York prove no match for Beast Hill

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The Women's 7k gets underway. Photo by Neave O'Brien.

After placing 2nd in the women’s and 3rd in the men’s Roses races last year, the Lancaster University Running Club have undoubtedly upped their game and played the home advantage card this time around.

Before the races even set off, the club were confident in bringing home the points with a member of the club telling SCAN: “the club are stronger this year; we have a lot of fast runners, especially in the men’s category.”

The women’s 7k event was the first to get underway and the route set off from county and skirted the woodland trail to South West. From here, the course turned left, going under the motorway-bridge and back up, past the reservoirs, coming out near the top of Hala hill, then onto the cycle path and back up to where the route began. The race began in earnest with a good turnout for Lancaster and a bold statement from the club’s Vice President, Matthew Hamer, saying that: “Our girls are going to win.”

As the clock ticked up to the 29 minute mark, everyone was in eager anticipation as the former President, Andora Perkins, had completed the race in a similar time during training. She did not let anyone down as she crossed the line first in a time of 33.04 minutes.

Talking to SCAN after the race, Perkins commented that it was a “good race” and concluded that she was “happy with her time.”

Nevertheless, after a predicted first and second to Lancaster it was, in fact, York’s Daisy Pickles who finished next in a time of 33.42 minutes – closely followed by Lancaster’s Iffy Antoniou in a time of 33.53 minutes.

It was then the men’s turn to put their efforts in for the Red Rose as they lined up for their 10k route.

The run that they ventured on is aptly referred to as ‘Beast Hill’, VP Hamer noted that “the route is similar to the girls’ race but, as the name suggests, it contains a massive hill!”

Instead of turning left at southwest, the men were to run through Galgate, turn left onto Kit Brown Lane and then follow the path “up and up and up and up,” until they reach the bottom of Beast hill. Upon climbing it, the route links back onto the reservoir route and then back onto campus.

This difficulty of the run was, of course, intentional. Considering that York are better at flat running, it was only logical that Lancaster would choose and train on the hilliest run that they could find.

This logical reasoning certainly paid off as Lancaster smashed any potential York opposition as they claimed 1st to 4th place with Phil Robertson crossing the line first in an impressive 37.12 minutes, followed by his teammates Tom Nicholson (40.26), Ryan Stevenson (40.30) and Stuart Mcleod (41.41). The first York showing in this event was with Duncan Greaves who came 5th in a respectable time of 42.08, however he was one amongst another array of Lancaster finishers with the next White Rose showing their face at 10th place with Matt Towers in 44.48 minutes.

It was a successful year for the Lancaster runners, however, given the bold statement they made with the route – they are probably already preparing for what will undoubtedly be one of the flattest and fastest routes possible when York have the home advantage in 2013.

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