ASHLEY Hurdman won the first race of the 2014 Burton & District Summer League Series last weekend – the Conkers five-mile race – hosted by South Derbyshire Road Runners.
Hurdman (pictured) took top spot for Hatton Darts – his first claim club – but his training partners at Burton Athletics Club, Cory Parker and Alex Benfield also claimed honours.
Hurdman dominated from start to finish with an outstanding performance to finish comfortably ahead of the rest in 27mins 1sec.
Parker put behind him his disappointing cross country season with a spectacular start to his preferred road racing season, completing the course in 27:34 for second place, laying a few demons to rest.
Benfield completed the rout for the Burton trio in third place in a time of 28:19, after starting well but falling behind and struggling throughout.
Despite some noticable absentees in the ranks, Burton AC managed to grab second place in the men’s team event after a personal best performance from Ian Parker (34:27) for 32nd and Thomas Davenport’s 34th (34:41).
Rob Sharrat and Eamon O’Hanlon had there normal tussle with Sharrat finishing just ahead (52nd place in 37:27) of O’Hanlon, seconds behind in 54th.
Graham Dingley made a rare appearance after injury, the Vet 65 runner running well for 87th place in 40:41.
Siobain Mathie was the only female club runner and she was pleased with a steady run, completing the course in 46:45 for 122nd.
While the emphasis for SDRR was in managing the inaugural race as the league celebrates its 10-year anniversary this did not prevent strong teams being entered in both the men’s and women’s races.
Chris Pearson, Dominic Sharman and Andy Hawtin continued what promises to be a season-long rivalry as they finished seventh, eighth and ninth out of 150 finishers in times of 29mins 31secs, 29.40 and 29.49 respectively.
Next to cross the line was Insley, who confirmed her status as one of the best WV40 runners in the region by easily winning the women’s race in 31.04.
Next home was James Cassidy who continued his excellent progress with a well run 31.48 for 18th place.
Completing the team finishers for the men’s team were solid performances from Stuart Halsey and Colin Mee in times of 32.24 and 33.14 to finish 23rd and 26th respectively.
Putting in great team performances, Christina Cooper, Tracey Glover, Sam Skidmore and Laura Storer performed brilliantly over the multi-terrain course with some sharp turns to record finishing times of 35.51, 37.47, 40.18 and 41.03 respectively.
Just a couple of places behind Storer, Chris Morton ran strongly in warm conditions to record 41.10 for 94th place with the improving David Lunn completing the finishers for the club in 42.58 for 104th place.
Four of the club’s runners tackled the Shakespeare Stratford Marathon on Sunday.
After a slow, steady start it was experienced marathoners Mark Coombes and Steve Fowler who set the early pace, with debutants Paul and Shane Chapman taking a more cautious approach.
However, once the brothers got into their running they passed their colleagues and ran together until 16 miles, when Shane kicked on to record a debut time of 3hrs 7mins 9secs for 43rd place out 732 finishers.
Despite struggling later in the race, Paul Chapman was pleased to record 3.19.25 for 91st place.
Running steadily, Coombes claimed 209th place (3.39.39).
However, Fowler unluckily suffered the marathon runner’s curse of crippling cramp and bravely stopped the clock in 4.29.58 for 567th place.
Kelly Knight tackled the half marathon distance incorporated within the Stratford race and set the early tempo with a superb personal of 1.40.39 for 330th place out of 1,995 finishers.
Katie Kift completed the SDRR in action on Sunday when she tackled the scenic Evesham Half Marathon in a very creditable time of 2.32.00.