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

Runners on The Road

Runners on The Road

Come and join us for International Events!!

Often throughout the year many of us Roadrunners organise our own trips abroad. Someone will come up with an idea and we'll then eventually post it on Facebook.

These events are usually marathons but many incorporate half marathons & 10Ks also. We also have members who travel to international parkruns.  Often many may just come to support, so it's ideal if you just want a holiday.

The problem is many people can feel left out or new members may not have noticed old posts on Facebook.

If you have a trip planned in next year or so, or have a great idea then please contact me or email your idea and rough details to runnersontheroad@readingroadrunners.org or just tag me in (Paul Monaghan) and mention details on Facebook. Note you're not obliged to do this and it's totally understandable that you just may want to arrange your own trip with friends. But come on we all love a good holiday.

 

Upcoming Trips:sible text


 

Seville Marathon 2023

Distances  Marathon & 5K Breakfast Run
parkruns?  None nearby
Date  19th February 2023
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details One awesome city that is quite possibly our favourite Spanish marathon. It's billed as one of the flattest in Europe and certainly lives up to that. The course also passes the picturesque Plaza de España which is also the kick off point to the 5K breakfast run the day before. Post race the city is brimming with brilliant tapas bars and numerous watering holes. Really is one that can't be missed as many Roadrunners will testify
We normally stay around the reasonably priced Macarena district which is a short bus ride from the centre..
Entry details & Website

 


 

Palma Marathon Weekend 2023

Distances  Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K
parkruns?  None nearby
Date  15th October 2022
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details We've done this a few times. You'll not be disappointed with Palma. The race is set in the unique scenery of the beautiful city of Palma. Participants enjoy a course along the breathtaking promenade with views over the bay and the turquoise blue Mediterranean Sea, towards the cathedral with its sandstones colours, and into the historic old town.
We're staying at the BQ Belvedere Hotel within easy bus reach of Palma.
Entry details & Website

 


 

Lanzarote Running Festival 2023

Distances  Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 6K
parkruns? None in Lanzarote at present
Date  2-Dec-2023
Contact Kerri French socialsec@readingroadrunners.org
Details Grab yourself some winter sun with an average temperature of 19ºC the Lanzarote International Marathon weekend takes place in December along a coastal avenue in the Island of Lanzarote, covering the municipalities of Costa Teguise, Arrecife, San Barlotomé and Puerto del Carmen.
There’s plenty of opportunity of socialise to get you warmed up for Christmas, including Karaoke at the runners favourite ‘Jesters’ Bar.
Entry details & Website

 


 

Malaga Marathon 2023

Distances  Marathon & Half Marathon
parkruns? No
Date  10th Dec 2023
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details This has to be one of the most underrated cities in Europe. If you love Spanish culture & Tapas bars then yu can't get much better than here. If you are searching for a great winter escape and a race set in a beautiful location then Maratón Málaga may be what you are looking for. It's held in December in the city of Málaga, Spain, the capital of Costa del Sol.
Done this marathon and visited so many times and absolutely love the place.

Registration info & Website

 


 

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.

Ryan mighty! Roadrunners storm to a massive double home win

Today’s TVXC event in Woodley was a triumph for Reading Roadrunners in every respect. Proud club chair SAM WHALLEY has filed this report to mark a special occasion…

Reading Roadrunners were out in force at the second Thames Valley Cross Country League fixture of the season, which we hosted.

The course, at Ashenbury Park in Woodley, was lacking in mud in this earlier slot in the calendar, but that made for some fast running.

There was no beating TVT’s guest runner Jess Gibbon, the reigning English national XC champion, but recent returner to RR, Ryan O’Brien (left), made an excellent XC debut for the season, finishing as second male.

With Steve Ridley (right) in third, Ben Paviour fourth, Dave Boulton eighth, Fergal Donnelly 16th and Matt Sarjent 17th, the team easily took first place, their combined 50 points being way ahead of second-placed Datchet’s 131.

Not to be outdone, the women also fielded their most competitive team of the season so far. Nikki Gray (below), running her first XC race in years, stormed home as fourth female, with Sarah McDade and new member Kat Charles in fifth and sixth. Sarah Dooley completed the scoring team, in 12th, giving the women a total score of 27, and their first win, again ahead of Datchet, whose women amassed 50 points.

After two races this puts us in sight of the top of the  league and shows what we can achieve if we all pull together.

A great turn-out of 61 Roadrunners meant other non-scoring members will have affected the scores of the other clubs. Every single runner was a valued member of the team.

Well done to everyone who ran, to race director Jamie Smith, and a big thank-you to all of the volunteers who made the event happen.

Let’s hope we can have another great turn-out of runners in the next TVXC race at Datchet on November 13th.

Here’s a link to the Ashenbury results: http://www.tvxc.org.uk/results/team?race_id=105

And thanks to Nigel Hoult for his brilliant Flickr album from the race, which you can access at https://flickr.com/photos/33143388@N04/sets/72177720303279875

One for the archive: Day to cherish as Roadrunners do the honours

Roadrunners’ ‘takeover’ of the 570th running of Reading parkrun was a big success, with a huge turn-out on a glorious day. The special occasion has been marked by an in-depth report from the front line by one of our own, DIMITAR GOSPODINOV. 

I have to admit I am not much of a parkrunner. Living in Burghfield Common, in order to get to a parkrun I have to either drive, which feels wasteful, or run on the side of the road down to Prospect Park looking at all the things people have discarded from their cars, plus an uphill run back adding up to over 10 miles in total distance. 

So, most Saturdays I opt for a solo run on the lovely trails of Englefield Estate I have on my doorstep. Parkrun is usually a social event for me and this week I have a really good reason to make it down to Thames Valley Park — Reading Roadrunners ‘takeover’. 

I joined Roadrunners in between lockdowns back in 2020 looking to try something new and improve my running. I had been thinking about going to the track sessions for a while before joining but the idea of going around in circles didn’t sound like something I would enjoy. I was so wrong. 

The club offers so much more than track sessions, from couch to 5k, pub runs, cross-country, day trips and social events. But what grabbed me straight away was how friendly and supportive everyone was. 

If you are looking to improve your running or just make some new friends, I would encourage you to come to Palmer Park on Wednesday evenings and join one of the groups. 

At TVP, it is just after 8.30am and the place is already buzzing. I say a quick hello to our run director Fergal Donnelly and I am off warming up and chatting with friends. 

There are green Roadrunners vests everywhere and I am going from conversation to conversation until I hear that there is a briefing for first-timers happening. This should apply to me but talking to people is more exciting and I decide that getting lost is a low risk. 

We clap for all volunteers giving up their time every Saturday to make the event possible. Next, we are on to parkrun tourists. We start from Bracknell and finish all the way to Australia. The thought that maybe living in Burghfield Common is not a valid excuse for only making it to 12 parkruns over the last year crosses my mind and we are off to the start. 

Today I am trying to avoid my normal routine of starting too quickly and slowing down in the last mile. With quite a few sessions in my legs this week already and the Thames Valley Cross-Country league tomorrow I decide to pace myself.
I see Pete Jewell (above) disappearing into the distance quite quickly. I have to admit it is a nice sight to see. Pete has struggled with injuries lately but is quickly getting back into shape, so I am sure I will be seeing his backside more often and many people will be losing their VM60 course records in the area.

The first two miles are steady running alongside Tony Page (right) chatting and thanking the marshals, but with a mile to go Tony picks up the pace and all of a sudden I run out of conversation.

Once we are done and scanned we are straight back to the finish line to encourage all the other runners and walkers. It is always great to see all sprint finishes and people having fun. 

With 295 runners we had some great achievements today, Thomas Palmer not only finishing first comfortably but also running his 250th parkrun; first female Penny McCrabbe coming in 25th overall, Phil Burke running a PB of 20:11 in his sixth parkrun — I don’t see his PB starting with a ‘2’ for much longer. 

Also, there were some really impressive age-grade results with Jane Davies achieving over 90 per cent in VW60 and Pauline Siddons, Pete Jewell, Chris Webber and Claire Marks all above 80 per cent.

Thanks to the volunteers who made this event happen: Mark Allen, Art Atwal, Pauline Bravet, Angela Burley, Michelle Dean, Fergal Donnelly, Katherine Foley, Elizabeth Ganpatsingh, Nicola Gillard, Jon Green, Sophie Harris-Watkins, David Hodgkinson, Charlie Jackson, Lee Jackson, Elizabeth Johnson, Sue Jones, Jon Kew, Sara Lopez, Hannah McPhee, Kaja Milczewska, Laura Priest, Ruth Rogers, Chris Smith, Stephanie Smith, Bob Thomas, Michael Turner-Hibberd and Sam Whalley. 

Many thanks to KAJA MILCZEWSKA for the pictures.

 

Three and easy: Princess Sarah has another great day out in London

 Roadrunners were out in force when the first race of the 2022 cross-country season was contested at Hillingdon and club committee chair SAM WHALLEY was there with her notebook and pen as well as her running shoes. Here’s her report…

Sarah Dooley’s London Marathon PB a week ago must have been perfect preparation for the XC season as she took the third-placed female spot in the Thames Valley XC League’s opening fixture, hosted by Metros. In fact she scored as second as the race was won by Jess Gibbon, the national cross-country champion, running as a guest for Thames Valley Triathletes.

The course was the usual two laps, each including the infamous ski slope and (thankfully shallow) stream, but this year distinctly lacking in mud.

Having signed up after a late plea for more women for take part, Sarah (right) — who was 76th overall — could have done with more support at the sharp end of the race. Second female home for was club was me (218th), followed by Gemma Higgs (230th), with Sarah Richmond-Devoy (275th) surprised to find herself completing the scoring team for the first time.

There were 19 runners in the RR men’s team, to contrast the women’s ten, and it was Ben Paviour (below) who led them home in an excellent seventh place.

Behind him, the rest of the team was fairly closely packed, with Fergal Donnelly (23rd), first-timer Nathan Davies (29th), Tony Page (30th), Brendan Russell (39th), and Dimi Gospodinov (43rd) making up the scorers.

Also making their TVXC debuts for the club were Mark Allen, 40 years after his last XC outing, and Chris Webber, who, as a farmer, will be no stranger to mud. Well done to everyone who ran.

Full results from Hillingdon are available via this link: http://www.tvxc.org.uk/results/team.

They show that our men finished third, the women eighth and the RR team fourth overall.

XC races are huge team events, with every runner’s position affecting our team score or those of the other squads.

The next XC event will be our home fixture, at Ashenbury Park in Woodley, on Sunday October 30th, so let’s aim for a big turn-out there. We will also need volunteers on the day.

The club’s XC championship requires runners to participate in a minimum of five TVXC or Hampshire League races during the season, at least one of which must be a TVXC race.

Volunteering at our home fixture counts towards an individual’s score in the club championship. As the saying goes: “You’ve got to be in it to win it.” Here’s a link to the champs rules… https://readingroadrunners.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/RR-XC-Club-ChampsRules2022-2023pdf

  • There were good performances by Roadrunners all around the world today, with our members contesting marathons in Hungary, Bulgaria, Majorca and the United States.
  • Highlight was a nine-minute PB by Ollie Watts in Chicago (3:07.16). A couple of second-claimers also ran well, Brendan Morris chalking up a half-marathon PB with 1:13.44 in Manchester and Chris Moseley finishing second at the Henley Half.

For Pete’s sake! Roadrunners vets so close to relay glory at Aldershot

After some interesting internal politics involving the South of England AA and their member clubs, Reading Roadrunners found themselves contesting a new-look road relays event on Saturday. Men’s captain TONY PAGE reports…

This year’s men’s six-stage, women’s four-stage and vets’ road relays were all run over a 6k course at the Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot… and, wow, what a great venue!

Roadrunners had a super turn-out, with eight teams competing. And we had some great results, with top-three finishes for the men’s vet 55 team (right) and women’s vets team.

As a southern qualifier for the men’s national road relays, the day’s racing attracted 80 men’s teams and 25 vets as well as 55 ladies squads and 14 vets. Throw in all the junior events at under 13, under 15 and under 17 levels and that made it a total of over 450 teams representing more than 1700 runners.

There were some very high-qualify fields, including the Diamond League runner Jack Rowe (who ran the fastest leg of 17:30) and Ellis Cross — renowned for beating Mo Farah over 10K — running for Aldershot Farnham & District. Not surprisingly, the home team won, ahead of Tonbridge and Cambridge & Coleridge. 

The women’s race was also won by AFD, with Bracknell AC in second. The fastest women were Amelia Quirk (Bracknell), Steph Twell (AFD) and Jess Gibbon (Reading AC), all with times under 20 minutes. 

There was an amazing third place for our women’s vets team (left) of Katherine Streams (22:49) , Helen Pool (25:18) and Sarah Dooley (24:43). Katherine put us in third place after an excellent first leg — fourth fastest in the vets race — and that was held by Helen and Sarah, who brought the team home in 1:12.50.  

Our second vet ladies team of Wendy Davies (33:36), Toni McQueen (33:54) and Sam Whalley (29:33) finished in eighth place.

Our senior ladies team of Hannah Green (24:32), Ann Rostern (26:20), Liz Johnson (27:56) and Pip White (25.29) came home in 35th place.

The closest finish of the day was in the men’s vet 55 race, where our team were just pipped for the victory. The team of Gavin Rennie (23:51), Pete Jewell (23:21) and Chris Webber (23:36) — all from the winning team at Ridgeway Relay this summer — were joined by Terry Dowling (23:39). 

Pete took us in to the lead with the fastest second leg, gaining three places after Gavin was fourth fastest on the very competitive first leg.  Chris was second fastest on his leg, before handing over to Terry, who was passed in the final 100 metres by Brighton Phoenix, whose final runner ran an amazing 22.03.  This was a great achievement for us… well done team!

Our senior men’s team finished in 2:08.59 for 51st place.  We welcomed back Ryan O’Brien (right), who recently re-joined RR and whose time of 20:37 was 37th fastest on the fifth leg, gaining 12 places. The other members of the team were Matthew Sarjent (21:26), Ollie Watts, (22:25), Jacob Atwal (21:25), Matthew Davies (22:00), and Mark Worringham (21:03).

Our second fastest runner on the day was Brendan Morris, with a time of 20.41, gaining ten places for our B team, who finished 59th. Other members of the team were Sean Hancox (23:00), Chris Burt (22:23), Jamie Smith (23:36), Dimi Gospodinov (22:36) and Chris Moseley (22:04).

We also entered two teams in the men’s 40s category. The first team of Fergal Donnelly (22:17 for 12th place), Tony Page (23:08) and Lance Nortcliff (23:06, gaining two places) was brought home by Dave Parton (21:50), the sixth fastest on leg four. That gave us a creditable tenth-place finish. 

Our second vets 40 team of Tony Streams (26:49), Paul Bandy (27:24), Colin Cottell (26:28) and Jon Kew (24:20) finished in 17th. 

Thanks to everyone who took part and stayed to the end to support all our runners and see the presentation ceremony for our men’s V55 team.

Here’s your link to the results on an Excel spreadsheet…. https://www.afd.org.uk/aldershot-road-relays/