Corney smashes club record

ROB CORNEY broke the 23-year-old Reading Roadrunners club half-marathon record with a sensational second-place finish at Wokingham on Sunday.

Corney trimmed four seconds off Howard Grubb’s record with his time of 69 minutes and 20 seconds.

He was only beaten by the Great Britain Olympic marathon star Scott Overall (65:11).   

Afterwards a delighted Rob (right) said: “I had Overall in my sights… for about 500 metres!”

Rob was always in the front group of the best of the rest and chased down the former Reading AC runner Johnny Roberts in the last three miles.

“I noticed Johnny was tiring,” he said. “So I started to reel him in. I got into second with about one mile to go and then just had to grit my teeth and maintain the pace to the line.

“I didn’t go into this race with a target but sub-70 was a target for the spring so I’m pleased to get it.”

His Roadrunners team-mate Matt Richards was our second man over the line in eighth place in a time of 71.01.

Rob was one of three Roadrunners to win a Berkshire county athletics championships gold medal at the event, along with Alex Harris and Alan Freer.

And there were silver medals for four of our ladies – Gemma Buley (below), Erica Key, Mary Janssen and Lesley Whiley – as well as your author.

Those awards were the icing on the cake for the club after another hugely enjoyable and successful Wokingham event which, sadly, I understand may be the last.

Rumour has it that several of the committee are considering standing down after many years of service and replacements are hard to find.

That’s a shame because Wokingham has a reputation for being the local ‘half’ with the noisest, most supportive marshals and fans.

If Overall is the final winner of the event, it is a pity his tweet “Solo run at Wokingham today” sounded a bit sniffy and dismissive.

It is six years since the 35-year-old Londoner ran 61 minutes in New York and, if he doesn’t like running solo, he should drop back through the field where he can find some excellent company among those of us grinding it out in the middle of the pack.

He would be privileged to run alongside people like my old training partner Melanie Shaw who, after a year out injured and over two years since her last ‘half’, was well pleased to finish in 1:42.

Or he could have run with fire fighter Vince Williams, who came straight to the race after being on duty all night (last call 5.30am) and still managed to turn in a 1:40.

And he could have teamed up with one of Chris and Gemma Buley, a really nice couple who are fast becoming the top husband-and-wife team in Reading Roadrunners.

The Buleys are slaughtering their pbs every weekend these days, starting with ‘his & hers’ pbs on consecutive weekends at Woodley and then Reading parkruns.

At Bramley, Gemma (right) knocked 10 minutes off her best while Chris professed himself disappointed with a time of 2:31 for his first 20-miler.

At Wokingham, both ran 10-mile pbs on their way to new marks at the 13.1 distance, Chris improving by six minutes and Gemma by four.

Gemma, of course, has a top running pedigree, being the great-niece of the former world cross-country champion Stan Eldon, but Chris only took up running late in life when he got fed up waiting around for his other half to finish ultra-marathons.

The secret of success for the two teachers seems to have been their decision to train together outside of any Wednesday evening groups at Palmer Park.

“The biggest difference for us has been putting in the hard work together,” said Gemma. “Training at track with just the two of us has meant that we can plan sessions that work for us.

“The next big target for me is to hopefully take a chunk of time off my marathon in London and for Chris to get round his first marathon in Brighton.”

Competition to the Buleys for the honour of top family at Wokingham came from the usual suspects, Caroline and Sophie Hoskins.

While the new England call-up Caroline was the Roadrunners’ first lady home in a new pb time of 1:24.17, daughter Sophie tasted success for the third successive weekend, with a half-marathon pb to follow pbs at 10k at Chichester and 20 miles at Bramley.

Going even one better than that was the PB Queen, Helen Dixon, who made it three in the space of eight days, with Wokingham following new marks at the Bramley 10 and Woodley parkrun.

The pb roll of honour from Wokingham, led of course by Corney, the Buleys and the Hoskinses, included a 12-minute improvement by Grant Hopkins down to 1:24, ten minutes off by Beth Rudd, six by Sarah Walters and five by Stewart Wing.

Our senior men’s club champion, Justin Simons, pulled off a great double, following up his 1:29.06 pb at Wokingham with a course record in a swimming-and-5k run duathlon at the Oratory School straight afterwards.

Other Roadrunners to make it a pb double at both Bramley and Wokingham were Katherine Sargeant and Tony Streams, as well as Paloma Crayford and Maria Norville.

Also setting new marks were Dan Brock, Sarah Richmond-De’voy, Erica Key, Ian McGuinness, Susan Knight, Tony Long, Gareth Goodall, Holly Towers (right), Katie Gash, Gary Clarke, Veronika Royle and yet another of Katie Gumbrell’s quickly improving group, Diane Hodder.

It surely can’t be a coincidence that a good percentage of these people were among the very few braving the deluge on the track last Wednesday night. And one of the last runners to finish their training despite the Noah’s Ark conditions… Caroline Hoskins. End result of her efforts… an age grading of 87.98 per cent. There are no short cuts on the way to the top.

While the award for runner of the day on Sunday undoubtedly went to Rob Corney, the award for coach of the day went to…. Rob Corney!

Rob has been coaching my son, Mark, who achieved the astonishing improvement of FOURTEEN minutes from 1:39 down to 1:25.35.

Mark (left, chasing down Caroline Hoskins) is a veteran of the Sweatshop Running Community set-up and has made huge strides since he started training regularly with the club wonder-boy.

“It was great to see Mark lay down such a good time,” said Rob. “Partly because he proved me right… I told him he could go 1:26 and he laughed at me. Now he’s clearly thrilled with the time and it’s good to see him enjoying his running so much.”

So that’s the secret! All you have to do is train with Rob Corney! Just try it for five minutes and see how it goes….

·        All the results at http://www.sportsystems.co.uk/ss/results/Wokingham%20Half%20Marathon/3457

·        See Chris Drew’s Flickr album at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-drew/albums/72157693562632655/page1

·        See Sev Konieczny’s Flickr album at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/46406693@N08/sets/72157663832190697

 

 

 

Morris leads pb extravaganza

THERE were no fewer than 22 personal bests on the weekend the road-racing season got into full swing at the club’s flagship occasion, Bramley.

Pride of place went to Brendan Morris, our second finisher in the 10-miler behind the returning Keith Russell, with a time of 58mins 11secs.

Brendan was 11th overall, just ahead of another Irishman, Dave McCoy, who also dipped under the hour. Our trio also picked up the silver medals in the team event.

The big pb in the 20-miler was bagged by Seb Briggs, fourth overall in 1:56.40. Seb cleaned up at the prize-giving, taking the MV40 category prize with more than 10 minutes to spare and then carrying off the second-place team award with Alex Warner and Lance Nortcliff.

New international Caroline Hoskins started the season as she means to carry on, slashing a minute off the 12-year-old course record for 20 miles in a new pb time of 2:14.22.

Carrie, who will wear an England vest for the first time in May, finished fifth lady overall and took the FV50 age group award with more than 12 minutes to spare.

Our first lady home at 10 miles was Jane Davies in 1:11.01, a time comfortably good enough to capture the FV50 prize.

Jane also led Helen Pool and new member Katherine Foley to third prize in the ladies team award for the shorter distance.

Hopefully this is a definitive list of the PB’s from the 20-miler, in the order of finishing: Briggs, Paddy Hayes, Katherine Sargeant, our top man’s wife Loretta Briggs, the superstar’s daughter Sophie Hoskins, David Walkley, Dave Brown, Paloma Crayford and Sarah Richmond-De’voy.

Missing altogether from the results submitted to the club newsletter was Peter Manning, who finished 305th in a time of 2:45.52.

In the 10-miler the new best marks were set by Morris, Gareth Goodall, Vince Williams, Sam Whalley, Nicola Gee, Chloe Lloyd, Maria Norville, Zoe De La Pascua, Jenny Boxwell, Helen Dixon and Sarah Walters.

Sadly, your correspondent scored a notable double of a personal best followed by a personal worst at the weekend.

The best (usual corny joke coming up) was in the Bramley 20, for the very good reason that it was my first time over the distance.

The worst was in presenting the results for the club newsletter straight after the event.

New editor Peter Reilly was anxious to make a good fist of his first edition, giving a very good impression of Tom Hanks playing the boss of the Washington Post, so copy deadlines were tight.

And he wanted a couple of reports on the race, plus a write-up of the club’s Hampshire League success, on the final whistle.

A lot to do… and I’m afraid I made a bit of a pig’s ear of the stats.

This data is always provisional for some considerable time afterwards, but that’s no excuse to my sins of omissions. Apologies if the newsletter listings appeared with some members missing altogether and several personal bests not acknowledged.

I knew things were going badly when I saw David Ferguson post on Facebook that he had achieved a pb. I’m afraid he wasn’t in the original results at all and, consulting the bible that is Power Of 10, he’s still not!

Then I saw a picture on a Flickr album of Claire Woodhouse crossing the line, but I knew I hadn’t spotted a time for her, either.

For the record, Claire’s time for 10 miles was 1:23.14 for 257th place and I think I also missed Martin Douglas, 288th in 1:24.25. A time for June Bilsby, a late swapper between the two distances, must remain one of the great imponderables.

As ever, your best chance of getting your name up in lights is to mail your race details to results@readingrunners.org as soon as possible after races. Simple as that.

You can also post in on the club’s Facebook page, send it to my personal email account, text me, tweet it or send it by pigeon. But results@readingroadrunners.org gets the job done.

There was also a pb at the weekend for Kerry Eastwood at the Worthing Half Marathon. Tip for recognition, Kerry: Enter your races as a Roadrunner!

 

Pictures kindly supplied by Barry Cornelius.

England call for Caroline

ROADRUNNERS’ superstar vets Caroline Hoskins and Mark Worringham have both qualified to represent England. The pair returned stunning times in the south of England championships at Chichester to earn international places in May.

Carrie will now line up in an England Masters vest in the Great Birmingham 10k… but Mark is sadly unavailable for the big day. The former Roadrunners captain finished 12th overall in the fiercely-competitive Chichester Priory 10k and was the winner of the MV40 age group in 32mins 57secs.

Like Mark, Carrie just missed a personal best, but her time of 38mins 44secs was good enough for third place in the FV50 section and 18th lady overall.

The first three Masters in each age group will line up in England colours against another international team yet to be announced. And they will have pride of place in an advanced starting pen just behind the elite group.

Now the Henley grandmother faces an anxious wait for official confirmation of her call-up. A thrilled Carrie said:  “It was a hard race and very windy, but a great event.

“I presume I will hear soon from England Athletics but I have no idea when so I will celebrate when the email comes through. Fingers crossed.

“I was 24 seconds off my 10k pb but happy with that in the conditions… very, very cold and very windy for the last 4K.”

To complete a great day of family success Carrie’s daughter Sophie improved her pb by over two and a half minutes with a time of 42:02.

Unfortunately Mark, who has already represented his country this winter as a cross-country international, won’t be able to join Carrie in Birmingham.

“I will be away that weekend with the boys’ rugby club,” he said, “so I never put myself forward for consideration. I was entered for Chichester before they announced it was a qualification race.”

He was disappointed, too, not to manage a pb. “My best time is 32:05 on the track and 32:22 on the road,” he said. “In fact, I think I’ve run quicker than today about six or seven times.” But Mark has plenty of big targets for the running year ahead, starting with a tilt at a sub 2hrs 30mins in the Brighton Marathon in April.

And he also has the Masters World Track and Field Championships to look forward to in Malaga in September. Along the way he will be seeking that elusive sub-32mins 10k.

Carrie, meanwhile, also has plenty of big targets in the next few weeks… Bramley, the Wokingham and Reading Half Marathons and then London, where she will be aiming to finish in under three hours again. 

Both the Roadrunners’ experienced stars have been nominated by the club in the ‘veteran achiever’ category in the Reading sports personality of the year award next month.

Middle-distance runner Helen Pool was also nominated for a local SPOTY prize in the ‘improver’ category.

 

Meet the new editor

IT will be business as usual next month for the Roadrunners newsletter following the appointment of a new editor.

Club stalwart Peter Reilly is taking over from Chris Cutting, who has quit after a brilliant four-year stint in the hot seat.

Peter said: “They are big shoes to fill but I am happy to give it a whirl. I am a firm believer in ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, so no huge changes should be anticipated.

“Having said that I do not have the design skills or the software to emulate Chris, so there will be changes to format if nothing else.

“I am keen to complement rather than compete with the club website so I do not plan to repeat everything that has been on the website in the newsletter. There is room for both mediums to co-exist quite happily.

“One change you will see is that I am keen to email the newsletter to all members in addition to making it available on the website and in hard copy for those who don’t have computers.

“The reports from the chairman and team captains are vital to pass on information. However, I hope to be able to draw stories and articles from the membership that are both relevant and interesting.

“I’ve got plenty of ideas of my own but I would be really interested in hearing from the membership what they want to read about.”

The new boss threw in a couple of topics to get the ball rolling. “How about ‘I have  a knee/calf/hamstring injury, what can I do to repair/recover?’ or ‘I run like an overloaded wheelbarrow but I want to run like Fergal, what do I need to do?’

“Hopefully suitably qualified club mates or even outsiders can answer these types of questions.

“In the absence of contributions from the membership there may well be thoughts from me… now there’s an incentive to get writing.”

Scotsman Peter has been with the club for six years after meeting many of our members through his involvement with the core volunteer team at Reading parkrun.

He has also been responsible for the start-finish area at the Bramley 10/20 event and will be in charge again in a couple of weeks.

A brilliant photographer at our events, Peter has recently produced a big improvement with his racing form, coinciding with his favourite running genre, cross-country.

His predecessor, Chris, leaves at the end of a year in which he delivered a monumental body of work as production editor of our multi-award-winning book “30 Years Of Reading Roadrunners” as well as continuing to edit the newsletter single-handed.

 

Apsey wins Tadley

ROADRUNNER Mark Apsey stormed to victory in the Thames Valley Cross Country League fixture at Tadley… but he was not the real hero of the hour.

That honour fell to his 11-month-old daughter Tilly, who for once allowed him a full night’s sleep before the race.

“That meant I was able to go into it feeling fresh,” said Mark, “as well as quietly confident after a fourth-place finish in our home fixture.

“So, following a trademark David McCoy fast start, I took the lead after about 500m and managed to hold on to it for the rest of the race.

“For the first lap I knew there was a group just behind me but each time they came up to my shoulder I was able to hold them off. On lap two the group had dropped back but I still felt strong and did all I could to take it out for the win.”

Along with the failure of home club Tadley to field any runners to contest their own event, the atrocious weather and conditions were the big talking-point of the day for runners, team officials and spectators.

But Apsey said: “The course was great. Perfect cross country… mud, water, ducks and leaps. The mud was different from our home fixture. This was slippery mud and although I felt my feet sliding around, my spikes just about kept me vertical the whole way round.

“It was nice to take the win. I’ve had a few in the green vest over the years but this was definitely up there with the best.”

Our winner got great support from McCoy, who finished 11th, one place in front of another Irishman, the vastly-improved Fergal Donnelly, with Andrew Smith, Andy Blenkinsopp and Ian Giggs also scoring to bring us home in third place.

Gemma Buley was again first finisher for our ladies in 17th, well backed up by Alix Eyles, Sarah Alsford and captain Sam Whalley, giving us fifth place and helping the club to fourth overall on the day.

The Thames Valley League roadshow now moves on to the Bracknell club’s home fixture at Lightwater, where there will be all to play for against Windle Valley, Datchet and Sandhurst in the battle for end-of-season podium honours.

The good news is that Mark Apsey will definitely be on the start line for us in that one to close out his cross-country season.

For the rest of the year he has one big goal, and a sub-35mins 10k looks well within his capabilities on last summer’s form.

The only event firmly fixed on his calendar is the Mayfair Tower Race in May, a charity run aimed mainly at the hospitality industry. The 5k round Hyde Park sounds OK, but good luck with the climb of 28 floors to the finish at the top of the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane!

Results link: http://www.tvxc.org.uk/results/detail?race_id=77

Reading TVXV Race Report & Results

Report by David Dibben
Pictures courtesy of Cathrin Westerwelle

SEV KONIECZNY and Rob Corney were the toast of Reading Roadrunners after the club’s inaugural Thames Valley Cross Country League event at Ashenbury Park, Woodley.

Corney convincingly won the race and then led the plaudits for race director Sev.

“Huge credit to Sev, who I know had worked really hard to organise the race,” he said. “The course was superb… proper cross-country.”

 

Rob, who also won our final home TVXC fixture on the old

Crowthorne Woods circuit, stormed home with a massive 94 seconds to spare from Datchet’s James Sansom, with Richard Price, of Wargrave, just denying our own Mark Apsey a place on the podium.

Then Rob revealed one of the big secrets of his success. “I had 15mm spikes on, which definitely gave me an advantage over most of the field,” he said. “Most people were in normal trail shoes.”

For the star of Roger Pritchard’s You Tube home movie, it was the second great performance of the weekend.

He had finished a highly-creditable fourth on his debut in the hugely competitive Hampshire League fixture at Prospect Park the previous day.

Rob said: “I had heard it was a fast league. Mark Worringham mentioned that a top-ten finish would be a good result and I knew a couple of the quick guys who usually run were up in Scotland for the international so I made a solid top ten my target.

“For 9.2km it was bloody tough and I’m not looking forward to Parliament Hill and 12km of that sort of pace.”

Next morning, hardly surprisingly, his legs felt heavy and he didn’t want to run. But, like so many of our good clubmen, he said: “I was down for helping with the course set-up, so I dragged myself out of bed and down to the park.

“Once you get on the start line everything else takes a back seat. It was nice to win the home fixture for RR.”

What made the occasion all the sweeter for Sev, her hard-working committee and Katie Gumbrell’s ‘green army’ of marshals and volunteers was the news the following day that Roadrunners’ men had been declared winners of the event.

After the provisional results had been announced it was spotted that our third man over the line, Seb Briggs, had not been recognised in the veteran category.

Thanks to a superb run by our second ‘vet’, Fergal Donnelly, Roadrunners packed all six scorers in the top 22, pipping the strong Datchet outfit by just three points.

With our ladies, led by Gemma Buley, finishing fifth, that placed the club second overall on the day.

Afterwards there was as much praise for the race director as the race winner.

Social media was hit by a tsunami of acclamation, typically this from Chris Drew: “Lots of love coming your way, Sev. An absolute triumph.”

And this from Ashley Middlewick: “That was a proper RR XC event in every sense… tough, muddy, undulating course, superbly marshalled and supported, with a fantastic turn-out and great food afterwards.”

While the TVXC roadshow moves on to Tadley this week with Roadrunners in second place in the season’s competition, the club are in an even stronger place in the veteran’s division of the Hampshire League.

With only one race remaining at Aldershot on February 10th, our vets… spearheaded by Mark Worringham, Ben Paviour, Andrew Smith and Lance Nortcliff… are top of the league, leading from the mega-strong Aldershot, Farnham and District side.

For the weekend’s champion Corney, however, there are even bigger fish to fry. His season’s targets include a sub-2hrs 30mins finish in the London Marathon and then “maybe a nibble” at Keith Russell’s club marathon record in Berlin in October.

Links for all the results:

Hampshire League & TVXC Combined Results

http://tvxc.org.uk/results/detail?race_id=79

http://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2018/20180113_hlmen.html

http://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2018/20180113_hlwomen.html

Roger’s Race Video available here