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Jane Ashby and Callum Stanforth star for Downham Market Ryston Runners at Worstead despite sewage leak

The popular summer Friday night fixture that is the Worstead 5 has been, over recent years, typically memorable for some extremes of weather.

So the 10 Ryston Runners who took part this year were grateful for a pleasant, unspectacular evening weather-wise.

Jane Ashby, who won the F70 category, described it as ‘not too hot, not too hilly, with chocolate and bananas at the end’, which would have made it near perfect but for the fact that there had been a local sewage leak, involving running through some rather unpleasant ‘stuff’ twice, near the start and finish.

Jane Ashby.
Jane Ashby.

Callum Stanforth continued his personal running revival with a time of 26:47, bringing him home sixth overall and third senior man.

Club chairman Rob Simmonds, surely Ryston’s most versatile athlete, ran 29:29 for 30th place/14th SM, before Darren Easter went sub 30 for the first time, a notable achievement at any time, but even more so as he is now M50.

His time of 29:50 was a 39-second improvement, but such was the quality of the field in this race, that this performance still only saw Darren place fourth in category.

Ryston Runners who took part in the event at Worstead.
Ryston Runners who took part in the event at Worstead.

Gradually returning to form, Nic Bensley was fifth M50 with 30:53, placing 48th overall. Completing a Ryston M50 trio, George Pettit was next finisher from the club, 13th in category, 110th overall, with 34:58.

Kirsty Butters was first Ryston woman home, running a personal best of 35:32 for 119th place/sixth F40.

Anna Smith was 14th in the same category, 190th overall with 37:50.

Pauline Drewery.
Pauline Drewery.

In 240th place, Pauline Drewery improved on her previous time for this race, which she last ran seven years ago, placing sixth F50 with 38:26.

Jane Ashby’s winning time in the F70 category was 42:29, which placed her 285th, while Keith Morris (M60) continued his comeback with 63:13, 456th finisher.

The 50 miles that his club-mates covered between them at Worstead represented a solo effort for Montane mountain runner Dickie Ebbs on Saturday when he tackled the Lakeland 50 and won the M50 category by covering the inevitably hilly course, from Coniston to Penrith, in just over nine hours.

On the same day, Eamonn McCusker went into deepest Lincolnshire for the longest-standing road race in the Midlands – the Heckington 10 – that established in 1965 as a feature of the annual Heckington Show.

Eamonn had no great expectations, this being his first ten miler for two-and-a-half years and he wasn’t disappointed.

Over a mainly two lap rural course, with some running on both sides of the road, so participants passed the single drinks station four times, he was actually quite pleased with how it went, finishing in 89:22, with the second half being significantly faster than the first.

The indefatigable Jane Ashby was back on her feet again on Sunday, having planned with her training buddy, Sarah Partridge, just to have an easy run out.

Despite largely sticking to this plan they both each claimed victory in their respective age groups. Sarah took the honours in the F65 category, with a winning margin of more than seven minutes and clocking 2:25:02, while Jane’s winning F70 margin was an astonishing one-and-a-half hours, despite her running a relatively modest (81 per cent) by her standards, 2:04:57 in tough, wet conditions.

This race not only brought the pair points in the Sportlink Series but County Championship gold medals.

Also over half marathon distance, but further afield, Will Chapman proved his commitment to having been selected to run for Ryston in the upcoming Round Norfolk Relay with a commendable run in Rotterdam.

Will’s time of 1:17:02 saw him finish in 46th place in this prestigious city race.

Four Ryston Runners featured in the team list to represent Eastern Masters AC in the annual Inter Area Masters match, this year at Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton.

Unfortunately Chris Palmer and Ceri Howell had to pull out at the last minute due to Covid, leaving Gaye Clarke and Paul Harrison to fly the club flag at this popular annual event.

Despite achieving their highest score for some years, the EMAC women finished fourth overall in the match, with the men’s team third and a joint third position in the match overall.

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