for the race although the suspicion is that the cost of independent traffic management had dented the race organisers budget.

Whilst Rob was obviously delighted with his race other reactions were more mixed. Alison Barrett was slower than hoped, Sarah Allcard, disappointed not to get anything for her category win, didn’t really know what to expect whilst another thoroughly enjoyed himself chasing down a vest from another Sheffield club to finishing bang on target pace.

Rob Byers (145) leading from gun to tape. (Photo David Ogg)

Winner of the women’s race was F35 Kanina O’Neill (March AC) in 2:03:30. With 478 finishers, full results are on this link Stamford 30k 2023 and results for individual Striders, including new man Phil Leake, as follows:

Pos Name Cat Time
1 Rob Byers SM 01:47:33
66 Phil Leake SM 02:12:23
107 (1) Sarah Allcard F50 02:19:05
165 Peter Brown M60 02:30:18
245 Alison Barrett F45 02:40:48
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