Not the Roman IX
Report – Pete Sugden.
Perfect Running Conditions – minimal wind, the sun shone, and it wasn’t hot. What more could the 304 finishers of the Not The Roman IX ask for?
The enigmatically named Not The Roman IX (NTRIX) road race took place on the last Sunday of January under blue skies
This 12 km road race is a favourite and often first of the local racing calendar, providing runners from near and far the motivation to resist that extra Christmas chocolate and to keep training during the festive period. This year’s NTRIX didn’t disappoint, attracting over 300 runners to brave the potentially arctic conditions of a January race.
The route started on Boundary Lane to the South of Tiddington. One mile takes the runners to Banbury Road, then it’s a steady climb to the left turn into Blue Lane, then a steep climb to the top of Long Hill, with views across Stratford and beyond.
Runners then have a chance to get their breath back, with a descent into Loxley, passing the halfway mark on Goldicote Road. Loxley villagers came out in force to support the runners, with a water station, outside The Fox. Then a descent to Stratford Road, where finding a rhythm helps eat up the next few miles before the final undulation past the Croft School, then right into Knights lane to stride out for half a mile to the finish at Alveston School.
First back in a blistering time of 38:38 was Stratford’s Ben Kruze. This was nearly three minutes quicker than the last time Ben posted a time for this race in January 2020, before the world changed.
Hot on Ben’s heels was Alistair McDonnell of Rugby and Northampton AC in time of 38:53, and in third place was Steven Hanly in 40:01.
The first female finisher was Kelly Butler of City of Stoke in a time of 46:02, followed by the phenomenal Kate Wright in a time of 47:01, 26th overall, and third lady was Natasha White of Northbrook AC in a time of 47:47.
Second Stratford runner was Richard Shephard in 6th place in a time of 41:25, followed Matt Burdus-Cook in 8th place in a time of 42:02. Both these times might have won the race in previous years.
Next in was the ever improving Alex Pester in 18th place in a time of 45:40. The superb running of Ben, Richard, Matt and Alex ensured the Men’s first team prize went to Stratford upon Avon AC.
Next in for Stratford, following our leading lady and Female FV55 age group winner Kate Wright, was Max Ross in 53rd place, in the very respectable time of 51:02. Max’s time was all the more remarkable as he had competed in the Midlands Cross Country Championships less than 24 hours earlier, as reported last week.
Next was John Peacock in 75th place in a time of 53:16, deservedly earning John first place in his MV65 age group. John was the first in a trio of Johns, with John Devine finishing in 79th place in a time of 53:46 and John Bettles finishing in 86th place in a time of 54:29, just pipping Paul Longford in 87th place in a time of 54:34, who in turn was only a few places ahead of Chris Spriggs, finishing 90th in a precise 55 minutes.
Steven Martin finished 179th in a time of 01:03:10. Mike Barrie finished 204th in a time of 01:06:14. Clare Enyon finished 240th in a time of 01:10:04. Graceful Kate Sergent finished 2nd in her FV65 age group, 249th overall in a time of 01:11:34.
Rosie Slocombe finished 283rd in a time of 01:23:24 and finishing the running order for Stratford, was the ever present John Butler, deserving his own age category, in 300th place in a time of 01:36:54
The comments, remarks and thanks of many of the 304 NTRIX finishers were truly humbling, and testament to the great work by members of our club.
People really enjoy braving the elements in January to run the NTRIX.
Thanks to Alveston School for accommodating our Race HQ and finish line, and Friends of Alveston for supplying copious amounts of tea and cake to marshals and finishers alike. Thanks to Avon Estates and Tiddington Bowls Club for permitting runners to park at Riverside Caravan Park and the bowling club.
Thanks to the community run The Fox at Loxley for providing a water station for runners and for all of Loxley who supplied raucous support. Thanks to the residents of Knights Lane for putting up with any disruption to your Sunday morning because of our race.
Indeed thanks to everyone who contributed to the smooth running of the event; marshals, car park attendants, signage erectors and dismantlers, leaflet distributers, everyone involved.
Extra special thanks to Sally and Gavin Bliss for marshalling the marshals and to Sarah Bland for making everything else happen.
Events such as NTRIX can’t take place without a small army of volunteers. Our next races are the Hilly One Hundred in May and Stratford Summer 6 on 20th August. Please look out for requests for help nearer the time, and step forward. It’s great fun!