Memorable marathon for two of Matlock club’s leading ladies

CHESTER CHEER -- for Matlock Athletics Club duo, Tess Whittaker and Karen Morley, pictured with Tess's husband, Andy.
CHESTER CHEER -- for Matlock Athletics Club duo, Tess Whittaker and Karen Morley, pictured with Tess's husband, Andy.

The historic city of Chester provided the perfect setting for a couple of runs to remember by two of Matlock Athletics Club’s leading lady lights, Tess Whittaker and Karen Morley.

Tackling the MBNA Chester Marathon, Tess knocked a whopping 41 minutes of her previous personal-best (PB) time, clocking four hours, five minutes and 16 seconds to finish 12th in the female over-50 veterans’ class. While Karen marked her marathon debut by recording an almost identical time to finish as high as fifth in the female over-55 veterans’ class.

Both were delighted that three months of hard work had paid off in an event that attracted hundreds of runners and not only wended its way through Chester but also into the Welsh countryside. There were fine displays too by clubmates Craig Allen, who was 57th in the senior men’s category in 3-03.34, and Scott Thompson, who was 37th in the male over-40 veterans’ category in 3-11.12.

Meanwhile, back home, the Matlock club were singing the praises of junior runner Elsbeth Grant, who delivered an astounding performance on her debut in the multi-lap 5K monthly races at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield. Elsbeth was first junior home, 13th overall and her time of 18.46 minutes was only six seconds behind the first senior lady. What’s more, she beat her mum, Joanne, who was running for Milltown Milers and clocked 22.02.

Five other Matlock athletes took part in the event, hosted by North Derbyshire Running Club. Colin Davenport was an excellent third in 17.33, Jim Thorneycroft was 24th in 20.56, junior Ava Holden was an impressive 29th in 21.25, Dan Ashcroft recorded a solid time of 21.40 to finish 31st and Molly Gorman was 59th in 25.12.

Elsewhere, Matlock’s Finn Page claimed seventh place of 357 finishers in a time of one hour, 23.28 minutes in the fourth Tissington Trial Half-Marathon, while Paul Keetley clocked a fine 1-56.25 at the Blenheim Half-Marathon in Oxfordshire.

Five Matlock runners acquitted themselves well in the Shelton Striders 10K, which started on the old canal path at Alvaston and attracted a field of 350. Matt Haywood was 41st in a time of 39.14, followed by Simon Croft (59th in 39.53), Pete Wilmot (67th in 40.45), Katie Haywood (187th in 49.34 on her 10K debut) and Laurie Croft (219th in a PB of 51.42).

Two more Matlock stalwarts who deserve praise are Jan Forrester and Richard Bradbury. Forrester won the female veteran 60-64 class in the standard race (8,6K run, 38.8K cycle and 4.3K run) at the Oulton Park Autumn Duathlon, clocking 2-21.31, while Bradbury, partnered by Willy Kitchen, finished 16th of 107 pairs in the RAB Mountain Marathon in Snowdonia.