Andy Ward wins Percy Pud again
Andy Ward (Clowne RR) won the 2012 Percy Pud 10km road race to make it four wins in a row in this popular event. In its 20th year, this was the biggest Percy Pud ever with the organising club Steel City Striders upping the limit to 2,000 and all runners receiving a commemorative t-shirt as well as a christmas pudding.
The size of the field made no difference to Ward who took an early lead on the outward route along the Loxley Valley. For company he had a very good Leeds City athlete, Alan Buckley, but once Ward put on the pressure on the return run, Buckley could not respond and was almost 100 metres behind at the finish.
Amazingly, Ward, a landscape gardener from Bolsover, is still improving at 43 and his winning time of 30:45 was easily the fastest of his four wins. He set a personal best of 29:59 just two weeks ago at the Abby Dash in Leeds on an easier course. “This is a harder course and I rate my run as good as the Abby Dash. The organisation of this race is great and conditions were perfect”, he said referring to the beautiful winter sunshine that greeted the runners on the day.
Another Clowne Road Runner, Gareth Lowe was third with Will Beauchamp from Sheffield Running Club fourth. First junior was Josh Naisbitt (City of Sheffield) who finished fifth with a tremendous time of 33:04. Still only 15, Naisbitt had never raced this distance before and his time ranked highly among the seniors. Tom Jenkins was sixth and led Hallamshire, who had six runners in the top 18 places.
Rotherham’s Steph Burns, 32nd overall, was the first woman. Continuing a rich vein of form which has seen her win three South Yorkshire Cross Country League meetings recently, 20-year-old Burns, third last year, was two and a half minutes faster this time with 36:09, smashing her personal best by nearly a minute.
Second woman was Jo Buckley, who runs for Bingley and third was Sheffield based physiotherapist Eleanor Alexander, who runs for Southampton.
Runners from the host club Steel City Striders featured high up in the places with Ben Beattie 10th, Daniel Claus 15th and James Fulcher 22nd. Further down the field Michael Savage was 2nd male vet O/50, Dave Beech was 3rd male vet O/55 and John Kerr was 3rd male vet O/60.