Three and (anything but) easy for Worringham hat-trick heroes

FOR the third year in a row, Reading Roadrunners have won the men’s veterans title in the fiercely competitive Hampshire League. Men’s captain JAMIE SMITH here pays tribute to Mark Worringham and his brilliant squad…

Under clear blue skies and in glorious sunshine, the last league cross-country fixture of the season took place at Popham Airfield. Yes, that was actually the weather yesterday!

There was no sign of the mud that we have had to get used to over the course of the season and this was certainly very much appreciated after the recent mudfest at Parliament Hill for the Southern XC Championships.

We finish the cross-country season as veteran Hampshire League winners. The confirmation came with another first place finish for the team on the day.

This meant that we are the champions with a perfect score of just four points (for four wins!)… an amazing achievement in a very competitive league. The mightily strong Aldershot, Farnham and District squad trailed in second.

With such a strong veterans’ team performance it’s no surprise that we also had runners finish in the top ten overall for the season.

Mark Worringham was our highest placed runner in fourth place, just missing a podium spot by one point. Lance Nortcliff finished the season in equal seventh place and Andrew Smith ninth.

On the day itself 13 green vests lined up to race and were led home by another of the club’s veteran runners, Ben Paviour, in a fine 19th place overall. He was also second vet home. Hopefully we can persuade Ben to run a few more Hampshire League races next season.

Second home for the club was Mark Apsey in a season’s best performance in 25th place.

Mark Worringham finished a mere ten seconds back in 27th place (fourth vet), with Lance Nortcliff in 53rd (sixth vet) and David McCoy in 59th making up our scoring team. 

Also running were Andrew Smith (65th), Jamie Smith (77th), Ben Ashby (87th), Tony Page (89th), Chris Buley (116th), Pete Jewell (120th), Jon Green (215th), and Nick Adley (237th). Excellent running all round — well done everyone!

The men’s team finished in our joint best position over the season, with a fine fifth place on the day.

Indeed, fifth place was also the same position where we finished in the 2019/20 league table. An excellent effort, showing the real strength in depth that now exists within the club.

It’s been a fantastic cross-country season with two out of three league titles won.

Well done to everyone who has turned out throughout the season. We’ll be back for some more mud when the new season starts in October.

Now here’s SAM WHALLEY’S report on a great finish to the season by our ladies…

Sun, wind and a distinct lack of mud faced the ten female Reading Roadrunners in Popham, for the fifth and final Hampshire League fixture of the season.

With the SEAA XC champion on the start line, it was no surprise that Reading AC’s Jess Gibbon was again the race winner.

Freya Martin was once again first home for our club, matching her best position of 13th, and giving her 11th overall for the season.

Hannah Green followed in 26th, with Helen Pool hot on her heels in 28th (second vet and fifth vet overall for the season). The women’s team was sixth on the day and sixth overall on aggregate, which is an impressive result.

Sarah Dooley was next, in 40th (seventh vet and seventh vet overall for the season), with Chloe Lloyd in 54th. Completing the vet’s team was Emma Paton, in 63rd (20th vet), giving the vet women’s team their best finishing position of second and third on aggregate. 

This was a fantastic result, and a brilliant end to the season. If it were up to me, I would be rewarding team podium finishes, and top-ten finishes in the overall and vets’ competitions. But it’s not.

Other non-scorers on the day were Sam Whalley (93rd, 39th vet), Alex Bennell (106th, 50th vet), Claire Seymour (110th, 52nd vet), and Cecilia Csemiczky (141st, 71st vet, and second V70).

I am really grateful to the all the women who have turned out for the club this season, and proud of what we have achieved as a team. Well done!

Men’s results: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2020/20200208_hlmen.html

Women’s results: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2020/20200208_hlwomen.html

Action picture: Gemma Buley.

Parliament Hill squad left to reflect on a thing of brute-y

TWENTY-FOUR brave Roadrunners gave their all on London’s iconic Parliament Hill Fields course today. As ever, our captains are proud to quickly spread the news. Here’s JAMIE SMITH’S report on our men’s performances…

ROADRUNNER David Clay summed it up perfectly when he said: “Well, that was brutal!”

He was one of 15 men in green vests who took to the start line for this year’s South of England Cross-Country Championships at the bottom of the first of many daunting hills.

Among our team were seven debutants at the famous Parliament Hill course.

On the coach up from Palmer Park, there was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. As we arrived one of the younger age group races was just starting and everyone was eager to see how these youngsters tackled the first big hill.

Race time came round for us in no time at all and, having just seen our women’s team run so strongly, we wanted to do ourselves and the club proud.

Away up the hill, a swarm of runners were all looking to get a good start and find the right line for the first bend, which is known for being a bottleneck. After topping that first hill, the men had three full laps to complete to make up the 15km distance.

We were soon to find that this was not going to an easy day, with deep, heavy mud throughout the entire lap, each corner getting more perilous with each lap as the 1,172 runners trudged through.

Interestingly, the people who look after that part of Hampstead Heath use shire horses to help bring the ground back to good condition.

There has been a big debate around the distance of the men’s race and for me the battle to get round and beat the conditions makes it one my favourite races of each year.

The race was won by Great Britain runner Adam Hickey in a staggering 47 minutes 21 seconds. Perhaps being at the front meant he had easier conditions!

It was fantastic to have so many green vests on the start line and our squad managed a very respectful 24th position out of 81 teams. Well done to every single guy who tackled that course today.

We were led home by Jack Gregory in 116th, despite his having been unsure all week if he would run because of a heavy cold.

Our scoring six was completed by Matthew Richards (125th), Sibrand Rinzema (296th),  Callum Pratt (312th), Lance Nortcliff (356th) and David McCoy (385th).

Everyone should be incredibly proud of their run today.

And here’s SAM WHALLEY’S report on our ladies’ efforts…

Nine Roadrunners’ women lined up in pens 46 and 47 at the bottom of Parliament Hill, with a few having withdrawn through injury.

There was a mixture of nerves and excitement among those who were there, with some knowing what was in store, and others going on the hearsay of ‘it’s epic’, ‘you’ll love it’, and ‘it’s an amazing downhill finish’. We all knew it was going to be undulating, tough, and given recent weather conditions, very, very muddy. It was definitely a day for the 15mm spikes.

First home were Parliament Hill newbies Mel Shaw, in the form of her life despite developing a huge hole in her spikes mid-race, in 239th, and SEAA over 60s champion Jane Davies, in 248th.

Experienced XC runner, and the club’s FV40 XC championship winner, Sarah Alsford, was next, in 304th, with Chloe Lloyd, another Parliament Hill newbie, completing the scoring team in 313rd. The team was 41st out of 70 complete teams, which is a great result.

Following them in were Sam Whalley (426th), ‘try anything once’ Alex Bennell, only one second behind in 427th, first-timer Swinda Falkena in 455th, Liz Johnson, giving her new spikes the ultimate test, in 495th, and Claire Seymour, in 593rd, with all women finishing the tough 7.6km course in under 50 minutes. 

Well done to everyone who ran for us… and to the first lady home, Reading AC’s Jess Gibbon.

Our next visit to Parliament Hill should be for the National XC Championships in February next year. Who’s in?

Pictures: Gemma Buley, Pete Morris

Results: https://results.sporthive.com/events/6626442416927653632/races/472908

So you win again! How Ed Dodwell and our XC vets grabbed the glory

CLIMBING was the theme of this weekend’s racing for Reading Roadrunners. The dreaded ascent up to the mansion house in Prospect Park was the big feature of Saturday’s Hampshire Cross Country League fixture and that was followed today by the killer 3k drag up to the finish of the Woodcote 10k and the iconic remake of The 39 Steps at the Cliveden 10k. Club captains SAM WHALLEY and JAMIE SMITH have again filed accounts of the cross-country action and their reports follow my own missive from Woodcote…

QUIZ question: Who has been the most successful Reading Roadrunner over the last year?

Step forward please… Ed Dodwell.

As Ed climbed the podium to collect his customary M60 prize after the Woodcote 10k he said: “I’ve been very lucky. In the last 19 races I’ve entered I have had two second places and 17 wins.”

That’s not luck, Ed… that’s good running!

Roadrunners would have cleaned up at Woodcote but for four little problems…

1 There was no team prize. Had there been one, our four guys in the top 18 — Chris Lucas third, Brian Kirsopp ninth, Fergal Donnelly 17th and Tony Page 18th — would have walked away with it. No other club had more than one athlete in the top 20.

2 First lady home was our second-claimer Ellie Gosling. Unfortunately she was wearing the wrong kit!

3 No prize for Sarah Dooley for winning the W40 group… they handed it to someone else by mistake! Was coach Sarah miffed? Just a bit!

4 And no M70 prize for yours truly. There wasn’t one! Pity, the day had been going OK right up until the time I head-butted the pavement.

But there were still trophies for Dodwell, Jane Davies (F60 prize in her second tough race in less than 24 hours) and Lucas, a winner of this race in 2018 but a bronze-medallist this time after being run out of it in the last 400 metres.

Amazingly, three Roadrunners chalked up PBs on this tough course. On his comeback from injury, Tony Page managed an improvement of 28 seconds, George Nyamie progressed by 25 seconds and new member Julie Sugden (right), donning a green vest for the first time, found it made her over a minute quicker.

Brian Kirsopp, a winner last year, had to settle for second place in the V50s but my spies tell me that the man who beat him, David Parton, may soon be racing in a green vest.

There were 29 Roadrunners contesting the Woodcote event and 22 competing at Cliveden, where Ian Giggs was our first finisher and Elizabeth Ganpatsingh our first lady home.

Here’s SAM WHALLEY’S report on the Hampshire League fixture…

With this being our second visit to Prospect Park this season, the BBO XC Champs having been held here in November, there were to be no surprises in store.

The course, though, felt markedly different. I heard the mud described as soft, sticky, claggy… it was certainly deeper in places, especially on the hills and through the woods, and the boggy end of the field was indeed boggy. The course was, as usual, short, at 5k, and we continue to be baffled as to why we don’t run an extra loop that the men run, to increase the distance to nearer the advertised 6k.

Regular TVXC winner Freya Martin was once again first for the team, in an impressive 13th, followed by Hannah Green, making her debut for the club, in an excellent 37th. Helen Pool completed the team, in 44th (8th vet), and the team placed a fantastic fifth.

Mel Shaw, not really feeling the love for this league after a few years away from it, was hot on Helen’s heels in 46th, while Jane Davies did battle with a Reading AC rival for 52nd (11th vet, first V60), during what she called her warm-up for the Woodcote 10k. 

Chloe Lloyd continued her great run of form not far behind in 62nd, and our other Hampshire League debutante, Emma Paton, completed the vets’ scoring team in 73rd (24th vet). The vets team was a brilliant third.

Also having strong non-scoring runs on the day were Sam Whalley (that’s me!), Alex Bennell, Claire Seymour and Cecilia Csemiczky, with Cecilia just being pipped by her arch-rival from the Victory running club.

Well done to everyone who ran, and thank you to those who came out to support, mostly on the worst hill — what a motivator!

With one fixture to go, the women’s team overall is sixth on aggregate, while the vets are third, just one point ahead of Stubbington Green. We had a team of 11 at this race; It would be great to have an even bigger turn-out for the finale at Popham Airfield on February 8th. If you’re free, join us!

And here’s JAMIE SMITH’S report on the men’s race at Prospect Park:

A fantastic turn-out of 19 Roadrunners lined up for the penultimate Hampshire League fixture. It was great to see 11 runners making either the debut this season or turning out at the Hampshire League for the very first time. 

Having run the same course in December at the BBO, everyone was well aware of all of the hills and, indeed, once again the mud that was to come. 

Speaking with lots of the new faces, there was a mixture of excitement and nervousness pre-race. The Hampshire League is seen to be a step up in class from the TVXC, and one that really should not be there. This was best summed up after the race by first-timer Daniel Rickett: “Really enjoyed that” he said. “If I can do it anyone can!” 

Unfortunately, having picked up a few niggles in the recent TVXC event and with the depth to the team these days I had the chance to watch the race from the sidelines. It was thoroughly impressive to see the commitment and enthusiasm from all who wore the green vest yesterday.

At the front of the race there were plenty of top-level runners, including recent TVXC  winner Jack Gregory, who led the team home with his highest-ever finish of tenth. Jack has set himself a number of goals for this year and a top-10 finish in the Hampshire was one of those. One down, three to go!

Finishing in a fine 23rd was Ben Paviour, who was making his debut this season. Ben was second vet40 to finish after a run that was nearly perfect apart from an unfortunate stumble on one of the downhills.

Behind our leading pair the scoring team was made up by Mark Worringham in 33rd (fifth vet), Mark Apsey in 37th and this season’s cross-country ever-present Chris Burt in 57th.

This led to the senior team finishing in a fine sixth place, cementing our current sixth place in Division One for this season.

With one race to go our men’s vets team have all but secured the league title. They won the fixture yesterday thanks to a fine run from Andrew Smith, completing the team as 15th vet 40.

Congratulations to those who have scored and made this league win possible. Beating the Aldershot team is no mean feat.

In the men’s vets individual competition, we have an exciting conclusion to the season with mud-lover Mark Worringham currently in fourth place only one point away from third ahead of the final race at Popham airfield on February 8th.

Thanks to everyone who turned out on a cold and very windy day. Let’s be seeing some more of you, either at Popham or next season!

Hampshire League ladies: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2020/20200111_hlwomen.html

Hampshire League men: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2020/20200111_hlmen.html

Woodcote results: https://www.woodcote10k.org.uk/copy-of-results-2019

Cliveden results: http://onyourmarksevents.org/results-2020-cliveden-10k.html

Pictures: Pete Jewell, Jeanette Allcock, Nigel Hoult, Eddie Thorpe, Matt Davies, Chris Drew.

Nortcliff, Kirsopp the heroes as Roadrunners win at Lightwater

FIVE green vests in the top 20 meant a great finish to the Sunday XC season. Men’s captain JAMIE SMITH reports on Roadrunners’ challenge for the title…

THERE was a fantastic turn-out of Roadrunners at today’s final Thames Valley Cross Country League fixture of the season. What a way to start the New Year, with a distinct difference from the wet and muddy conditions we have had to endure so far this season.

It was a lovely spring day with a slight chill, but it was dry and sometimes we enjoyed a glimpse of sunshine breaking through.

All of this would suggest an easier day, but in reality Bracknell Forest Runners laid out a truly testing course. 

Taking place on the heathland around Lightwater Country Park, with gorse that seemed to reach out and grab at you, there were plenty of bloodied arms showing afterwards.

With a fair amount of dry conditions underfoot this allowed for a faster pace than we have had to get used to when ploughing through the mud. 

I would probably describe the course as never actually being flat, and none more so then on the long hill we had to run twice.

How would we rank the hills from this season? Sandhurst, Handy Cross or today’s… which was hardest? 

But there were — as should be included on all cross-country courses — a few technical muddy sections that allowed all of us to get a good covering of mud over our legs.

With the results still currently provisional, it looks as though our men were overall joint first on the day, with Windle Valley.

I’d like to thank everyone who has turned out for us this season. Everyone who runs plays a part in any team success — so well done all!

We were led home with another fine run from Jack Gregory in second place. Like all the top runners he had to survive a confused start, caused by a marshal not being in position and a lack of signage.

This brought the front of the field to a virtual standstill, only resolved when Bracknell’s Neil Kevern , the eventual winner, took the initiative to find the correct course. A potential disaster was averted but Jack had to work his way back past about 20 runners.

That’s Neil in our picture, battling it out with Tom Harrison and Kerri French.

Following Jack home in the scoring team was Chris Burt in sixth, Mark Apsey seventh, Lance Nortcliff 12th, myself 17th, and Brian Kirsopp 32nd.

Special thanks to Lance and Brian for turning out for this fixture after a last minute call to arms on Friday evening! Their performances were crucial in clinching top spot for the men’s team on the day and for the season.

So that’s the end of the TVXC for this season, but don’t worry there is still plenty of mud to be found if you feel you need some more.

Next Saturday we have the penultimate Hampshire League fixture and following that Popham Airfield stages the last races on February 8th.

Here’s SAM WHALLEY’S report on the Roadrunners’ ladies’ efforts at Lightwater…

It was great to see such a good turn-out of women for the last fixture of the season — I counted 25!

With last year’s race having been cancelled due to snow, and some of us not having run it many times, there seemed to be various memories of the course, but commonly mentioned were hills, bottlenecks, a ditch, and a lack of desire to run the second lap. Yep, they were all still there.

We have really missed Chantal Percival (right) this year, but work commitments have not always been able to fit in with the race schedule. What a surprise to see her today, and maybe less of a surprise to see her lead home the women’s team in fifth.

Laura Peatey was next, in 11th, with Mel Shaw hot on her heels in 12th. There followed a couple more seniors — Chloe Lloyd in 26th, and Renée Whalley in 29th — but it was our first vet, Claire Marks, who would complete the scoring team, in 30th.

Their efforts gave us second place on the day, and this seemed to me to be a fantastic end to the TVXC season. Well done to everyone who ran, especially those who were new to the club or to XC this year, and have embraced the mud. 

You have earned our ladies a final League position of fourth for the season.

If you’re wondering what you can do with yourself now, we still have two Hampshire League fixtures to go, in Reading (Prospect Park), on Saturday, and at Popham Airfield near Basingstoke on February 8th. 

You can also take a look at the email you should have received this week, with details of upcoming road relays. Let’s keep this team spirit up!

Results: http://tvxc.org.uk/results/detail?race_id=95

Final positions: http://tvxc.org.uk/content/league-tables

Pictures: Peter Reilly

Hark the herald angels sing, Corney proves he’s still king

After Roadrunners hosted a fantastically successful Thames Valley Cross Country League fixture, ladies’ stand-in skipper MELANIE SHAW has filed this report on what she has dubbed ‘Ar-mud-geddon’. Supplementary reporting by men’s captain JAMIE SMITH after his six-and-a-half-hours shift from set-up to leading the team and unpacking the vans..

FOLLOWING last weekend’s Berkshire Cross Country Championships and seven days of rain of biblical proportions at Ashenbury Park, the mud and water levels on the Woodley course had increased significantly, reducing it to a sea of treacle. Just what we wanted!  

Somehow between them Sam Whalley and Peter Reilly managed to find two very different courses, both very enjoyable. 

The latest leg-sapping course welcomed a fantastic 416 runners — including 77 Roadrunners — to celebrate the final Thames Valley XC League run of 2019, and surely the beginning of the festive season.

There were Christmas hats aplenty and the lovely Eddie Thorpe even donned his fabulous festive running gear. (Fear not, he ran in the required club vest for the race). 

The mood was buoyant — and needed to be given the conditions — and everyone seemed to enjoy the atmosphere of a great event.

Jack Gregory and Rob Corney — back after eight weeks out with an Achilles injury — led the field out and the spray from the runners was akin to travelling under a waterfall. The race was gruelling, and it was more effort pulling your foot out of the mud than placing it in front of the other one. We suffered two tough laps (of 4km each) before the final placings were decided. 

Fully recovered from his injury, Rob took first place and silver went to Jack a few muddy seconds later. 

Despite it being his first appearance of the season, our second-claimer Ben Paviour (left) was the first vet home in fourth place, just ahead of Sibrand Rinzema, whose impressive sprint finish gave Roadrunners four out of the first five places.  

If that wasn’t enough, we proudly welcomed Mark Apsey in ninth and another vet, Tony Page, in 20th, giving the club’s men a massive winning margin. With Chris Burt 13th and Jamie Smith 14th, we had nine finishers in the top 20.

I had the honour of leading our ladies team — with Laura Peatey, Jane Davies and Chloe Lloyd our other scorers — into third place. This gave the club joint first place overall, along with Datchet, after one of the Dashers’ scorers was disqualified for wearing headphones.

Sam Whalley was really pleased with the team result and wanted to give a shout-out to several other members… “Sarah Dooley was our fifth woman home, in the middle of her 14 mile long run — good going! Shweta Saikumar, who, having said just last week that she would not be back, was indeed back, and had a great run. She really will feel the benefit in the spring. Swinda Falkena’s big smile was back at Ashenbury for the second time, with Swinda claiming to have enjoyed the race much more, with the benefit of last week’s experience.

“It was great to see Annette Russell racing, after a difficult year, and Helen Wing, who had sworn never to do XC again, was a true professional in her XC spikes. Katie Rennie was back in green for this league only (at least for this year!), which was lovely to see.”

So, a big thank-you to Sam, Peter Reilly and all the wonderful volunteers who made this possible — from the course set up, the catering, photographers, results takers and the well-wishers. You really made our club proud!

Finally, congratulations to all the runners who managed to navigate themselves around the course. This event was a real show of club depth, with so many Reading Roadrunners running and/or volunteering.

Today was the final race of the year as a club and we can look forward to 2020 with a great deal of optimism.

The next XC event is the TVXC fixture at Lightwater Country Park on January 5th. Let’s start the New Year with another mass green vest race takeover!

That will be followed by the Hampshire League fixture at Prospect Park, Reading, on January 11th.

Have a wonderful Christmas all.

Results: http://tvxc.org.uk/results/team?race_id=90

Pictures: Chris Drew, Sev Konieczny, Peter Cook.

Love is all around as our ladies vets grab the Berkshire title

MELANIE SHAW reports from the Berkshire Cross-Country Championships and was too modest to mention in her intro that she led the Roadrunners’ veteran ladies team to a gold medal triumph…

THE Championships were a superb event. Race director Sam Whalley once again proved her superhuman skills in organisation to produce a slick, competitive and certainly difficult course at Ashenbury Park. 

She even managed to bake for the runners. A huge, unwavering thank you should go to all the amazing volunteers who braved the wind and cold to marshal the race and ensure its success. They should consider a career in aircraft control or, failing that, professional cheerleaders. They certainly kept me going.

From a competitor perspective — I am sure we all face races with trepidation (I certainly do) and this is normal. I want to take the opportunity to say nerves make us strong, they mean that our team and races matter to us; we want to do well. Nerves are to be celebrated, not feared: don’t let them put you off racing.

The conditions were arguably perfect for cross-country; wet,wet wet, and as Marti Pellow once sang: “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes” and we certainly felt it in our toes after the end of a muddy, slippery, sodden 10k. 

In some places — most notably the last 200 metres — it seemed more akin to running through a swamp than a park in Woodley. I considered swimming through the larger puddles.. it may have been more effective in places.

This was a day to celebrate the brave; the new 10k distance in competitive fields is not for everyone and certainly put off a few. However, the marvellous Shweta Siakumar stepped forward nervously to help the women’s senior team and without her they would not have been eligible to score for the team prize. 

Wearing her rather lovely new trail shoes, Shweta attacked the course. What a hero! Her participation meant the ladies secured second place in the women’s team event. 

Chloe Lloyd, first senior finisher, and Swinda Falkena, second finisher, completed the team. It just shows that if you are brave enough to show up you will be rewarded and Shweta was rightly delighted with her medal following a tough race.

There were some inevitable tumbles on the course, Chris Burt taking a second slip this season, so perhaps we can have a new Roadrunners award for most XC wipe-outs. Mind you, the speedy Helen Pool even took a fall (apparently the most dignified and graceful topple) on her own turf, so it just shows you how difficult the terrain was. 

Despite the conditions, roadrunners were out in spectacular full force. Jack Gregory secured third senior in the men’s race and with the men’s senior team of Sibrand Rinzema, Brendan Morris, Chris Burt, Chris Lucas and Calum Pratt won the second senior team prize.

Roadrunners vets also pulled out a fantastic performance in draining conditions, team captain Jamie Smith leading home the squad, with Tony Page and Lance Nortcliff following to guarantee third place in the men’s vets race.

With Sam ‘cool as a cucumber’ Whalley occupied with an abundance of race procedures and management — terrifyingly the caterers asked on the morning if it was an event at Newbury Showground — I had the absolute pleasure of stepping in as women’s captain and what a day to take on the role!

Bragging rights earned: Every one of the ladies who competed today took home a medal! They were amazing. Claire Raynor faced the technical run on her birthday like an absolute pro. Together with the legendary Lesley Whiley and Claire Seymour (who was unjustly wary of the field) they took home the vets’ bronze medals. 

The Roadrunners team also took the gold vets team medal, Mel Shaw (again weird talking about me in the third person, but I will get over it soon), Helen Pool and Sarah Dooley taking the shiny gold medals.

So, to conclude, a beautiful sunny day out in the mud, with fantastic rewards for the brave and valiant runners. I’d like once again to applaud the volunteers. This would not have been possible without you. I salute you. 

On a personal note, thank you for keeping us running when at times it would have been easier to give up and also for keeping us en route when disorientated in the sun. We would have quite happily run in the bushes to hide.

Feeling inspired? You should be! Fear not, you can recreate this joy next week in the final XC fixture of 2019. The Thames Valley League sees us once again splashing our way round the glorious hills and hummocks of Ashenbury Park on December 22nd at 11am. 

Thanks for that, Mel. Now the rest of the action…

The Henley mafia cleaned up at the Muddy Welly 10k in Crowthorne, Caroline Hoskins being first lady home. Carrie’s win meant the FV50 prize went to her great friend Julie Rainbow, whose son Matt, the Reading AC speedster, was first overall. Ed Dodwell picked up yet another MV60 prize.

There was a big personal triumph in Spain, where the popular Paloma Crayford finally crashed through the marathon’s four-hour barrier.

Paloma ran 3:52.59 in Malaga, an improvement of nearly 12 minutes on her time in London earlier this year.

“I’m feeling rather emotional as Malaga was my mother’s home town,” said Paloma after the race. “I would love to say that I am out celebrating but I’m drinking herbal tea. My body is feeling a little battered as the last three to four miles were painful . 

“I had to stop a couple of times to have a good drink and was battling with my mind to just keep going and push on. I’m hoping I’ve done enough to scrape through for a place in Boston in 2021.

“Now I’m off to meet my 90-year-old aunt. She lives a 20-minute from the course but I need to allow an hour as I’ll be shuffling.”

Paloma’s achievement will go down as another big success for the Katherine Sargeant-Sarah Dooley coaching team.

Berks XC results: http://www.berkshireathletics.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019/events/Berks%20XC%20Results%2015.12.19.pdf?fbclid=IwAR15x7nrFygjiBhlkA0XVYFNZecS1xXlsKuM0xOXxbs3vaE-YzgeDZnOkXY

Muddy Welly results: http://dbmaxresults.co.uk/results.aspx?CId=16421&RId=12013

Malaga Marathon results: https://sportmaniacs.com/es/races/zurich-maraton-de-malaga-2019/5df63a9f-ef58-4275-88bd-303eac1f122f/results#rankings

 

Roadrunners’ super-grans prove that they are still golden girls

Another successful weekend of cross-country racing for Reading Roadrunners, and here’s another in-depth report from ladies’ captain Sam Whalley…

IT WAS touch and go whether Jane Davies would be able to defend her FV60 title in the Southern Masters XC Championships in Oxford, but fortunately or us all, her new granddaughter Mollie arrived the previous weekend, leaving Jane able to slip away briefly and take on the ‘technical’ 6k course, with its grass, steep hills and plenty of mud.    

Jane and fellow FV60 team-mate, the relatively new to XC Tracey Lasan, described their approach to the rooty descents as ‘geriatric’. 

Despite their claims, Jane covered the course in a gold medal-retaining 28.46, in 33rd place overall including FV40s and FV50s, with Tracey in 30.09, 45th place overall, and picking up the bronze for the age category. 

The team was completed by Cecilia Csemiczky, in 45.53, 75th place, and the three women were crowned South of England FV60 XC champions.

Cecilia (right) was ninth in the FV65 age category, but will not know her true position as the SEAA does not have an entry option for FV70s. Maybe time for change?

In the same race, the MV70 team of Eddie Thorpe, Jim Kiddie and Ken Beck fared well in spite of a fast-paced start. Eddie was first to finish in 34.14, in 9th, slowed by a slip on a wooden bridge on the final entry to the field, which saw him taking a dip in the stream.

A little chilly and scraped, Eddie was cleaned up and left in good spirits. 

Jim had been allowed to make up a bit of distance on Eddie, though, and finished just behind, in 34.16, and 11th. Ken Beck was 12th, in 36.04, having not run XC for twenty years. Results show that no other club had managed to put together a complete team, and there was no team prize awarded. Perhaps that’s something else for the SEAA to review.

Also in the women’s race, Sarah Dooley was 30th (seventh FV40), in 28.03, Sam Whalley was 55th (18th FV45), in 32.18, and Claire Seymour was 65th (9th FV40), in 34.15. The FV40 team was sixth, while overall on the day the team of Sarah, Jane and Tracey was eighth out of 10 complete team

Colder air had arrived by the time of the main ‘younger’ men’s 9k race. First Roadrunner home was an impressive Tony Page in 36th (10th MV45), in 35.21, Fergal Donnelly, complete with sore ankle from a twist at Handy Cross, was 84th (22nd MV45), in 38.14, and Bryan Curtayne was 153rd (29th MV45), in 45.33. The MV40 team was 12th.

Sadly Fergal’s injury makes him a big doubt for both next weekend’s Berkshire XC Championships and our home TVXC fixture at Ashenbury Park on December 22nd.

Despite suffering the after-effects of a flu jab, Pete Jewell led the MV50s home in 102nd (19th MV55), in 39.08, followed by Gavin Rennie, in 105th (20th MV55), in 39.28, and Mark Andrew, in 116th (24th MV50), in 41.15. Non-scorer David Fiddes was 138th (28th MV50), in 43.32. 

The MV50 team was tenth, and overall the men’s team of Tony, Fergal and Pete was 17th out of 24 complete teams.

It goes without saying that these were excellent performances all round, in an event of such a high standard.

In other news, our second-claim runner, Ben Paviour, was fourth overall, and 2nd MV45, in 32.09, running for Herne Hill. But we won’t mention that. And another second-claimer, Sarah Urwin-Mann, was second lady overall, and first FV45. She was wearing the Reading AC kit, so we won’t mention her either.

Thanks for that, Sam! Now here’s the rest of the weekend action…

No foreign Sunday marathon this weekend for our usual international jet-set foursome… but that’s only because they raced on Saturday! This time they had the company of some real quality towards the front of the field, Brian Kirsopp running 3:28.06 in finishing 71st.

Paul Monaghan and Caroline Jackson ran 4:38.31, Martin Bush 4:52.36 and Pete Morris 5:09.10, despite a heavy fall. Once again they were moaning about having to run in baking hot temperatures, without too much sympathy from back home.

Another Roadrunner doing something a bit different was Joe Blair, who competed in the eight-mile Grim Challenge, an endurance/obstacle event run over an Army assault course near Aldershot. It made for a doubly grim weekend after he watched Reading get stuffed by Birmingham City at the MadStad on Saturday.

Joe — who finished second MV60 in 1:15.54 — said: “The good news is that I wasn’t too muddy at the end; the bad news is that the mud washed off during the last three miles, which involved wading waist-deep through seven or eight gullies of cold water. The whole thing was tough but fulfilling in a weird way.”

So when he lines up for the Muddy Welly 10k at Crowthorne next weekend it might not seem quite so…. muddy!

Nick Adley was the only Roadrunner to contest the Tadley Xmas XC, and he finished 71st in 1:02.25.

Pictures: Sarah Dooley, Pete Jewell.

Masters results link: https://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2019/seaamasters19.htm

All right, Jack? Of course he is, and the winner at Handy Cross

New men’s captain JAMIE SMITH had a packed weekend of successful racing on three consecutive days and still found the strength to send us this insightful report of the action…

A SLIGHTLY under the weather Jack Gregory decided to run only in the Thames Valley Cross Country League, rather than the Hampshire League. This proved a fine choice, with a solo front run to win the race at Handy Cross.

Saturday brought the third round of the Hampshire League XC fixtures and, being hosted by Aldershot ,we expected a number of top-class athletes and tough competition. Indeed, Aldershot proved their own team strength by providing the first five male runners to finish.

The air was cold but the ground conditions — when compared to the previous fixture in Winchester  — seemed to be somewhat more ‘runnable’. 

Once the majority of runners had arrived, we walked around the course together, finding a mixture of grass, short steep downhill banks and a technical twisting section in the woods, and of course there were also some pretty tough muddy sections.

Spikes laced up, we headed for the start-line. When the gun went it felt like a track race and what can only be described as a sprint for the first corner.

We had a total of 14 Roadrunners competing, being led home by the “mud lover” Mark Worringham in 46th. Our senior team finished in sixth place and that proved enough to keep us sixth overall in this season’s League standings.

The senior team scorers were Mark Apsey (53rd), Jamie Smith (56th), Chris Burt (66th) and Tony Page, having a fine run in 87th.

The men’s vet team had another excellent performance and continue to lead the way in this season’s league table.

The vets team finished the day second overall to host team Aldershot, who had clearly pulled out all the efforts to win their home fixture. Let’s make sure we return the gesture when the Hampshire League comes to Prospect Park on January 11th.

Ours vets were led home by Mark Worringham (3rd, right) and Tony Page (10th), who were backed by a strong run from Lance Nortcliff in 14th.

While the sharp end of the field is a stellar line-up of top-class athletes, everyone is welcome to take part and there were excellent runs by both Pete Morris in 262nd and Nick Adley in 270th.

It would be great to see some more runners at our next fixture in the New Year.

It’s not every race where you see a Great Britain international (Steph Twell) finish second in the ladies race and find another GB athlete (Andy Vernon) marshalling out on the course all afternoon.


A quick wash of the kit and refuel for some — including both captains, well done Sam! —who were doubling up this weekend, and the runners were raring to go at the next fixture in the TVXC.

This Sunday’s race took place at what is regarded by most runners as the hardest course in the league. I am sure those who had only just recovered from last week’s hills at Sandhurst were looking forward to even more today.

In dry and sunny conditions another large turn-out toed the line undeterred by this week’s exertions.

Before the race began we had a moment’s applause for Bracknell Forest runner Chau See, who sadly collapsed suddenly a week ago and unfortunately passed away this week.

I had the pleasure of knowing Chau for many years through my time at Sweatshop, where he was a regular runner, and then through parkruns, many local races and at Endure 24 every year.

Chau will be remembered for his unwavering smile that always greeted you and I am sure his family will have appreciated the moment taken to reflect. Some asked if there is a collection taking place and here is the link to it:

https://scannappeal.org.uk/ways-to-give/give-in-memory/

The Handy Cross race began in earnest downhill before the impending hills to come, and quickly we saw Jack Gregory take to the front. Even more quickly, he disappeared over the top of the first hill and out of sight.

The course, albeit a little drier than we have got used to in recent weeks, did not allow for any easier conditions. Every ascent seemed longer than the previous one but the descents that didn’t feel as long as what had just run up!

The men’s squad comfortably beat Datchet Dashers to the team win, with Jack being supported in the team by seniors Brendan Morris (5th), Sibrand Rinzema (7th), and Jamie Smith (10th). The two scoring vets this week were Fergal Donnelly with a fantastic run in 17th, and Paddy Hayes (44th).

Superb running by everyone at both these events and it was great to see the camaraderie shown between all club members throughout. 

The next TVXC will be our own host fixture at Ashenbury Park, Woodley, on December 22nd and it would be great to see as many members as possible turn out. Let’s make sure we can win our host fixture!

Now here’s the report from women’s captain SAM WHALLEY…

Wellesley Woodlands in Aldershot was the venue for the final Hampshire League fixture of 2019. Despite being our third visit to this location, it was the first time we had really been able to see the statue of the Duke of Wellington at the edge of the woods, having only previously experienced foul weather here before.

The women were first up, with their 6k course being made up of a start loop, one medium and one large loop around the outside of grassy pitches, and through twisting woodlands, with a couple of undulations, nothing major. The grassy areas were already pretty churned up and boggy.

The race started about a minute too early for my liking, as I was still tying my shoelace when the gun sounded, and everyone disappeared into the distance. It’s surprising how far away people can get in 10 seconds. What a rookie!

We were joined again by second-claim member, Freya Martin, who put in a fantastic run, finishing 19th. Helen Pool was 44th (fifth vet), and Sarah Dooley 56th (ninth vet). This gave the seniors team a very good sixth place. 

I think there should be a stewards’ inquiry into how Chloe Lloyd can now finish 50 places ahead of me in a Hampshire League race, or rather, it just goes to show that regular and sensible training can result in consistent excellent performances. Chloe was 65th, with Claire Raynor 94th (34th vet). The vets’ team was a fantastic third! Claire swears by a pre-race parkrun leg-loosener, but I’m too scared to give this a go.

The teams were backed up by me (Sam Whalley) in 116th, Alex Bennell in 121st, Claire Seymour in 132nd and Cecilia Csemiczky in 162nd (2nd V70).

Incidentally, Team GB’s Steph Twell was second, and said the years of training with Aldershot in those woods did not seem to have made them any easier. Even more satisfying then that many of us recorded our best performances on that course.

With the TVXC hosted by Handy Cross Runners the next day, a few of us — Cecilia, Claire Seymour and myself — were up for the ‘double’, being unable to resist the lure of the undulating Bradenham Woods course and its views (apparently there were some, but I didn’t see any).

Bringing the women’s team home was Laura Peatey in seventh overall, followed by Mel Shaw, who although feeling the effects of the sub-20 PB she achieved on the track on Friday evening still managed an excellent ninth. Sarah Alsford was our first vet female, in 23rd, with Claire Marks completing the scoring team in 26th.

There were too many other women to mention them all — which is great — but I must give a shout out to Claire Woodhouse for her storming performance, and Ros Crawford, who seems to be enjoying her first proper season of XC. Well, she keeps coming back for more.

Thanks and well done to everyone who took part in the XC events this weekend.

Here’s the rest of the weekend’s racing news…

Mortimer 10k champion Marcus Fletcher nearly grabbed another title when he finished second in the Mapledurham 10 in a super time of 1:03.41. However Brian Kirsopp was the big winner from the final club championship race of the season, the flying postie coming home ninth overall to wrap up the hotly-contested M50 age group prize.

Brian’s time of 1:08.17 was also good enough to clinch the coveted ‘all racers by age grading’ title, pipping Katherine Sargeant and  Alan Freer. Gen sec Bob Thomas has now produced the final standings and a jubilant Brian said: “A massive thanks to Bob for compiling them and organising all the races.”

Second Roadrunner to finish was Tony Page. In doing so carried off the club’s M40 crown as well as the Mapledurham M40 trophy. Tony was seventh overall in 1:06.46.

The only other club award to be decided was the senior women’s title, carried off by Donna Saunders after another good run.

In the Mapledurham 10k there were prizes for our first three finishers, Ed Dodwell (first M60), Sophie Hoskins (second lady) and Julie Rainbow (first F50).

Back at Palmer Park, Track Friday supremo Fergal Donnelly is trying to firm up dates for the 2020 meetings after another successful event last week.

Defying an icy track surface, Sibrand Rinzema won the opening mile in 5.02, beating off the challenge of two guest runners from Reading University.

But the Dutchman couldn’t repeat his success in the 5k, finishing second behind Ryan Faulkner, who won in 16.48.

There were stand-out performances — and big PBs — from Mark Dibben (17.52) and Mel Shaw, brilliantly paced by men’s captain Jamie Smith, dipping under the magic 20mins barrier for the first time with 19.53.

Pictures: Eddie Thorpe, Chloe Lloyd, Gemma Buley, Cathrin Westerwelle, Paul Monaghan.

Link to Mapledurham 10 results: http://dbmaxresults.co.uk/results.aspx?CId=16421&RId=12012&EId=3

Link to Eddie Thorpe’s Track Friday album: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOoRuBE7V5yY6u9Zj2PxVkrWlEv2wY1sGjTKeBD4DW2N6cZahlun5FyOQQu022OHQ?key=YnMxcElGNmhtY1l4UlNLeklBNnNianhQVV9RQXFR

Hampshire League links: https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2019/20191130_hlmen.html and https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2019/20191130_hlwomen.html

 

Muddy marvels! Roadrunners clinch another TVXC triumph

Roadrunners took a huge contingent of 70 athletes to the latest TVXC event and were rewarded with victory for the men’s team and third place for the ladies. MELANIE SHAW and JAMIE SMITH tell how they did it…

MUD, mountaineering and madness… Thames Valley Cross-Country League gets cruel at Sandhurst.

Well, we all join the League for some fun Sunday running; a chance to get out and explore new routes, meet new people and get involved in racing rather than clock watching or watch clocking.

But sometimes I do wonder what on earth I was thinking when I left my comfy, warm bed to embark on some of the most challenging, albeit beautiful, courses in the Thames Valley.

In true Jamie Smith fashion, we arrived nice and early at the stunning Lord Wandsworth College, Odiham, where the new men’s captain’s uttered the wise words: “You’ll be thankful for this close car park space when you’re done.” 

Three hours later, following a race and pack-down of infrastructure, my legs fully understood what he meant.

We set off merrily on our way to the start with fellow car-sharing team Dan Stockwell and Laura Peatey. It’s always good to car share — not just an example of our eco-friendly ethos but also very practical as parking can be tricky at these events and it’s a great opportunity to get to know fellow team members. Top tip: post on the club’s Facebook page if you ever need a lift. I’m sure you’ll get a quick response.

Celebrating birthdays was a common theme for today’s fixture. I am not sure I’d want to be spending my birthday morning splashing through mud and slogging my way uphill but fair play and a huge happy birthday to Colin Cottell and Sally Carpenter for being better human beings than I. I hope you had a blast.

The weather was utterly perfect:  a slight chill, a cinematic Sherlock Holmes mist close to the ground, but not a drop of rain in sight. Judging by the course condition this had not been the case in the days prior to the race. It was a mud-fest! Despite this, 70 wonderful, Reading Roadrunners turned out.

Undeterred by the previous days’ heavy rainfall, they donned their trail shoes, green vests and a wry smile… (OK, that might have been trepidation but I’m reading it as excitement) and lined up to face the experience.

Hearing rumours of potential bottlenecks on the course, the start was fast, with Sibrand Rinzema leading the men’s team out. 

From the moment the countdown begins, you always wonder what the course will bring. That’s part of the fun, right?  And this one did not disappoint… if you like hills.

Well this course seemed to go up FOR EVER (making for excellent hill training, which I am sure will make us all stronger in the long run). This was followed by what can only be described as a quagmire; ultimately, the reason we all do cross-country, surely? 

Then, just when you thought you were safe —  another hill. No, not a hill, a mountain. The kind of mountain you expect crampons and sherpas to help you with on some experiential travel package. Alas, here no donkey, only our poor legs. 

Good job this was followed by an incline through a claggy mud-field that added an extra 2kgs to each shoe! Oh, and then go around again. Two-lap courses certainly are challenging.

Roadrunners were led home in fifth place by Chris Burt, followed closely by Jamie Smith in sixth, Sibrand Rinzema in eighth and Mark Apsey in tenth. But it was our leading vets, Fergal Donnelly, in 24th and Brian Kirsopp, in 30th, who clinched victory for the men’s team.

The women’s team also ran really well to finish in a highly creditable third place. Laura Peatey (below) was our first lady home in tenth, celebrating her debut appearance to the Thames Valley League following up a corking performance at the BBO Championships last week.  

Mel Shaw (OK, a bit weird talking about myself in third person) came a close second in 11th, Chloe Lloyd 22nd and our first scoring vet, Sarah Alsford, 27th.

I really need to recognise the fabulous effort displayed by Gill Manton and Sophie Higgs who battled through the difficult conditions to finish together, as a team. It made me really proud to be a Roadrunner; ultimately, we are a team and it is our combined efforts that will make us stronger.

So, what’s next? Not had enough mud? Not hit enough trails and hills?

Well, we can help… the next exciting fixture is the Hampshire League race at Aldershot on November 30th. The women’s race (6k) is at 1.35pm and the men’s race (10k) at 2.30pm. What’s even better is that this is free as the club pays for your participation. 

If the Hampshire League is not your bag, then join us at Bradenham Woods for the Handy Cross Runners course on December 1st at 11am (it’s OK to walk the hills, you know) for more mud and merriment.  

Trail shoes are a must. £3 a runner, £4 guests and… there is cake on the finish line. You don’t even have to move to be fed. That gets my vote!

See you there.

* Two of the club’s Hampshire League stalwarts, Pete Jewell and Helen Pool, took the flatter, drier, option of the Jigsaw 10k at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey (where Top Gear is filmed)… and were rewarded for their efforts.

At least Pete, when finished 14th in 38:11, would have been rewarded had there been a prize for the winner of the M50 age group… but there was no such thing. Was he disappointed? Er, yes… actually he was!

But at least he had consolation of seeing his training partner, Helen, finish third lady and achieve a 12-seconds PB with a time of 40:47, a nice follow-up to her half-marathon PB last month.

Three other Roadrunners who opted to compete on a firmer surface were Mark Andrew and his wife Veronica, plus Lizzie Hogan. They ran in the Silverstone 10k on the Formula One circuit, Mark finishing in 42.10, Lizzie in 46.15 and Veronica 1:10.42.Meanwhile the “it’s-Sunday-so-it-must-be-overseas-marathon-day’ gang chalked up another visit to Basque country for the San Sebastian Marathon. Caroline Jackson just beat the 4hr mark with 3:59.12, Paul Monaghan ran 4:19.43, Martin Bush 4:31.24 and Pete Morris 4:35.05.

Results: http://tvxc.org.uk/results/team?race_id=92

Pictures: Phil Reay, Gemma Buley, Angela Burley, John Bailey.

Cross country? Jane did it twice on national service and local

Once again the great multi-tasker SAM WHALLEY has done the honours with the reporting duties after another weekend of success for the club…

READING Roadrunners’ veteran women have retained the Arthur Killbery Shield at the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Cross County Championships.

Mel Shaw, Helen Pool and Sarah Dooley were fifth, seventh and ninth in the over 35s competition, which put them level on points with Newbury AC, so it was the position of the third scorer which determined the outcome at Prospect Park.

The senior women’s A team of Chantal Percival, Laura Peatey and Mel Shaw was sixth. Laura seemed to have been unhindered by her lack of running spikes on such a muddy and hilly course, and Chantal commented that she had forgotten what these short races are like, especially with the advertised 6k actually measuring under 5k. 

It’s not really far enough for some of our long-distance runners to get into their stride, so perhaps next year’s race, which has been equalised with the men’s, and will be 8k, will suit the team better.

Jane Davies (left) was 12th vet, which is fantastic considering she had hot-footed it down from Liverpool, where she had been third FV60 and in the winning England FV60s team in the British and Irish Masters XC International the previous day. 

Jane remarked that the course at Prospect Park was certainly more interesting than the outer laps of Aintree racecourse.

Also putting in good runs for the women were Chloe Lloyd, Lesley Whiley, Claire Raynor, Sam Whalley, Toni McQueen and Claire Seymour.

In the men’s (slightly less than) 10k race, Jack Gregory (below) led the senior team to third place, with an individual third placing of his own. Jack said that he had been racing the winner, Alex Muir from Newbury AC, since he was a child, so knew what he was up against, but had enjoyed the battle the top three had fought throughout the race.

With six to score in the senior men’s race, Jack was backed up by Seb Briggs, Brendan Morris, Sibrand Rinzema, Jamie Smith and Chris Burt.

Seb also took home the medal for third vet overall, and led the vets team to second place, with Jamie Smith and Tony Page completing the over 35s team. It’s worth mentioning that Jamie had run a half-marathon PB at Dorney Lake 24 hours before.

Not in the scoring team, but also having strong runs for the men, were Lance Nortcliff, Pete Jewell, Andy Blenkinsop, Richard Usher — running his first BBO race for 20 years — and Ian Giggs.

This was an amazing performance for the club, and the effort put in by everyone is very much appreciated.

Far away from the mud and chill of Prospect Park, there were Roadrunners who found it too hot to produce times they were happy with.

The usual suspects of Paul Monaghan, Caroline Jackson, Pete Morris and Martin Bush were in Cyprus for the Larnaca Marathon, from where there were any number of excuses.

The race was run in 28-degree temperatures… there was a 1k kids race on the course at the same time forcing the marathon finishers to dodge 400 little ‘uns… and Pete Morris’s race was disrupted by the need to stop to feed pelicans. No, we’re not making that up. So, do Roadrunners back home feel sorry for them competing in that heat?

“Caroline and I ran rubbish times at about 4:40,” said Paul. “I was moaning about my dodgy calf injury and Caroline was suffering heat problems so we nearly pulled out at half way.

“Bushy did about 4:53 and Pete 5:05 despite splashing it all over Facebook that he would do sub-4.30.”

Next weekend the intrepid foursome will be heading to San Sebastian on Spain for yet another marathon and Paul said: “At least Morris shouldn’t have any pelicans to worry about this time.”

In rather cooler climes, there was a PB of over two minutes for David Clay at the Gosport Half Marathon where he finished in 1:31.32. “Coming after terrible runs at Maidenhead and Berlin this autumn it was a welcome confidence boost to run well,” said David.

Other Roadrunners enjoying a view across the Solent to the Isle of Wight (you don’t get that in Cyprus) were new member Pragash Nantha (1:35.33), stalwart Kevin Jones (1:40.10, six minutes quicker than last year), Liz Johnson (1:48.45) and Jim Kiddie (1:56.08).

It was Jim’s 17th appearance in the event and he finished fourth M70. “It was a bit fresh when we arrived,” said Jim, “but this is a very well organised race. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but very addictive.”

Pictures: Peter Reilly, Chloe Lloyd, Claire Woodhouse.

Results: https://bbocca.uk/files/results/2000-2049/2019-BBO_Champs.pdf