Barlaston Ups and Downs
The clue for the nature of the race was in its title and it certainly lived up to its name as the 130 or so athletes found out within seconds of the start from Oulton Cricket Club near Stone. For almost the first mile of the course the route plunged downhill on the road until it turned into the National Trust owned woodland which, because of the recent wet weather, was a bit muddy and slippery in places.
There followed two laps in the woodland which also incorporated a steep climb and rapid descent before returning to the road. This section reduced many runners to a slow pace as they made the return climb all the way back up the hill to the finish line at the cricket club.
As this was the last of three races in Stone Master Marathoners Spring Treble Series, the usual members of Newport and District Running Club made the journey to take part and it was Tom O’Boyle, who got better with each race in the series, who was first back for Newport in 12th place in 35m 09s, an excellent time and position in a competitive series.
Andy Coles was next in, managing to keep going up the last hill to be 39th in 38:39 with Andrew Storey 56th in 40:38 and Mark Deighton 62nd in 41:53.
Aimee Mcphee was first lady home for the club, crossing the finish line in 83rd place to record a time of 46:54. She was closely followed by Tracy Hartridge in a time of 47:07 to be 85th. Rachel Storey kept going to be 94th in 49:06 and Gary Bowness, who seemed to find the final uphill push hard work, recorded a time of 55:36 to be 113th.
Sarah Higginson and Pauline Walsh kept each other company and were 115th and 116th respectively, recording the same time of 56:37 to complete the Newport line up.
This was probably the toughest race of the series, but all those running enjoyed themselves and vowed to come back for another go next year.