For the 12 members of Ripley Running Club in training for a spring marathon, the fact that the Retford Half Marathon and Ashby 20-mile race took place on the same day meant that the tricky choice had to be made.
Retford had the extra pull of being the final Ripley club championship race of the season, and therefore gave the possibility to score points towards a trophy in the league table.
This was surely a key factor in attracting a few more members to the shorter distance.
In almost perfect weather conditions, a total of 19 Ripley runners set off at Retford while five took the longer option at Ashby.
The club’s top six men at Retford all finished within the top 100 places in a race with 638 finishers: Dean Taylor in 19th/81.41, Luke Beresford 34th/84.33, Matt Jones 37th/85.29, Andy Parkin 55th/88.54, Rich Phillis 80th/92.45 and Vinny Harlin 99th / 94.45 with Vinny’s time breaking his own PB set on this very course three years ago.
Next Ripley man home Carl Hopkinson, whilst not breaking his PB, had a very strong run for 123rd place and 97.22 minutes beating his close rival Dennis Holmes who only just got under the 100-minute barrier with 99.50 in 154th place. First Ripley lady on the day was Esther Broughton in 207th place and 103.39 mins, which bodes well for her London Marathon run next month.
The other Ripley runners were Dave Barrett 232nd / 105.29 PB, Dave Kinder 243rd/106.06, Matt Nicholls 264th/108.53, Mike Corrigan 297th/111.00, Jay Bird 334th/112.59, Alison Butlin 377th/116.40 PB, Tom Briggs 490th / 128.04 PB, Lisa Walton 587th/145.32 and Jo Brown 594th/147.30 PB
Over at Ashby de la Zouch, Ryan Ball, also London bound next month, ran an impressive time of 2 hours 22 minutes and 53 seconds on the undulating course, which keeps alive his hopes of a sub 3-hour 15 minute debut marathon.
Second home for Ripley RC was new club member Andy Riley in a creditable 2.46.00 for 406th place out of 1,073 finishers.
In third place for Ripley RC was experienced marathon runner Vicky Leach with a time of 3.18.46. Finally at Ashby, one of Ripley RC’s running couples Antoinette and James Franco, who will both be running this year’s Virgin London Marathon, finished in 929th / 3.33.13 and 1,035th / 4.03.32 places respectively.