Romance was the furthest thing from the minds of the hundreds of runners from clubs across the country competing in the Stamford St Valentine’s Day 30K on Sunday.
Stamford Striders, Bourne Harriers and Nene Valley Harrier were strongly represented in the race.
The strong field of 630 runners took on the undulating course starting and finishing in Stamford and in between running through the villages of Little Casterton, Tolethorpe, Ryhall, Careby, Pickworth and Great Casterton.
Tony Gilbert was the first of the Bourne Town Harriers to finish in an excellent 57th position in a time of 2:06 followed by Shaun Hill in 100th place who bettered his 2013 time by nearly three minutes, completing the course in 2:13.
The lone brave female Bourne Harrier, Karen Clarke was 310th in a time of 2:34, equalled by Richard Houghton one position behind in 311th.
Des Adey made up the Bourne quintet finishing in a time of 2:38 and a very creditable 343rd place.
The race was won by Aaron Scott, who lives in Stamford and runs second claim for Nene Valley Harriers.
He broke the nine-year old best by more than a minute when he broke the tape well over five minutes ahead of his closest rival in 1:37.52.
He covered the challenging 18.62m at an average pace of just over 5min/mile pace to complete an astonishing 140 mile training week.
Fellow NVH athlete Philippa Taylor also continued her impressive winning form, obliterating the F45 record by more than seven minutes in 1:58.08. She was followed in by team mate Tracy McCartney, whose time of 2:03.50 proved she is well on course for a strong marathon debut in London in less than two months’ time.
Scott said he was happy to fulfil his plan to run the first 16m of the 30k at marathon pace a few weeks out from his second attempt to hit the Commonwealth Games and European Championships qualifying standard of 2:16 or below at Manchester in April.
He said: “I was running around 5:10 pace through 10 miles before the wind and hills took effect and was even a little quicker through 10k - I think the sub-5 first two miles was a little too quick! I then relaxed back into around marathon pace over the middle 10k, and once I got to 25k I eased off slightly.
“However, with it being a tough last 5k, it was quite hard to ease off, and I actually ended up running 5:15 pace for the last few miles.”
Training partner Taylor is also in heavy marathon training for the Manchester marathon, having already won over the 26.2m distance this year in Gran Canaria.
She was pleased to retain her title on her home training ground. She said: “I was simply planning to go sub-2 hours, which I did fairly easily, and go slightly under marathon pace, which I also managed.
“I know that if I can manage a good pace on the unrelenting hills of the 30k course, I should be able to do the same for longer on the flat! It’s always nice to win a race on home territory, and with the bonus of getting the V45 record, to join my V40 one from a couple of years ago.”
Taylor’s time was so fast that she was actually third in for NVH, but the men had to wait for Sean Beard to cross the line in 1:59.51 to make up their prize-winning team, led in by Michael Moore in 1:50.37 and Paul Lunn in 1:51.18.
Full Stamford Striders results: Jim Morris (1:57:12); James Skinner (2:05:31); Richard Skidmore (2:12:17); Nick Greenwood (2:21:35); Victoria Old (2:23:47); Jim Regan (2:23:57); Andy Wade (2:24:47); Matthew Kefford (2:25:52); Nathanael Freeman (2:26:04); Ed Fancourt (2:26:16); Heidi Myles (2:28:24); Mark Davies (2:28:36); Viv Middlebrook (2:31:31); Chris Deadman (2:32:44); Adrian Fisher (2:33:22); Jill Walker (2:44:26); Sam Smith (2:46:35); Simon Marvel (2:48:13); Kieran Nally (2:49:50); Helen Schofield (2:51:27); Claire Jaggard (2:53:27); Amy Williamson (2:53:33); David Spooner (2:57:33); Suzanne Moon (3:03:54); Stephen Moore (3:29:15) and Helen Morris (3:36:54).