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Great Races of the Past: 1969 Two Bridges 36 Mile Race (SCO) - by Lazarus Lake

Interest was centred on how Alastair Wood (Aberdeen AAC) would perform in his first effort above the marathon distance.  A fast pace was also assured by the presence of Phil Hampton, already the winner of three marathons in the year.  Wood moved away from the rest by five miles to record 58:36 at ten miles.  He was followed by Hugh Mitchell (Shettleston), Phil Hampton (RNAC), Roger Cressy (Hillingdon) and Ken Grant (Army), with Ron Bentley, Gordon Bentley and Mike Evans of Tipton plus Jim Wight and his brother Alex Wight (Edinburgh AC) all inside the hour.

Hampton joined Wood by 20 miles (1:55:31), with Jim Wight, Mitchell and Cressy within sight at 1:56:11 and Alex Wight, Ron Bentley and Evans inside 6 minutes a mile pace.  Into the steep hill out of Bo'ness (22 miles), Hampton and Wood were still piling on the pace to reach 25 miles together in 2:24:08.  Just afterwards, on the straight but undulating stretch to 30 miles, Wood managed to escape to reach that point in an incredible 2:52:33.

Surprisingly a new danger threatened because an inspired Jim Wight was gaining ground in second place (2:52:48).  Hampton was beginning to fade and Cressy and Mitchell looked dangerous.  Five men inside 3 hours for 30 miles and the race was wide open as they reached the Forth Road Bridge. 

Jim Wight continued to inch up on Wood over the next two miles but just when it looked as if the race would be his, Wood drew on those deep reserves of his, built up over years of top class running, and drew away steadily to record at the finish the magnificent time of 3:27:28.  He was followed by Jim Wight running the race of his life; then Mitchell who said he just couldn't have run any faster; Hampton, probably tired after a long fine season; and Cressy in his first attempt at a race of this distance. 

1.  Alastair Wood (Aberdeen AAC)  3:27:28; 
2.  Jim Wight (EAC)  3:29:30; 
3.  Hugh Mitchell (Shettleston)  3:31:31: 
4.  Phil Hampton (Navy South)  3:35:40; 
5.  Roger Cressy (Hillingdon AC)  3:37:19; 
6.  Ron Bentley (Tipton)  3:51:15;
7.  GE Johnson (Tipton)  3:53:13; 
8.  T Parr (Bolton United H)  3:57:28; 
9.  Bill Carr (Tipton)  4:00.04; 
10.  Bob Meadowcroft (Bolton)  4:02:33. 
First Veteran: John Cox (Newbridge AC, Eire) 15th in 4:10:32.
First Team:  Tipton Harriers.   
44 starters.  37 runners finished.    

by Lazarus Lake (USA) via ULTRAlist on June 29th, 2012

5.7.12 12:29

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