Banbury 15 Report by Nick Sheard

The ‘Eynsham 13’ were among a field of 250 runners for the ‘Banbury 15’ 2020, run over a 15-mile course in challenging and wet conditions.

The near 250 starters were not observing any social distancing at all as they huddled together against the driving wind and rain and set out from Spiceball on a loop course that takes in the villages of Little and Great Bourton, Cropedy, Appletree (the road amassed with water-soaked potholes) and returning via the villages to the finish at Spiceball. Some natural physical distancing did occur as the field started to string out and the miles ticked by, although Eynsham maintained small subsets of club runners grouping fairly close together throughout.

Kate Allred capped a stellar performance with a second place finish in the ladies race in 101 minutes, with Mark Tyrell first Eynsham male and twelfth overall in 94 minutes. Peter Green, Richard Hume and Benedict Pollard also flew round the course in fast times. New Club Chairman Simon proved that he is a runner as well as a Walker by pipping yours truly to the finish line, with Toby Goss also securing a sub 2-hour finish. Alastair Graham, Stan Johnston, Anna Mackin and Jane Garton all finished with very creditable times and smiles on their faces. Special mention must go to Colin Hancox, who persevered to the finish line despite picking up an injury en route. At the front of the field there was a close finish with the race founder’s son just holding off last year’s winner James Bolton (Woodstock Harriers) to take the win by 22 seconds. The ladies team prize went to Cherwell. Headington won the male team prize.

The ‘Banbury 15’ has taken place every year since 1994, apart from two cancellations owing to the weather. The threat of neither Covid-19 nor the continuing rain was enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the Eynsham 13 who took part in the 25th running of this spring event. Let’s hope we are back next year and any ban has been well and truly buried by then….

Take care, stay safe, and stay well!