Much breath held at the Ouse - Lawrence Williams reports on the Great Ouse Marathon
The Masters Women joined The Great Ache on the Ouse for the first time. Four TSS crews entered, and every one of them broke the course record.
In sparkling conditions the women's E quad of Pat Canning, Claire-Louise French, Kasia Lawrence and Ann-Isabel Walker led the way. They completed the 22km course in 1:39.51, just shy of three minutes inside the women's E course record (and inside those of the other women's quads too), and achieved despite losing a top nut en route, to finish second behind Bedford.
Next were Katie Robins and Jo Al-Janabi in the E double; they won their event by a considerable margin. Their 1:45.19 also broke all previous records for women's masters doubles.
Fired with resentment at having been bumped from E to D, and panicked at the prospect of being beaten by the Masters Women, what should have been the E quad the D quad (Chris Shea, Rob Ashworth, Derek Bond and Ben Bridger) hurtled off the start at 29 and held it there for thirty minutes. It finally dawned on them that their chasing opponents had long since receded into the distance and they calmed down to win their event, and break the D record by more than minutes for good measure.
After some serious work with the address book a TSS/MAA F eight (Mike Gleeson, Colin Cracknell (MAA), Jan Koops, Lawrence Williams, Marcus Hine, Noel Davison, David Dewhurst, Mike Phelan and Kristian Wentzel (cox)) set a new record and fuelled the debate on second-half water breaks by recording a first half three minutes slower than their second half. Much breath was held until the results confirmed that the women had not beaten us.
It was yet another great day out in the sunshine with the Ouse hospitality unflappable in the face of a hugely expanded event.