What a Gray day! Nikki leads Roadrunners super show at BBO

Club chair SAM WHALLEY chronicles the action after another top team effort by the Green Vests today…

Eighteen Reading Roadrunners braved the weather at the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Cross-County Championships today… and it was well worth the trip!

While it had been fairly bright and pleasant in Reading, further along the M4 at Newbury Showground the wind was such that the early arrivals made an executive decision to abandon the tent and make do without. Fortunately the rain mostly held off during the races, but there was definitely a significant wind chill throughout.

A late change to land availability meant it was a three-lap rather than two-lap course for both men and women, mostly on grass and woodland, all run over 8k.

Nikki Gray’s was the standout performance of the day, with second place overall, and first vet. 

Nikki also won a medal for third overall women’s team, along with Kat Charles and Kaja Milczewska, and third vet women’s team, with Mel Shaw and Lorna McLeod. Kayleigh Forbes, Pauline Bravet and Toni McQueen also had excellent runs.

Mark Worringham (above, right) came out on top for the men, as first Roadrunner home and winning the prize for first vet. 

The vet men’s team of Mark, Dave Parton and Fergal Donnelly was third. With six to score for the overall team awards, the men’s team was fifth. Well done to Tony Page, Dimi Gospodinov, Ian Giggs, Mark Andrew, Gary Tuttle, Eoin McLeod and Jon Green for their excellent runs too.

Full results are here: https://bbocca.uk/results/

Anyone wishing they’d been part of the team action should enter the Berkshire County XC Champs at Cookham on December 17th. Entries are open until December 11th: https://data.opentrack.run/en-gb/x/2023/GBR/berkshirexc/

There were also some super performances among the Roadrunners who competed over 42k and 21k in Verona, Italy, today.

Stand-out was David Boulton, (left), whose 2:37.37 took over five minutes off his marathon PB.

There were also PBs in the half marathon for Julie Sugden — by three and a half minutes — as well as David Clay and women’s captain Chloe Lloyd.

Back closer to home, David Dibben made a welcome return from injury with an England Masters M75 qualifying spot at the Brighton 10k. Could he be the first Roadrunner to gain an England vest in three different age groups and at three different distances?! Any offers?

Roadrunners’ magnificent seven enjoy a right royal day at Windsor

 Committee chair SAM WHALLEY reports on a big day out for the club last weekend…

Reading Roadrunners were out in force at the Runnymede Relays, with no fewer than seven of the 30 teams entered coming from our club.

The event in Windsor Great Park has long been a popular one for us, and this year was no exception, despite the threat of rain, and the strong winds preventing the assembly of our shelter.

Green vests were pulled on, picnics were unpacked, and the teams — named Barbarians, Corinthians, Olympians, Coyotes, Trojans, Spartans and Athenians — were raring to go!

In recent years the race has shifted from three long legs (five miles) and three short (5k) to just six equal legs of around 3.7 miles each.

There was talk of long grass, but not too long, undulations, a bit of road, a steep gravelly section and a strong headwind. It all adds to the fun, along with trying to identify someone’s running style from across the park.

James Armstrong was back in fourth place on leg one, recording the fastest Roadrunners time of the day, with 20.42. 

Leg two saw Daniel Zagyva’s 22.11 gain a position, and this third place was maintained by Sarah McDade (24.40), Pete Jewell (23.21), Dave Boulton (21.39) and sealed by Brendan Russell, our youngest member, with a great run of 21.23. 

Having narrowly missed out on a podium spot last year, this was a super result. Well done, Team Barbarians (top picture)!

Team Corinthians (above) was sixth, Olympians tenth, with Jon Green making up eight places on leg two; the Coyotes were 23rd, the Trojans 25th, Spartans 29th and Athenians 30th.

The Trojans (pictured left), with a combined age of 439, were beyond delighted to have beaten the mass start, held at 3pm for anyone still to start their leg. Not that any of this event is about times really — more about the camaraderie and the experience — but it is still worthy of note that the club’s five fastest men’s times all came from the bronze medal-winning team, while the women were more widely spread.

Team Olympians’ Katherine West (right) was quickest, with 23.18, followed by Katherine Streams (24.10), Nikki Gray (24.16), Sarah McDade (24.40), and Chloe Lloyd (26.13).

Runnymede Runners have thanked us for bringing so many teams to the event – same again next year?

Here’s a link to the results.. https://www.runnymederunners.com/rr_summer_relays/. Unfortunately the official data isn’t accurate as far as our Athenians team is concerned… you’ll see a correct version when the next club newsletter is published later this week.

Three great long-serving members honoured with lifetime awards

Roadrunners chair SAM WHALLEY reports on some landmark presentations at the club’s annual awards ceremony…

Congratulations to Sandy Sheppard, Tony Canning and Bob Thomas, who have all been awarded life memberships of Reading Roadrunners.

Sandy has been a member for 21 years, Tony for 22 years, and Bob for 17 years, and the three were recognised by the existing life members and the committee for their
ongoing contribution to the running of the club.

All three of them had served in several roles since they joined, including as committee members, race directors, and charity co-ordinators.

Now, former treasurer Sandy regularly volunteers at club events, Tony — the brains behind the Track Friday meetings — continues to coach, and former secretary Bob carries out a number of administrative tasks.

The club sends congratulations to them all.

Our pictures show Bob with former chairman Carl Woffington and his award, Tony doing what he does best at the Palmer Park track and Sandy receiving her award from current chair Sam Whalley.

 

Farnborough, Bramley, Wokingham and Goring… Katherine won the lot

Roadrunners men’s captain TONY PAGE reports from the Goring 10k, the second club championship race of the year…

There was more success for the green vests at Goring, with trophies for Katherine Streams — the first lady — and the men’s and mixed team trophies.

This week I exchanged my running vest for a camera to watch the closing stages positioning myself at the top of the big hill and when I saw the leader in a green vest, I hoped for the best. Alas, it was a Harwell runner.

I needn’t have worried about the women’s race; our own Katherine Streams (right) took the first lady’s winner’s shield, in a time of 40.06, bettering her SuperVet (F50) course record and completing a clean sweep of wins in all the events she has contested this year.

Nikki Gray (40.42, left) was the second lady home and won the trophy for firstt senior woman with Florence Ledger (42.31, right), fresh from a PB at the Wokingham half, in fifth place. We would also have won the women’s team prize but missed out only because on-the-day entries were not counted.

Our top three men picked up a mixed team prize, with Dan Moore (35.51), in fourth place, Chris Lucas, (36.16) in sixth Callum Evans (37.24, in eighth) taking the trophy together with Katherine, Nikki and Flo.

We also took the men’s team prize with Chris Ryder (15th), Terry Dowling (16th) and Chris Webber (17th) all in under 40 minutes. 

Dave Parton, pictured with Chris Webber (below) collecting the team prize, finished 11th and was first SuperVet with a time of 38.15. But Dave was disappointed not to break the SuperVet course record set by our men’s captain last year.

There were a number of other PB’s on the day, including Sarah Richmond-Devoy (59.03), who didn’t get the hump when passed by the camel and said that she only kept going up the hill so as not to miss a photo-opportunity at the top.

* The inter-counties cross-country championship was held at Loughborough on Saturday, giving an opportunity for those who qualified through the Berkshire XC back in December to run for Berkshire.

Well done to Jacob Atwal who was Roadrunners’ sole representative, placed 46th and part of the team winning a silver medal in the Under 20s. It was a shame none of our senior men could attend this year.

* The next big event is Reading Half Marathon on April 2nd  and we can also look forward to seeing lots of green vests in round three of the club championship, the Maidenhead Easter 10 on Good Friday, April 7th.

* Goring results can be found at https://chiptiming.co.uk/events/goring-10k-2023/

Silver lining for Lance after Roadrunners suffer sinking feeling at the seaside

Roadrunners chair SAM WHALLEY reports from King’s Park, Bournemouth, on the final event of the cross-country season…

There was a tense end to the Hampshire XC League season on Saturday, with Roadrunners men’s team finishing ninth on aggregate in Division One, and in the relegation zone. 

This was despite men’s captain Tony Page’s best efforts to get a big team out. Home team Bournemouth did just enough to pull themselves out of the bottom two.

Skipper Tony said: “We’ll come back stronger than ever next season, aiming to win promotion at the first attempt.”

But he warned: “We will need to get more seniors out next year — all our runners at Bournemouth were vets.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, with Lance Nortcliff claiming an individual V50 silver, and Helen Pool seventh vet overall for the season. Julie Sugden claimed a 5k PB during the women’s race.

Roadrunners men’s scorers were: Lance Nortcliff (42nd, 9th vet, first V50), Tony Page (113th, 46th vet, 13th V50), Jamie Smith (122nd, 53rd vet), David Fiddes (184th, 105th vet, 41st V50), Mark Allen (185th, 106th vet, 10th V60). The team were tenth on the day and ninth over the season.

Our men’s vet scorers were Nortcliff, Page and Smith, with the team finishing ninth on the day and fourth overall for the season.

Full results are here: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2023/20230304_hlmen.html

Roadrunners’ women’s scorers were Kat Charles (30th), Helen Pool (43rd, 11th vet), and Chloe Lloyd (54th). The team were tenth and finished ninth over the season but avoided relegation.

Our women’s vet scorers were Pool, Sam Whalley (96th, 46th vet, 15th V50) and Claire Raynor (97th, 47th vet, 16th V50). The team were sixth on the day and fifth over the season.

Full results are here: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2023/20230304_hlwomen.html

Thank you and well done to Pete Jewell, Gary Clarke, Claire Seymour and Stephanie Smith for also making the trip to the coast and giving it their all. We’re already looking forward to 2023-24.

Final results in the club’s XC Championships are here: https://readingroadrunners.org/2022/03/tvxc-results/

* Sadly, there are no images from Bournemouth. Our pictures show Lance and Helen battling it out in the previous Hampshire League fixture at Popham.

 

Good Golly Miss Holly, you sure like a big PB in the club championships!

Men’s captain TONY PAGE reports as the 2023 club championship programme gets underway…

Once again the green vests were out in force in Wokingham on Sunday for the half marathon,  the first race in this year’s club championship.

There were more than 100 of us on the start line out of a high-quality field of more than 2,500 runners, with a winning time of 1.05.10 and first vet in sixth place with an amazing time of 1.08.20. Also, despite the undulating course, there were lots of big PBs to report.

The first Roadrunner to finish was closely contested between Seb Briggs in 1.16.26 (98th overall, 32nd M40) and Chris Burt (1.16.41, left), a three-and-a-half minute PB, with Joe Bend (1.18.51) and Chris Moseley (1.19.51) next.

Jeff ArmstrongDimi Gospodinov (1.20.21, PB), Dave Parton (11th M50, PB 1.20.35) and Callum Evans (1.20.52) all narrowly missed out on a sub-1.20 finish.

It was nice to see some strength in depth and hopefully this will continue throughout the other rounds of the championships.

Katherine Streams was first female RR to finish in 1.25.26 (32nd and first F50), followed by Nikki Gray in 1.26.26. Third place was closely fought out between Holly Sedgwick (1.27.49) and Flo Ledger (1.28.01, right, with Brooke Johnson), both sub -1.30 for the first time, and Kat Charles (1.29.29).

Helen Pool (21st F40), Katherine Streams (F50) and Stephanie Smith (34th F60) were first RR in their respective age categories.

Top age group places for the men were Seb Briggs (M40), Dave Parton (M50),  Alan Freer (1.36.19, 21stt M60) and Eddie Thorpe (1.56.01, fifth M70).

It was pleasing to hear of other landmarks being achieved — Pip White (1.32.48 PB, left), Liz Johnson (1.41.28 PB), Mark Allen (15-year PB, 1.46.04), Julie Sugden (1.48.13, PB) and Becky Mellor with a 19-minute PB (2.28.46), to mention but a few. 

Do please email results@readingroadrunners.org with your PBs so that they can be included in the results pages of the newsletter.

Well done to everyone who ran, and a huge thank-you to all of our volunteer marshals and to other members than turned out to support us.

Next Saturday, March 4th, is the last Hampshire League XC fixture of the season at Bournemouth. The next club championship race is the Goring 10K on 1March 12th. I hope to see lots of green vests there!

Here’s your link to the results and pictures from Wokingham: https://results.sporthive.com/events/7034491866264349440

Katherine the Great sets new age group course record at Bramley

Club chair SAM WHALLEY has once again been busy on her keyboard and has filed this report on a special day for Reading Roadrunners…

What a great weekend of running it has been! After three years of cancellations, due to flooding, coronavirus and storm damage, it was a relief and a joy to see the club’s flagship event, the Bramley 20/10 road race, finally take place.

Ryan O’Brien was first RR home in the 10 miles, fifth overall, with a PB of 56.03, with Dimi Gospodinov making his debut in 1.01.45, albeit hampered by a stitch late on in the race. Terry Dowling was third V50, in a PB of 1.03.59. In his last race in a green vest, Brian Kirsopp took first V60, with 1.05.41.

Katherine Streams (left) was first female RR to finish, also fifth overall, with a PB of 1.04.42, smashing the V50 course record set by Lesley Whiley in 2012. Nikki Gray was sixth, in 1.04.50, with Sarah McDade seventh, in 1.05.34.

There wasn’t much between the first RRs in the 20 miles either, with debuts for Callum Evans in 2.15.05, Matt Davies just behind in 2.15.09, and Chris Webber with a PB in 2.19.39.

Flo Ledger was first female RR, in a debut of 2.27.52, with Jane Davies first V60, in 2.37.54, and Mary Janssen in 2.45.21.

The 20 winner, Ronnie Richmond from Bideford (right), took a massive eight minutes off the course record for V40s.

Well done to everyone who ran, and a huge thank-you to the race committee and volunteers who made the event happen.

Some of our members had got their race fix on Saturday in the penultimate event of the Hampshire League, at Popham Airfield, where conditions were dry and rather mild, a huge improvement on last year’s wind and rain.

With one race to go, it was imperative that the men had a good turn-out to lift themselves out of the relegation zone. 

The scoring team of Mark Worringham (38th, fifth vet, left), Chris Burt (42nd), Lance Nortcliff (46th, 10th vet, 1st V50), Pete Jewell (93rd, 38th vet, third V60) and Tony Page (98th, 42nd vet, 10th V50) was seventh, moving up to eighth on aggregate, with the vets team (Mark, Lance and Pete) in 4th. Jamie Smith, Mike Worsfold and Gary Clarke also ran, with Gary making his debut in this league.

Scoring for the women’s team were Helen Pool (33rd, 7th vet), Sam Whalley (82nd, 35th vet, 11th V50), and Katie Rennie (86th), placing 13th. Claire Seymour (101st, 50th vet) completed the vets team, which was sixth. Kerri French also ran for the women, improving on her debut performance at Prospect Park last month.

Photos are here: https://hammy8241.smugmug.com/2023-Events/Hants-Cross-county-League-seniors-Popham

With the final fixture of the season on March 4th in Bournemouth, and the last chance for some XC for most of us, it would be great to finish on a high. Details here: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/events/hxcl_bournemouth.html and on our Facebook event page.

Big Roadrunners turn-outs for a weekend of double mudbaths

SAM WHALLEY reports on another busy weekend of cross-country racing…

Mud, mud, glorious mud, was the theme for the weekend as a total of 63 Reading Roadrunners lined up for the Hampshire and Thames Valley Cross Country Leagues, including Chloe Lloyd, Tony Page, Jon Green, Stuart Lunn and myself, who braved the double.

After the recent heavy rain leading up to Saturday, Prospect Park, the venue for the Hampshire League, was as muddy as we’d ever seen it, and those without spikes were relieved to have managed to remain upright on the undulating course. It was something of a baptism of fire for Eoin McLeod, running his first ever XC race.

Leading the way for the men was Ben Paviour (right),  in an excellent 12th place (second vet, first V50), backed up by Ryan O’Brien (23rd), Dave Boulton (39th), Chris Burt (54th) and Mark Worringham (57th, 11th vet), bringing the men’s team home in sixth. The final scorer for the vets team was Lance Nortcliff (18th vet, fourth V50), giving the vets team second place.

First to finish for the women was Kat Charles (left) in an impressive 24th place, followed by Helen Pool (44th, 12th vet) and Chloe Lloyd (51st), to give the women’s team eighth. 

Completing the vets team behind Helen were Ann Rostern (29th vet, tenth V50) and myself (34th vet, 12th V50), making the vets team fifth.

Hardly surprising that this local fixture produced the highest turn-out and the best team performances of the season so far.

Similar numbers at Popham, on February 11th and Bournemouth on March 4th, could save the men from relegation from Division 1. 

For full results, and current team standings, visit https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2023/20230114_hlmen.html and https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2023/20230114_hlwomen.html.

It was Matt Sarjent (below) who led the green vests home at Sunday’s mudfest in Lightwater Country Park, finishing in 11th place. In support for the men’s team were Fergal Donnelly (15th), Dimi Gospodinov (35th), Gavin Rennie (61st), Tony Page (65th) and Ian Giggs (66th). The men’s team was sixth.

Scoring for the women were Pip White (16th, right), Chloe Lloyd (25th), Mary Janssen (30th) and Claire Marks (43rd), with the women’s team also sixth. 

This overall team ranking of fifth puts the club in third leading into the final event of the season at ‘the hilly one’, Handy Cross, this coming Sunday.

Full results are here: http://www.tvxc.org.uk/results/team?race_id=108.

Thank you to everyone who turned up to run this weekend, and to the supporters who helped create the team spirit.

It’s not too late to take part in the XC Championship. Rules are here: https://readingroadrunners.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/RR-XC-Club-ChampsRules2022-2023.pdf and latest standings will be available here soon: https://readingroadrunners.org/2022/03/tvxc-results/

Here’s some links to photo albums from the weekend’s races…

https://m.facebook.com/david.priddy.58/albums/689009572690231/

https://flickr.com/photos/131942305@N02/sets/72177720305249275

https://drive.google.com/drive/mobile/folders/1SXRvgrCtJVRHbQqrc7AwvREuiarqWdVC?usp=share_link&fbclid=IwAR3nG0-_ucYBfkschB-GzoTX2UHjfeA8swz85HEWCwvix9y7u8p5zfP9RVI

Tidings of comfort and joy as Jacob’s cracker earns county call

Define ‘finger-in-every-pie’! SAM WHALLEY is not only the Roadrunners’ chair but also the secretary of the Berkshire Athletics’ XC section and a top runner herself as well as an ace reporter for this website. Here’s her offering from the weekend action…

Reading Roadrunners braved the freezing conditions at the Berkshire Cross-Country Championships yesterday, with medal-winning performances from our vets.

On a lapped ‘lumpy’ 10k course around fruit fields at Cookham, Under 20 Jacob Atwal came fifth in his 8k race, with Ryan O’Brien 13th in the senior race, which was won by GB steeplechaser Zak Seddon.

Both Jacob and Ryan received invitations to run for Berkshire at the Inter-Counties XC Championships at Loughborough in March, Ryan currently a reserve. Completing the fifth-placed senior team were Nathan Davies (27th) and Dimi Gospodinov (35th).

But it was bronze medal glory for Chris Burt, Fergal Donnelly (first V50) and Tony Page, who finished as third V35 team, a result only corrected after the event. That meant they were denied their moment on the metaphorical podium. 

Helen Pool was our only female entrant, finishing an excellent 12th in the 8k race, and picking up an individual medal for third V35 with her reserve place for Berkshire.

It was the second consecutive week that our vets were in medal-winning action, after the SEAA Masters XC Championships in Horspath last Saturday. 

In rather different weather conditions, the V60s team of Jane Davies, Tracey Lasan and Cecilia Csemiczky won gold, with Jane first V60 and Tracey third.

The men’s V50 team of Fergal Donnelly, Lance Nortcliff and Tony Page was third, with Ben Paviour first V50, running for his first-claim club, Herne Hill.

The women’s V50 team (Ann Rostern, Sam Whalley and Becky Mellor) managed fifth — even with Ann mistaking the women lined up for youngsters, missing the gun completely, and starting the race behind everyone else!

Helen Pool (seventh V40) and Claire Seymour were an incomplete team. Pete Jewell was eighth V60.

  • There’s plenty more XC action for everyone in the New Year — starting with the Hampshire League event at Prospect Park on January 14th and the sixth race in the TVXC at Bracknell the following day.

Remembrance Day? Roadrunners won’t forget this one in a hurry!

Following the success of our own Thames Valley Cross Country League event at Ashenbury, yesterday’s race at Datchet was another triumph for the club. SAM WHALLEY has the inside story…

Reading Roadrunners took the overall win in the TVXC fixture at Datchet this weekend, with the women in first place and the men in third.

As is the tradition, the race started at 11.02, following a two-minute silence for Remembrance Day. The backdrop of Windsor Castle and the distant sound of church bells and the Last Post made this very moving.

Definitely the flattest and most trail-like of the XC courses, with even some concrete path, this is a popular fixture with our members, and 58 turned up to take part.

First of our women to finish was Sarah McDade, second female overall, with Nikki Gray in third, Holly Sedgwick seventh and Helen Pool (left) tenth, with both Holly and Helen first-timers at TVXC. This was the second consecutive win for the women’s team, a fantastic result. 

Keith Russell was our first male scorer, in eighth, with Matt Sarjent (16th), Nathan Davies (17th), Fergal Donnelly (24th), Brendan Russell (29th) and Callum Evans (33rd) completing the scoring team to round off another great result — third behind Maidenhead and Datchet.

Those of us further down both the men’s and women’s fields will have helped keep other teams’ scores down, so it really does make a difference if we get big teams out for these XC events.

The weekend was a double-header for many members, after the start of the Hampshire League season in Aldershot on Saturday.

In what was a huge turnout of 196 runners, the women lined up alongside the likes of Steph Twell for their race, made up of loops of grass and woodland.

First scorer was Helen Pool (67th, tenth vet), with newcomer Isobel Nicklin (85th) and Ann Rostern (91st, 21st vet) making up the scoring senior team, which was tenth. Sam Whalley (156th, 50th vet) was the final scorer for the vets team, which was seventh. Cecilia Csemiczky was our fifth team member on the day, in contrast to Aldershot, Farnham and District’s 28 runners.

A huge 296 runners finished the men’s race, which was again heavily weighted towards host club AFD, with 40 of their members taking part, and seven of them in the first ten!

Our eight-man team did us proud in this totally stacked field, with some entertaining battles towards the finish. First scorer was Ryan O’Brien (40th), followed by Mark Worringham (80th, ninth vet), Chris Burt (102nd), Lance Nortcliff (129th, 24th vet) and Dimi Gospodinov (149th), for a seniors team placing of tenth. Tony Page completed the vets scoring team in 156th (38th vet), with the vets team 6th.

This was a tough but incredibly enjoyable day at the office, with team spirit in abundance and a brilliant atmosphere.

First-timer Isobel (left) said: “As a new member of Reading Roadrunners, I signed up to the first Hampshire XC League race of the season. The day was really enjoyable, there was a huge range of abilities racing which is always great to see.

“During the race there was lots of cheering from the men’s team which I really appreciated as it was the first time I had met most of the other Reading Roadrunners; they were all very welcoming. The atmosphere for the event was fantastic, you could tell everyone was really enjoying it.

“The highlight for me had to be Sam’s brownies and Pete’s sausage rolls! I will definitely be competing in another one soon.”

With that kind of feedback, what are you waiting for? Let’s keep the momentum going with the next TVXC fixture in Sandhurst on November 27th and the Hampshire League in Bournemouth on December 3rd. Look out for final details in your emails/spam and on social media.

Thank you and well done to everyone who represented the club this weekend, especially those who joined me for the double: Dimi Gospodinov, Tony Page, Mike Worsfold, Helen Pool and Cecilia Csemiczky (right).

An album of Eddie Thorpe’s pictures from the Aldershot race can be found at https://photos.app.goo.gl/b68Wn8fAAPGeq8kD7

Go to hampshireathletics.org.uk  and tvxc.org.uk/league-results for all the weekend’s results.