Conditions are not Taylor-made but Ben revels in them at ‘Summer’ 5-mile

Natalie Bhangal was second lady at the Sphinx Summer 5. Pictures: Tim Nunan
Natalie Bhangal was second lady at the Sphinx Summer 5. Pictures: Tim Nunan

Kenilworth Runners’ Ben Taylor ran an excellent race to win the Sphinx 5 in terrible conditions on Wednesday June 12.

Heavy rain marred the fourth race in the Warwickshire Road Race League with some areas of Coventry’s War Memorial Park under standing water.

Striders' Mairi Walker scythes her way through the field.

Striders' Mairi Walker scythes her way through the field.

Nevertheless, Taylor revelled in the cold, wet weather, crossing the line in 26min 25sec to beat Spa Striders’ Ian Allen by half a minute.

Allen did have the consolation of having broken Striders’ club record with his time of 26:57.

Kenilworth were also the first men’s team, with Stanley Doxey (4th in 27:36), Andrew Siggers (5th in 27:43) and George Crawford (11th in 28:36), their counters.

Spa Striders’ Chris McKeown was sixth in 27:54 and first MV35, with clubmate Neil Smith (28:18) eighth and Trevor Wilkinson (31:38) first MV45.

MV45 winner Trevor Wilkinson heads Oliver Beasley.

MV45 winner Trevor Wilkinson heads Oliver Beasley.

Richard Hood was the first Leamington C&AC runner home, finishing 12th in 28:42, with Ian Mclaughlin a place and three seconds further back.

Fellow C&AC athletes Marc Curtis and Paul Okey also enjoyed a close battle with Curtis second MV45 in 32:05, with Okey third MV45 in 32:07.

Leamington C&AC’s ladies maintained their fine form with the team win.

Natalie Bhangal was second lady in 31:12, closely followed by team-mate Hannah Thorpe in 31:24.

Becky Phagura shows what she thinks of the weather conditions at Coventry's War Memorial Park. Pictures: Tim Nunan

Becky Phagura shows what she thinks of the weather conditions at Coventry's War Memorial Park. Pictures: Tim Nunan

Jenny Jeeves was 11th lady and first FV50 in 33:05, with Jade Holt just behind in 33:27.

Spa Striders’ ladies’ record also fell, with Mairi Walker clocking 31:42 for fifth female.

Rachel Miller was first of the Kenilworth Runners ladies in 33:31 followed closely by Laura Pettifer (17th lady in 33:33) and Emma Garnett (18th in 34:00).

The ladies’ race was won by Knowle & Dorridge’s Rachel Gifford in 30:04 and 404 runners braved the conditions.

Leamington C&AC's Hannah Thorne.

Leamington C&AC's Hannah Thorne.

The races are coming thick and fast in the WRRL and on Sunday it was over to Hampton-in-Arden for the Arden 9.

The weather was somewhat kinder for the nine-mile race and Natalie Bhangal followed up course bests at the Two Castles and Sphinx 5 with another one in the West Midlands.

Her time of 57:22 was not good enough to give her the win, however, with Nuneaton Harriers’ Polly Keen running a superb 54:42 to take the women’s prize.

Sap Striders took the team prize, with fifth lady Mairi Walker (60:00) backed up by Claire Davidson (61:17) and Clare Hinton (63:10).

Laura Pettifer finished ninth female in 61:46 as Kenilworth Runners’ ladies finished second, with the improving Kelly Burnett- Nicholl (11th in 62:11) and Emma Garnett (12th in 62:15) completing their counters.

Striders’ men were also runners-up, with Ian Allen (50:04) third, Chris McKeown (51:27) fifth and Neil Smith (51:59) eighth.

For Leamington, Dominic Priest won the men’s under-20 category and was sixth over the line in 51:50, while Vassilis Andreoulakis was 17th in 53:26 and first MV45.

George Crawford was the first of 67 Kenilworth Runners, finishing tenth in 52:13.

He was followed by Ben Taylor (15th in 53:15) and Matt Dyer (25th in 54:29).

There were also category wins for David Leadley (1st V55 in 58:14) and Dave Pettifer (1st V65 in 64:47).

The race was won by Toby Spencer of Coventry Godiva Harriers in 49:13 and there were 380 finishers.

Five Kenilworth Runners travelled to Corby on Wednesday June 12 for the Corby 5, the fourth race in the 2019 East Midlands Grand Prix Series.

Neil Sheward was first home, finishing 71st in 33min 11sec.

Dave Pettifer was first V70 in 36:24 and Louse Andrews, suffering on the big hill in the last mile, finished third LV45 in 36:36.

Tom (47:37) and Pauline Dable (51:22) finished 269th and 283rd, respectively, with Pauline winning the 1st LV70 prize.

Leamington C&AC’s Elaine Sherwin was second FV45 and 117th overall in 35:54.

The race was won by Alistair McDonnell of Rugby and Northants AC in 26:40 and there were 297 finishers.

Meanwhile, Spa Striders’ Rich Sykes completed the Lakeland Five Passes Ultra which covers 35 miles and 10,000 feet of ascent.

He finished in eight hours and 18 minutes.

Sandra Stokes (2:50:50) completed the Offa’s Dyke 15 - her third race in a week - while fellow Strider Chloe Kinton (44:14) finished fourth lady in the Mattioli Woods Rothley 10k.