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Mike Saws to the top in Ulverston 10k

HOAD Hill Harriers celebrated the start of their 25th anniversary year in fine style with a record 309 runners taking part in the annual Christmas Pudding 10k road race.

A hard overnight frost did not deter the runners, who enjoyed near perfect conditions, other than it being treacherous underfoot in certain parts.

Mike Sawrey, from Ireleth, who now runs for Stockport Harriers, swept to the front of the field from the gun and won the race in a great time of 31.59.

He was hotly pursued by Carl Bell, of Keswick AC, with former Walney schoolboy Craig Holgate, of Ely Runners, and the summer 10k’s third-placed finisher Jed Bartlett, of Barrow and Furness Striders, making up the top-four places.

Harry Stainton, previously of Hoad Hill Harriers, and now running for the more fell-orientated Black Combe Runners, led the way from the other local participating clubs, finishing in sixth place.

In the women’s race non-club runner Rebecca Sheffield, from Windermere, showed a swift pair of heels to keep ahead of experienced Keswick veteran Sam Ayers. Club-mate Hazel Davies kept up the pressure at the front to get the better of the first Hoad Harriers finisher Steph Gillies.

As the race progressed, positions interchanged both in the men’s and women’s fields. The slippery surfaces through the Conishead Priory grounds did not thwart the race leaders.

Stainton moved up into sixth position, while 26-year-old local lad Sawrey broke away with a punishing surge to clinch first position in 31.59 – the quickest finishing time since Mike Aspinall’s 2005 time of 31.16. Bell (32.38) just held onto second, while third place was clinched by Bartlett (33.01), smashing his 2011 third-place time by 52 seconds.

Striders’ Bob Atkinson (ninth overalll in 34.01) used all his experience and speed to beat the previous course record (veteran 50 class) time held by Stephen Moore, of Keswick, set in 2005, by a mighty 29 seconds.

Bartlett and Atkinson’s efforts helped the Striders clinch the men’s team crown, although they were pushed closely by the Harriers, with fast-finishers Chris Howie (36.59) and Steve Young (37.35) leading the challenge.

Sheffield (38.12) held on to her lead in the women’s event, with Ayers (40.00) taking second lady and first veteran 40 honours.

The Keswick women took the team prize, while Joanne McLeod’s personal best (45.07) and Karen McKinnon (47.12) ensured the second-place team prize for the hosts. In the main pack of runners there were tremendous turnouts from newly-formed clubs Bentham Beagles, Walney Windcheaters and Parkside Panthers – some of these participants running their first ever 10k road races.

In the undulating one-mile, off-road fun run, Luke Turner (Hoad Hill) was forced to sprint all the way to the line to finish first in 6.14, marginally ahead of Jonty Dacre (6.16) in second.

Broughton Runners’ Jamie Gittins (6.34) secured third place, while Miesita Mackinnon won the girls’ race (7.41), followed by Emma Forlizzi (7.51) and Mica Wright (7.54).

Have your say

Wow, a good runner AND he's pretty cute too!

Posted by A Mike Sawrey fan! on 5 December 2012 at 21:51

A really well organise race with a friendly atmosphere.

Posted by adrian newnham on 5 December 2012 at 18:42

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