Wet, Wet, WetEven at 9.45 on the morning of the race people were telling me that it never rained actually during the race and as I walked up to start the A race I could have been convinced it was going to brighten up. Not so!! Things started wet and got wetter. From the comments and enthusiasm of many of you I can only assume it was more fun running the race this year than trying to produce results. As my printer went up in smoke and we reverted to the manual system my stress levels were rocketing. At this point I must apologise to members of Helsby AC and Vale Royal. I was determined that prize-giving should still take place at a reasonable time on the day and, in the B-race, failed to notice that the first 3 home from Vale Royal pipped Helsby by a little over a minute thus Helsby AC were wrongly announced as B-race team winners on the day and Vale Royal were denied their moment of glory.
This was not a year for records; the undergrowth on the first few miles of the A race route got a second life about 3 weeks before the race and conditions underfoot were progressively harder for everyone. Nevertheless, there were some excellent performances and some close fought competition in both races. The leading group of 4 through Beeston had split up just a little by the time they reached Rock Farm, Mathew Lynas from Thames Hare and Hounds had a 6 second lead over Philip Nichol but it was not enough and Philip finished strongly, 34 seconds ahead, in a time of 1hr 52:34. In the M50 category Neville Griffiths was tousling with Brian Russell but couldnt quite match the pace and finished just under 2 minutes down. Tattenhall provided both Lady and Lady veteran winners, Sarah Hammond in 2hrs 17:05 and Sandra Owen (overall winner in 1998 and L40) in 2hrs 29:03, and neither looked threatened.
In the B race, 2 people broke the hour which is particularly good in the conditions. For the V40 category, Geoff Rawlinson had traded down from the A-race this year but there are probaby a few who wished he hadnt as positions 6,7,8,9,and 10 were all V40 and were having a fine battle. In the ladies, Heather Johnson (V40) was initially right up there with Birgit Eyke challenging for first lady but slipped back a little to finish just over a minute down.
On the day I kept the presentations as short as possible due to the weather but I would like to record here the efforts of the many many people who help to make this race possible and to offer them thanks on your behalf. Mr Bennett who provides the B race parking, Mr Ryder who provides the B-race start, moves stock and turns off the electric fences!, The National Trust at Beeston Castle and on Bickerton (Dave Morris) for removal of the gates, three police forces who provide manpower for the A-road crossings, Raynet and St John for our safety systems, around 50 members of Deeside for all the support jobs on the day, Chester County Council and Forest Enterprise for facilities at the finish. even now I have probably forgotten a few
On the 16.5 mile A race, results were as follows
On the 9.5 mile B race, results were