In-form McGrath ends 2021 on a winning streak

Off & Running: The start of the 2021 Clevedon 4 miles road race with Felix McGrath (291) to the fore. Photo courtesy of Clevedon AC

FOR Felix McGrath it was another Boxing Day success as the Clevedon 4 miles road race returned to the calendar this year.

The Bristol & West AC was the reigning champion from when the popular event was last held in 2019, with Covid having claimed the 2020 race.

If anything McGrath is running even better than two years ago as he again won in style clocking a time of 19mins 19secs – compared to 19:34 in 2019.

In addition, McGrath’s victory rounds off a tremendous end to the year as the previous weekend he cantered to victory in the Tri-Counties Cross Country Championships just to underline his versatility.

Clubmate Jack Bancroft chased hard but had to settle for second 11 seconds adrift and then there was a big gap to Westbury Harriers’ Ben Rawlins in third. Rawlins did well to hold off former winner and ex-Belgium international runner Jean-pierre Weerts.

B&W Joe Connors and North Somerset’s talented junior Sam Gentry – who two years ago finished 24th in 22 minutes-  completed the top six.

Aldershot Farnham and District’s Emma Pallant has dominated this race in recent years; she was absent yesterday but AFD still claimed the honours through Laura Gent as she just held off Arena 80’s Anna Hughes-Davies.

Weston AC’s Alice Smith was the first local runner in third as she continued the decent form she has shown in the Prom 5 miles road races in what, according to her Powerof10 biography, is her first season of competitive racing. Clearly she will be one to watch in 2022.

Men: 1 Felix McGrath (B&W) 19:19; 2 Jack Bancroft (B&W) 19:30; 3 Ben Rawlins (WH) 19:57; 4 Jean Pierre Weerts (Belgium) 20:00; 5 Joe Connors (B&W) 20:02; 6 Sam Gentry (NSAC, U20) 20:28.

M40: Kieron Summers (Weston) 21:17

M50: Jon James (Wells) 21:14.

M60: Steve Hale (TB) 25:58; 2 Dave Bedwell (B&W) 26:20.

M70: Stuart Ellis (PRC) 28:12.

Women: 1 Laura Gent (AFD) 23:51; 2 Anna Hughes-Davies (Arena 80) 23:55; 3 Alice Smith (Weston) 24:14; 4 Amy Nichols (B&W) 24:58; 5 Debbie Powell (Clev, W50) 25:45; 6 Olivia Sadler (unatt) 25:55.

W40: Robyn Ellis (WH) 27:01.

W60: Yvonne Cox (EGRC) 29:56.

769 finishers.

W70: Anne Dockery (B&W) 32:30.