Jane Ashby on her way to W70 victory at the Worstead 5.

ATHLETICS: The Worstead 5 has proved to be a popular summer Friday night fixture over recent years but proved to be a stinker this year.

Ten Ryston Runners were among the field and faced an unexpected challenge after a sewage leak meant they faced an extra hazard near the start and finish.

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

Chairman Rob Simmonds, surely the club’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 29:50 was a 39-second improvement but such was the quality of the field that this performance only saw him gain fourth place in the category. 

Gradually returning to form, Nic Bensley was fifth M50, 30:53, 48th overall. 

Completing a Ryston M50 trio, George Pettit was next finisher from the club, 13th in his category, 110th overall, 34:58.

Kirsty Butters was the first Ryston woman home, running a personal best time of 35:32 for 119th place/6th W40. 

Anna Smith was 14th in the same category, 190th overall, 37:50. In 240th place, Pauline Drewery improved on her previous time for this race, which she last ran seven years ago, coming sixth W50, 38:26. 

Jane Ashby’s winning time in the W70 category was 42:29, which placed her 285th, while Keith Morris (M60) continued his comeback with 63:13 for 456th place.

The 50 miles that his clubmates 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 nine hours, 34 minutes, 55 seconds. 

He said: “This was the pinnacle of my running career. I’ll never win this race but I’m happy as Larry to win my age group.”

On the same day, Eamonn McCusker was in Lincolnshire for the longest-standing road race in the Midlands (allegedly): the Heckington 10, established in 1965 as a feature of the annual Heckington Show. 

McCusker had no great expectations, this being his first 10-miler for two-and-a-half years. Over a mainly two-lap rural course, with some running on both sides of the road, he was pleased with how it went, finishing in 1:29:22, with the second half significantly faster than the first. That put him 129th overall out of 199 finishers, and third in the M65 age category.

The indefatigable 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 claimed victory in their respective age groups. Partridge took the honours in the W65 category, with a winning margin of more than seven minutes, clocking 2:25:02, while Ashby’s winning W70 margin was an astonishing 90 minutes, 2:04:57 in tough, wet conditions. This race not only brought the pair points in the Sportlink Series but County Championship gold medals.

Will Chapman proved his commitment too having been selected to run for Ryston in the upcoming Round Norfolk Relay with a commendable run in a Rotterdam half marathon. His 1:17:02 saw him finish 46th.

Four Ryston Runners featured in the team list to represent Eastern Masters AC in the annual Inter Area Masters match in Nuneaton but Chris Palmer and Ceri Howell had to pull out due to Covid.

Gaye Clarke and Paul Harrison flew the club flag as the EMAC women finished fourth and the men third, joint third overall.