Banbury 15 report


A wet 2020 race

                                                                  BANBURY FIFTEEN

Covid-19 or the continuing rain did not ruin the 25th Banbury Run on Sunday. The race which is run over 15miles, a brainchild of the late Geoff Smith which as took place every year since 1994, this apart from two cancellations owing to the weather.

  This year produced perhaps the closest finish of all, in the field the founder’s son Sullivan of Cambridge and Coleridge, the course record holder, which he created in 2010. Also in the field last year’s winner James Bolton from Woodstock Harrier who succeeded after eight attempts.

The near 250 starters which included 80 ladies set out from Spiceball on route of a loop course taking in villages Little and Great Bourton, Cropedy , Appletree and returning via the villages to the finish at Spiceball. The pair led the way with Aaron Burgess of Oxford City, James Eve of Headington Road Runners and Paul Leverton of Alcester in pursuit. The duo extended the lead as the rain continued to fall, the downhill stretch Great Bourton to Cropedy was now awash with water. This would increase as the field headed towards Appletree, with that road amassed with potholes.

 Smith attempted to break away from his rival, but Bolton was determined to stick with him. They approached Cropedy for the second time and Smith increased the pace and the gap widened uphill into Bourton the leader increased the pace more and Bolton still held firm, with hopes of victory still.

The two hit the main road and Smith increased further on the downhill part, as the finish approached he made one further push. The line came and now the distance between the two had reached 100yards. Smith crossed the line in a time of 1hour 24minutes and 28seconds, just under three minutes outside his record, but in the dreadful conditions highly commendable. This could also be said for Bolton’s finishing time twenty two seconds slower.

 Nearly three minutes later came Burgess in third place, with Eve 8seconds behind and Leverton 16seconds behind him. Mathew Lock of Witney Road Runners made up the top six in 1h 29m 39s.

Locally Henry Sleight of Cherwell RR finished 11th, Luke Sherlock of Banbury Star finished 20th and Ian Thomas Cherwells vet 50 finished 23rd to gain second place in this age group, Headington won first male team prize.

  In the ladies first home was Unattached runner Joanne McCandless from Warwick in 15th place with a time 1h35m 11s, second was Kate Allred of Eynsham Road Runners and third Isobel Stubbs of Witney Road Runners. The ladies team went to Cherwell in the hands of Jessica Sleight, Rachel Piper and Hannah Kennedy. 

report by Mike Hughes 

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