Running: Cornwall Grand Prix round-up
THE Cornwall Grand Prix Road Race Series, sponsored for the fifth successive year by Cornwall Glass and Glazing, enjoyed yet another successful year in 2013 and the Falmouth Hotel welcomed road runners from across the county to the recent annual presentation of awards.
Emily Gunning, representing the series sponsors, presented the awards and to the delight of everyone present, confirmed the company's extension of their sponsorship for 2014.
Interest within Cornwall for the Grand Prix Series has certainly not waned over the past 12 months, with more than 6,000 entrants taking part in the 15-race programme in 2013, with 75 per cent of them coming from the Cornish clubs.
Two Hayle Runners and one St Austell Runner lead the way in 'Consecutive Grand Prix Race Stakes', with much interest likely to focus next year on the battle between Scott Abrahams (Hayle Runners) and Tim Adams (St Austell Running Club), who currently tie at the top of the list with 74 consecutive races.
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In the Ladies' section, there is an out and out leader, Helen Rule (Hayle Runners) having run in the last 54 Grand Prix races.
England Marathon international Emma Stepto (Cornwall AC) won the overall Ladies' title for the sixth consecutive year, with her club mate and training partner Justin Thomas retaining the top Men's award.
Another Cornwall AC athlete, Heidi Tregenza moved up one place from third in 2012 to claim the runners-up prize, with St Austell's Jessica Buscombe clinching third and overtaking Kathryn Burgess (Cornwall AC) by a slender two point margin, by winning the final Grand Prix race of the year, the Cornish Marathon.
Thomas finished 24 points ahead of Ken Walker (Newquay Road Runners), who in turn was 14 points ahead of last year's runner-up, Colin Snook (Cornwall AC).
The five Under 20 races again proved a popular addition to the age categories, giving the younger runners a taste of Grand Prix competition.
The five race mini series provided the first tie in the six-year history of this competition, with Ben Hicks (Mounts Bay Harriers) and Daniel Costello (Hayle Runners) sharing the title, scoring 294 points.
Dale Triggs (Cornwall AC) finished a close third, just two points adrift of the joint winners.
Caitlin Mulroy (Cornwall AC), with on win, one second and one third scooped the Ladies' Under 20 title but spare a though for Jess Behennah (East Cornwall Harriers) who occupied the runners-up spot for the third successive year, two points clear of another Cornwall AC youngster, 15-year-old Martha Carlisle.
Competition for the honour of being crowned the Most Improved Runner of the Year is always a much sought after and coveted award and this year proved to be no exception.
These 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.
In the Ladies' category, five nominees were put forward by their clubs and after much agonising by the judging panel the Cliff Temple Shield for the Most Improved Female Runner of 2013 was awarded to Georgina Speake (St Austell Running Club), with Hannah Smith (Hayle Runners) in second place and Tammy Jenkin (Falmouth Road Runners) taking third spot.
In the Men's section the St Austell Trophies Shield for the Most Improved Male runner in 2013 was awarded to Adrian Bastian (Hayle Runners), with Gary Richards (Mounts Bay Harriers) filling the runners up position and Paddy Talen (St Austell Running Club) in third place.
In the team competitions, Cornwall Athletic Club once again led the way clinching the Men's and Ladies team titles, scoring maximum points in both sections.
The club's Men's team won the Tweedie Shield for the 12th successive year with St Austell Running Club improving from third place in 21012 to claim the runners-up prize, as last year's runners-up, Hayle Runners, dropped to third.
Cornwall Athletic Club's Ladies team enjoyed their most successful season to date, winning the Julia Fox Shield for the sixth successive year, having clinched the team title as early as last July.
With six Ladies in the top twelve of the overall standings, this result was not surprising. There was no change in the other podium positions, with Hayle Runners once again finishing second and Newquay Road Runners third.
The Hayle club enjoyed further success winning the category for the highest number of finishers in Grand Prix races (788), followed once again by St Austell Running Club (665) and Newquay Road Runners (584).