The Grand Prix Series got the year off to a flying start with some very fast times in both the 2k and 5mile races around Babbs Mill lake, Kingshurst last Sunday.
The 2k race quickly developed into a battle between the winners of the previous two races in November and December, with Jamie Cozens of Sphinx AC taking an early lead followed by Jake Sorrell of Centurion RC. But Jake proved to be stronger over the final 600 metres to win in 6min 34sec with Jamie 2nd in 6min 46sec and Ben Prosser-Dawes of Coventry Godiva 3rd in 7min 36sec. The first lady was yet again the very promising youngster Hannah Cox of Ivanhoe Robins in 7min 45sec followed by her team mate Harriet Roberts (8-55) and Jessica O’Keefe of Centurion RC (9-16).
The 5mile race was no less competitive with David Stevens of Tamworth AC making a very impressive debut in the race to lead throughout and win in 26min 43sec followed by last month’s winner Pat Kavanagh of Tipton Harriers in 27min 21sec with Ian Mansell of Dudley Kingswinford AC 3rd in 27min 59sec. Debbie Walters of Birchfield Harriers was again the runaway winner of the ladies competition, finishing 6th overall in 28min 32sec and well clear of Claire Wilson 29th (32-18) and Rebecca Smith 34th (32-54).
Centurions were no match for the leaders but nevertheless there were some very notable performances. Preston Eckloff is gradually gaining fitness after two years blighted by injury and improved his time by nearly two minutes to finish 23rd (31-58),
Debbie Bradley 39th achieved her best time (34-00) and young Grace Healy continues to improve with another personal best time (36-30)
to finish first junior lady.
The next races are on Sunday, February 1. Anyone wishing to run can contact John Walker (0121 603 2795) or Geoff Wheeler (01675 462972) or just turn up on the day in plenty of time for the 2k (10.30am) or 5mile (11.00am) at Archbishop Grimshaw School, Cooks Lane, Kingshurst.
More information about the series and Centurion Running Club at www.centurions.org.uk