NS Poly Grand Prix, 7th March 2023

Despite a few absences, both Claremont teams managed a decent turnout for the last ‘regular’ grand prix event of the season, fielding 7 and 5 runners apiece.

Even though we’re well into March, this Tuesday was vying for ‘most Arctic’ run so far, with the temperature hovering around the 0 degree mark. Thankfully the wind was minimal, meaning that running conditions were pretty ideal once you got moving.

Ice did, however, necessitate a couple of course alterations. Instead of cutting in towards the promenade in front of Spanish City, we stayed on the main road until we’d rounded it on the outside. Everyone’s favourite hill was also removed from the reckoning, as the usual voyage to the level of the sea was deemed to dangerous, so to compensate, we carried on along the top until we reached a marshalled turning point, and headed back.

A double-winner last year, Rose Hawkswood finally claimed her first 1st of the season, showing determination in the face of an overly-chatty lead bike. Lena Lou, a winner herself back in December, came in an impressive 4th.

Mark Anderson was the clear winner of fastest sky-blue on the night. After his parkrun PB at the weekend, Mark is clearly in the form of his life, improving on his previous time by almost a full minute! Usually neck-and-neck, Paul Robinson was some way off challenging him after a recent dalliance with Covid, but still recorded a great time.

I was happy to improve on February’s 5th-last placing, with a kinder handicap and a whole minute faster (despite what the official time recorded). Things were going well until the turning point, when the recent mileage in the legs felt like it began to tell. I was passed by Mark shortly after, though this wasn’t as demotivating as it might’ve been, given his current fettle. I managed to avoid an excessive drop in pace, maintaining fairly well through to the end.

Forgoing a chilly warm-down in favour of dashing to Toby Carvery, our second visit of the season to this establishment felt like just reward for our efforts, Rose revelling in her win with a victory pint. Congratulations Rose!

The final fixture takes place at the end of March, the usual finale of 5-ish miles starting from St. Mary’s Lighthouse. Hopefully it’ll be a couple of degrees warmer…

This month sees Dave Roberts finally slipping out of the top 3 in the individual rankings, with Tara Hipwood passing him on the way up to 5th. Another impressive run from Mark sees him hovering just outside the top 20. We may have been 3 runners down on this occasion, but The Full Claremonty are still holding onto 3rd place in the team competition. Rock’s Stars continue their rise, up 5 places from last month to 11th. A fantastic climb, considering they were only just in the top 20 back in December!

A handful of the official run times below are out by a fair bit, due to “a glitch on the timing recording device meaning only sporadic recordings of times were possible”.

PositionRunnerTeamHandicapRace TimeRun Time
1Rose Hawkswood Rock’s Stars03:1033:2730:17
4Lena Webster-CostellaRock’s Stars04:5037:3732:47
16Tara HipwoodThe Full Claremonty12:1039:3827:28
31Rachel HurdmanThe Full Claremonty11:3040:0028:30
34Mark AndersonRock’s Stars19:5040:0220:12
40Nicki O’BrienThe Full Claremonty16:3040:2023:50
61Luke WoodendRock’s Stars12:3040:4028:10
68David RobertsThe Full Claremonty17:3040:5323:23
113Janet PalmerRock’s Stars09:5041:4431:54
114Laurie JohnsonThe Full Claremonty18:3041:4423:14
121Maria DueñasRock’s Stars17:1041:4724:37
123Paul RobinsonRock’s Stars19:5041:4821:58
Laurie Johnson -