The Wednesday Night Running Club’s second handicap race last week was even more competitive than the first.
The big hitters were anxious to set their mark for race No.2 of the Wednesday Night Running Club 3 mile Handicap Series.
With two past champions facing off and the arrival of the venerable Chris Sutton into the mix it was sure to be an all or nothing affair.
They all want the coveted Jim Kelly award.
After a record breaking 17 minutes 30 seconds in the first race Neal Ainscow was last to leave, a full seventeen and a half minutes after the first runners set off.
Despite such a daunting challenge he managed to claw back most of the deficit, finishing less than two minutes behind the first finisher from the main handicap, again nailing the three miles in 17:30.
He is getting closer to the front and after another nudge to the handicaps he could make it all the way in the third and final race this Wednesday. 6pm from the old World Gym on Lawrence Boulevard.
There were bodies strewn everywhere at the finish as the main pack arrived en mass and competitors collapsed over the line in exhaustion.
Organiser Tony Watts offered to buy everyone a drink but they decided that he will do that at the end of the season function on 31 October.
Within 60 seconds Steve Clements pipped Michael Treacy, Ruth Masserella held off Rodger Yeomans and Jenny Broadbridge.
Watts said: “On average, run times improved by 30 seconds compared to Race 1. With a dozen people still able to win the event outright and the finish expected to be even closer, Race 3 should be another cracker.
“The time handicap event is supposed to favour the improving runner but this year it’s turning into a blood and guts, who wants it most, slugfest.
“Most people who compete in events and finish in the middle of the pack are putting in 100 per cent but it’s often overlooked and goes unrecognised.
“With this event the effort is obvious and the close finish and friendly rivalry seem to raise the bar even further and inspire people to give even more.
“No matter where they finish if they’ve thrown everything they’ve got at it and there was nothing more to give, then the battle has been won, they walk away happy and proud, job done.” It should be a nail-biting decider.