Runners celebrate another great year at Cornwall Grand Prix Road Race Series
THE end of season presentation for the 2012 Cornwall Grand Prix Road Race Series, sponsored for the fourth successive year by Cornwall Glass and Glazing, was held at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth, with the new venue filled to capacity.
Angus Herdman from the Series sponsors presented the awards and to the delight of everyone present confirmed the company's extension of their sponsorship for 2013, which was extremely good news and strengthened the position of the Grand Prix for the foreseeable future. Interest within Cornwall for the popular Grand Prix Series, the envy of almost every other county in the country, has certainly not waned over the past 12months, with 1,162 runners taking part in at least one of the 14 races, comprising 624 men, slightly outnumbering the 538 ladies.
In all, 186 runners completed at least eight of the 14 races, which qualified them for a special memento and a hardy, some may even say foolhardy, group of 31 runners, remaining free of injury and illness, to complete all 14 races.
The challenge of completing all races never seems to diminish, with eight more reaching this goal in 2012 compared to the previous year.
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The latter group included the Hayle Runners Scott Abraham and Matt Curtis and St Austell's Tim Adams who have all competed in every Grand Prix race over the past four years, totalling 59 races.
On the Ladies' side, Helen Rule (Hayle Runners) leads the way with 44 consecutive Grand Prix appearances.
England marathon international Emma Stepto (Cornwall AC) won the overall Ladies' title for the fifth consecutive year, but there was a new name on the Men's trophy – Justin Thomas (Cornwall AC) – who moved up from third place in 2011.
Emma narrowly missed out on a maximum score of 800 points, winning seven races and having to accept one second place finish in her final score of 799 points.
The Cornwall AC international finished seven points ahead of another international runner, Isobel Wykes (Truro Running Club), who represented England in the 100 kilometre Anglo Celtic Plate earlier in the year, where she finished second.
Heidi Cottam (Cornwall AC), one of the younger ladies on the Grand Prix circuit, made a very successful Grand Prix debut in June, completing her eight qualifying races over a relatively short five month period and moving into third place in the overall standings.
The Men's overall title was a two horse race this year with Thomas eventually pulling three points clear of his teammate and training partner, Colin Snook. Both athletes won twice in 2012 but the six runner up positions for Thomas clinched the title.
Both Cornwall AC runners will need to watch their step next year with the rapidly improving Tony Brewer, who finished third in this year's Grand Prix results, likely to pose a very serious threat.
The five race Under 20 competition again proved to be popular, giving the younger runners a taste of the Grand Prix over the shorter distances. East Cornwall Harriers again provided the Men's winner, with Steven Sims winning the title by one point from Aaron Jose (Cornwall AC), ahead of Callum Roberts (Newquay Road Runners) in third place.
Three races and three wins for Elisha Hurst gave the Cornwall AC youngster an unassailable lead in the Ladies competition, with Jess Behennah (East Cornwall Harriers) occupying the runners- up spot for the second successive year, beating third placed Lisa Foreman (Hayle Runners) by a single point.
Competition for the honour of being crowned the Most Improved Runner of the Year is always a coveted award.
The awards are open to runners of all abilities and paces, who have made big improvements in their race times from year to year and once again there were some excellent performances by all the contenders and each would have been a worthy winner in their own right.
The judging panel, after much agonising, awarded the Cliff Temple Shield for the Most Improved Female Runner of 2012 to Katie Bullock (St Austell Running Club) and the St Austell Trophies Shield for the Most Improved Male Runner to Richard Keefe (Falmouth Road Runners), with the Falmouth club capturing this award for the second successive year.
In the team competitions Cornwall Athletic Club once again led the way clinching the Mens and Ladies titles.
The club's men's team won the Tweedie Shield for the 11th successive year, with Hayle Runners improving from fourth position in 2011 to finish second, eight points behind the reigning champions.
Last year's runners-up St Austell Running Club shared third position with last year's third-placed club Newquay Road Runners, both scoring 789 points.
Cornwall Athletic Club Ladies team won the Julia Fox Shield for the fifth successive year, with the Ladies of Hayle Runners emulating the success of their men by finishing in second place, five points adrift of Cornwall AC but well clear of third placed Newquay Road Runners.
The Hayle club enjoyed further success winning the category for the highest number of finishers in Grand Prix races (839), ahead of St Austell Running Club (651) and Newquay Road Runners (544).
Results page 110.
CORRECTION: After further studying of the results by the organisers, East Cornwall Ladies have been declared winners of Division 2 of the Ladies' Championship and not Truro Running Club.