CROSS COUNTRY: Bourne five shine at Valentine’s meet

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Romance was the furthest thing from the minds of five Bourne Town Harriers athletes when they competed in the Stamford St Valentines Day 30K race.

A strong field of 630 runners took on the undulating course, which started and finished in Stamford while also taking runners through the villages of Little Casterton, Tolethorpe, Ryhall, Careby, Pickworth and Great Casterton.

Tony Gilbert was the first Harrier to finish in an excellent 57th position in a time of 2.06hrs, followed by Shaun Hill in 100th place. He bettered his 2013 time by nearly three minutes, completing the course in 2.13hrs.

The lone brave female Harrier, Karen Clarke was 310th in a time of 2.34hrs, a time that was equalled by Richard Houghton one position behind in 311th.

Des Adey completed the Harriers quintet, finishing in a time of 2.38hrs for a very creditable 343rd place.

The race was the 13th leg of the Harriers winter series. Shaun Hill remains in third place in the men’s section after a strong showing, but is now putting pressure on Mick Howells in second.

Jonathan Palmer stays in an almost unassailable first place.

In the female section, Karen Clarke leads the way, followed by Claire Steels in second place with Victoria Cocking in third.

Away from the Bourne runners, two course records were smashed to smithereens at the Stamford Striders-hosted event.

South Lincolnshire athletes Aaron Scott and Philippa Taylor won in style on home turf.

Scott, who lives in Stamford but also runs for Nene Valley Harriers, smashed the nine-year-old best by over a minute when he broke the tape well over five minutes ahead of his closest rival in 1.37.52hrs.

Fellow Nene Valley athlete Taylor also continued her impressive winning form, obliterating the F45 record by more than seven minutes in 1.58.08hrs.

She was followed in by team-mate Tracy McCartney in a time of 2.03.50hrs.

Of the 630 who started the race, some 501 runners completed the course this year.