LEAMINGTON runners Mel Venables and Sue Harrison celebrated excellent first places after tackling the Railway Ultra Race.
Spa Strider Venables was the first woman in the 28 mile race in Coalport, Shropshire, while Leamington C&AC’s Harrison was first lady and second overall in the 38-mile competition.
The Railway Ultra Race is run on an ‘out and back’ course along the former line of the Severn Valley Railway which has now been turned into a road/pathway. Each out and back section measured approximately 9.5 miles. Those choosing 28 miles did three circuits whilst the 38 mile athletes ran it four times.
Venables and Harrison, both coached by Les Barnett, had been asked to run the first half of their events in a controlled manner and to gently pick up the pace over the second half of their races. They did this with spectacular success.
Venables ran the first half of her race in1.57.11 to lie in 12th place overall, with two other women in front of her. As the race progressed she continued to pick up places running the second half nearly four minutes quicker and was rewarded with a superb sixth place overall and to win the ladies race.
“I felt strong and controlled throughout and am looking to new challenges,” she said.
Harrison, preparing for the World 100km Championships in September, ran equally controlled with her second half of the race being just 1min 28 seconds quicker with her four separate 9 mile splits at 69.06; 69.40; 69.20 and 68.42.
At her mid point of the 38-mile race Sue was in 6th place with just men in front of her. During the second half she slowly picked off all but one of the men to finish first lady and second overall, just 1minute and 59 seconds behind the winner, Thomas Coney from Avon Valley Runners. Her finishing time of 4.51.20 was almost 25 minutes faster than the previous fastest time by a woman over the course.
“I was set a target by our coach of running 7.45 miling and I actually ran just inside 7.40 minutes per mile, and like Mel, I felt comfortable throughout. Mission achieved,” she said.