LAUREN Cripps and Tom Comerford were the two winners of Marshall Milton Keynes AC’s six day Tour of the city.
After the opening two days of racing around Tattenhoe and Brickhill Woods, day three saw the 57 remaining contestants go to Campbell Park for a testing two lap race over five miles starting and finishing near the fountain, and running down the steep hill of the belvedere to the canal, before starting the low climb back along the H5 redway to the finish line.
Once again it was the Tour leaders heading the way home with Comerford winning in 24 minutes 26 seconds, extending his advantage over Matt Clarke by almost another minute as Matt finished in 25m 18s, while the other Tour rankings remained virtually unchanged as Mark Dowson (25m 36s) came in 3rd and Peter Mackrell (25m 40s) 4th.
The first woman home was Wendy Webber (28m 26s) in 19th, but as she was no longer in the Tour so it was guest runner Wendy Clark (29m 30s) in 24th taking the Tour victory and moved up one place overall. But that was not enough to catch 30th place Cripps (30m 16s) in the overall rankigs.
Day four and the ‘tourists’ moved home to Stantonbury for the track mile – a race that attracts a lot of interest from non-tourers as it is a rare opportunity to race over the full four laps rather than the one and three quarters of the 1500m which they are far more used to,
Not that this made any difference to the Tour leaders who both won again to extend their leads as Comerford headed a trio of sub-five minute runners to record 4m 38.5s followed by 2nd Matt Clarke in 4m 54.6s and 3rd Mark Dowson (4m 58.8s).
Women’s leader Cripps crossed the line in 5m 46.8s with a clear margin of victory, but the race for 2nd was much closer as the two Wendys fought it out with Wendy Clark just getting the better of Wendy Webber as the pair finished in 5m 56.0s and 5m 56.1s respectively.
Day five and the Pottersbury Cross Country moved the Tour to it’s northern most spot but there was not much difference in the outcome as Comerford showed he was as capable on mud as he was on the roads or track as he won his fifth consecutive race, finishing in 28m 18s for an almost unassailable lead over Clarke in 2nd (30m 04s) and 3rd Dowson (30m 42s).
It was a similar story for the women as Cripps came home in 27th by taking 35m 38s to extend her lead over 36th Clark (37m 28s).
Although by day six the major placings for the Tour were almost set in stone, there were still contests further down the field for age group positions or just to try and catch the runner ahead, and so the last day brought the contestants to Woughton playing fields for the Willen Lake six mile race made difficult by the gates and cattle grids along the one lap circuit.
However, there was again little change in the top ten as Comerford made a clean sweep of the Tour by winning the sixth race in 36m 43s with Clarke (37m 40s) having to settle for another 2nd place while in 3rd was non-tourer Daniel Webber (38m 21s)./
The final race for the women resulted the same as the first with now non-tourer Webber (42m 30s) first back in 17th spot followed by 25th Clark (45m 33s) and 27th Cripps (46m 17s). However, the slight slip up by Cripps had little impact upon her inevitable overall win.
So at the end of a tough six days the top 10 were; 1st Tom Comerford with a cumulative time of 145m 53s, 2nd was last year’s winner Matt Clarke (152m 05s), 3rd Mark Dowson (154m 53s), 4th Peter Mackrell (156m 05s), 5th Andy Kirschner (158m 57s), 6th Ross Mackenzie (159m 04s), 7th Chris Norman (161m 11s), 8th Dave Abraham (161m 34s), 9th Andrew Wasdell (163m 36s), 10th Gary Blaber (163m 47s).
Women’s winner Lauren Cripps (182m 47s) finished in 23rd position overall, while three paces behind in 26th was Wendy Clark (184m 36s) and in 28th Julie Dalzell (188m 03s).
Altogether 52 runners completed the full Tour with the oldest competitor 75-year-old Milford Callow taking home the honourable ‘wooden spoon’ in an overall time of 279m 09s.