THE 30th Tour of Milton Keynes was held last week and the winners of the women’s and men’s events just so happened to be related.
Organised by Milton Keynes Athletic Club stalwart Brian Graves, the Tour was made up of six races in six days, totalling roughly a full marathon in distance. And it proved a memorable week for brother and sister Dan and Wendy Webber as they dominated their respective groups to win.
Dan made a strong start to the week by winning the Tattenhoe Park 11km road run in 38m 37s, chased by first veteran Steve Herring (38m 58s) who was almost a full minute ahead of Peter Mackrell (39m 56s). And Wendy was the first lady home with a time of 42m 50s, giving her 12th place overall.
Day Two took the Tour south for the notorious Brickhill Woods hill race – a short cross country run with a ridiculously steep climb.
Dan was again first home, making light work of the tough course in 13m 21s, chased by Mackrell just one second behind and Herring another three seconds back. Wendy was again the first female home in 13th place, extending her lead in the women’s event with a time of 15m 09s.
The Tour moved to its northern most race on day three for the Potterspury cross country race, and for the first time there was a new winner as Matt Clarke (29m 47s) gained the upper hand on Dan by nine seconds, while extending his veteran’s lead was Herring (30m 01s). Wendy made it three wins out of three in the ladies’ category, finishing 16th in 33m 49s,
Day four gave the runners a chance to try their pace over one mile at the club’s Stantonbury track where Tom Comerford won in 4m 48.0s, followed by Mark Dowson (4m 52.2s) and Herring (4m 53.9s). Wendy was again the leading women in 5m 41.9s.
On day five the Tour was as central in Milton Keynes as it could be for the two-lap Campbell Park five mile race.
Mackrell headed the field in 24m 43s ahead of Clarke (24m 49s) and Tour leader Dan in 24m 52s, while Wendy was again the first lady home in 16th with 28m 16s.
The final day was as usual the Willen Lake six mile race, starting and finishing at Broughton playing fields.
Clarke (37m 19s) was the first home ahead of Tour winner Dan (37m 36s), with veteran winner Herring taking (37m 56s), as Wendy completed her women’s title win in 11th place with 40m 49s.
This year’s Tour was quite unusual in that no competitors dropped out and there were no changes to the overall lead in any of the categories. Dan finished with a total time of 149m 16s and Wendy 166m 35s for 11th place overall.
A special mention goes to Brian Graves who has run in or watched all 180 races in the 30 years of the Tour, and was presented with a special card of thanks from his club-mates.