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/

Gavin and pacy! Roadrunners vets prove the old ones are the best


Sunday’s Ridgeway Relay ended in triumph for one Reading Roadrunners squad… it just wasn’t the one you might have expected! Club chairman SAM WHALLEY tells the inside story..

Roadrunners’ Vets walked away with first place at last weekend’s Ridgeway Relay, for the first time since 2015. Then they were the only vets team, and finished last out of 42 teams, so also took home the wooden spoon!

This year’s over 50s were in a league of their own, coming 13th overall, out of 37 teams, and completing the 86.5 mile race from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Marlborough in Wiltshire in 12 hours and 46 seconds. The second placed vets team was 24th, one hour and 40 minutes behind.

Gavin Rennie got the vets into a strong position from the off, finishing leg one in 16th place, and first vets team. The vets position was never in doubt, but the overall placing moved up to 11th and 12th after strong runs from Julie Rainbow (leg four, tenth fastest for that leg), Chris Webber (leg five, seventh fastest), and Ian Gosling (below, leg seven, ninth fastest), before settling into 13th until the end.

The remainder of this superstar vets team was made up by Eoin McLeod (leg two), Ann Rostern (leg three, gaining four places), Alan Freer (leg six), Peter Rennie (leg eight), David Fiddes (leg nine) and Pete Jewell (pictured below, leg ten). Congratulations to them all – truly inspirational.

Meanwhile the Mostly Men’s A team had to settle for second place behind Newbury AC after switching between first and third since Dave Boulton set the team off in the lead on leg one.

There were some fantastic runs throughout the day, most notably from Carrie Hoskins (leg four, gaining one place, second fastest for that leg), Ben Paviour (leg five, gaining one place, third fastest), and Chris Lucas, who ran the fastest time for leg six. 

The rest of the team was made up of Sarah Dooley (leg two, sixth fastest), Tony Page (leg three, fourth fastest), Matthew Sarjent (leg seven, third fastest), Dave Parton (leg eight, third fastest), Mark Worringham (leg nine, second fastest) and Sibrand Rinzema (leg ten, fifth fastest). Sibrand was running his last race as a Reading Roadrunner before returning home to the Netherlands.

The Mostly Ladies team managed its highest ever placing with 19th, and third ladies team, thanks in particular to excellent runs from Dimi Gospodinov – one of the two permitted men – finishing in 11th place on leg one, Holly Sedgwick (leg seven, gaining three places) and Aga Faulkner (leg eight, gaining two places) and despite a couple of fallers among the rest of the team, made up of Mel Shaw (leg two), Sam Whalley (leg three), Alice Carpenter-Cave (leg four), Belinda Tull (leg five), Swinda Falkena (leg six – also returning to the Netherlands soon), Brooke Johnson (leg 9) and Liz Johnson (leg ten).

The Mostly Men’s B team finished in 30th, with Jamie Smith getting the team off to a great start in 15th and brilliant runs by Mike Worsfold (leg two, gaining three places, ninth fastest for that leg), Sophie Mures (leg four, gaining six places, fourth fastest), Lance Nortcliff (leg seven, gaining one place, seventh fastest), Fergal Donnelly (right, leg nine, gaining two places, sixth fastest) and Alix Eyles (leg ten, gaining one place).

Completing the team were Peter Higgs (leg five), Pete Morris (leg six), Claire Seymour (leg eight) and Jon Green, who added two miles to leg three by taking the wrong path through a corn field.

Congratulations to all those who took part and many thanks to the captains for putting the teams together. Thanks also to Barry Cornelius for the images of our guys toughing it out.

For more information on the route of the Ridgeway Relay, and to whet your appetite for next year, read this: http://www.marlboroughrunningclub.org.uk/uploads/files/documents/RidgewayRelay/Ridgeway_relay_information_pack_2022.pdf

Draft results can be found here: http://www.marlboroughrunningclub.org.uk/uploads/files/documents/RidgewayRelay/MRCRidgewayRelay2022DraftResults.pdf

Photos from leg five onwards can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/barrycorneliusox/sets/72177720300127853/

Battling Roadrunners survive the Hampshire League mudbath

Our flagship 10/20 event at Bramley was cancelled because of the weather but the driving rain and high winds were no match for the Roadrunners’ Hampshire Cross-Country League team at Popham, writes men’s captain TONY PAGE.

In the fact our ladies team seem to be enjoying themselves, though to be fair that was before the race had started!

All of the results are now in and the great news is that the RR men’s fifth place on Saturday was enough to secure our place in the prestigious First Division for another season as we climbed out of the relegation zone up to eighth.

This included an excellent 40th place from new member, Dave Boulton, who was second to Ben Paviour (31st and third vet). Our men were the first-placed vets team at Popham, and fifth over the season.       

The remainder of the scoring team for the men were Sibrand Rinzema (43rd), Mark Worringham (51st and sixth vet) and Tony Page (59th and 10th vet). 

The ladies had a strong finish to the season too, with tenth place at Popham, led home by Hannah Green in 27th. This was enough for ninth place over the season.  

Most pleasing was the day’s sixth place which saw our vet ladies secure a bronze-medal finish to the season. The remainder of the scoring team were Helen Pool (47th and 12th vet), Chloe Lloyd (61st), Emma Paton (66th and 23rd vet) and Sam Whalley (39th vet). Well done ladies.

Both Helen and Sarah Dooley clinched places in the League’s vet ladies top ten with their efforts over the season.

There were lots of excellent performances across the teams, in very challenging conditions. Roadrunners have gone from strength to strength in the final two fixtures of the campaign and we want to keep the momentum up for the Nationals at Parliament Hill Fields this coming Saturday… and for next season!

I would really encourage everyone to try the Hampshire League and experience the excellent team spirit for themselves. 

As is traditional, we rounded off the season with great night out at the Market House in Reading on Saturday night. A good time was had by all, and there were a few late starts on Strava today!

The Hampshire League results and final placings for the season can be found here:

https://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2022/20220219_hlmen.html

Meanwhile those of us who slogged through that mudbath aren’t in the least bit jealous of our team-mates who enjoyed great runs in the Spanish sunshine, chalking up five PBs in the Seville Marathon. Well, just a bit…

Many congratulations to Paloma Crayford, Carmen Fuentes, David Clay, Sarah Dooley and Chris Webber, as well as all the others who did us proud there.

Double Dutch successes as Roadrunners snatch victory

Roadrunners saved their best until last in the Thames Valley Cross Country League, our men clinching a dramatic victory at Handy Cross. Proud men’s captain TONY PAGE reports….

Roadrunners’ men pipped both Datchet and Finch Coasters by just one single point to snatch first place at the final TVXC League race of the season. While this wasn’t enough for us to retain the men’s title, nevertheless it was a pleasing result with several new members stepping up.

That’s a good sign for the future and will leave champions Datchet looking over their shoulders next season.

The League had saved this season’s hardest event to last, with hills aplenty through Bradenham Woods and stunning views over the Chilterns in the morning sunshine.

But before we hit the hills, there was a fast downhill start. No surprise to see Sibrand Rinzema (left) leading the way, looking to cement his No.1 position in our TVXC club champs. He was closely followed by Ben Paviour — our leading M40 — who had to hot-foot it to the start having been delayed en route. 

Sibrand and Ben (right) battled it out at the front, eventually finishing in seventh and eighth places, with Tony Page in 15th.

Our victory was secured further down the field with ever-present Jacob Atwal (20th), Matthew Sarjent (28th) and Lance Nortcliff, returning to the scene of past glories, in 33rd, each just edging out our rivals to make it count. 

Special mention goes to Matthew for an excellent result on debut, clearly a chip off the old block. No wonder Bruce struggles to keep up! 

Our first lady home was Swinda Falkena (46th, left), followed by Liz Ganpatsingh (54th), Sam Whalley (71st) and Gemma Higgs (78th), which earned the team tenth place on the day.

There were many other excellent performances, with members fighting it out in the final round of our TVXC club championships. Watch this space for the final individual results, which will be published soon.

The season finished with our men in second place in the league table, the ladies joint fifth and the club fourth overall.

In the meantime Sunday’s provisional results can be found at http://www.tvxc.org.uk/results/team?race_id=102

Our focus now switches to the final Hampshire League fixture of the season at Popham airfield on February 19th.

It would be great to have a strong team out for that one to maintain our position in the top division.

Hannah and her sisters become county Christmas crackers

Reading Roadrunners’ senior women’s team captured first prize at this year’s county championships, writes Sam Whalley.

 Hannah Green (fifth), Katie Rennie (17th) and new Roadrunner Mireia Garcia (19th) picked up gold medals for their efforts, and will also collect the first ever senior women’s trophy, recently acquired to match that awarded to the senior men.

Hannah has also qualified to represent Berkshire in the Inter-Counties Championships in Loughborough in March.

In the men’s race earlier, Jack Gregory finished eighth to secure his qualification to run for Berkshire in the Inter-Counties.

Some results remain provisional but list Chris Lucas as tenth — just missing out on a county vest — with Fergal Donnelly and Ben Ashby battling it out for 24th (sixth vet) and 25th, respectively.

Both men and women competed over a 10k course around the Copas PYO fruit farm in Cookham.

Official results can now be found at https://www.thepowerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=439608

Our pics show golden girls Hannah, Mireia and Katie plus Fergal and Ben battling it out with the Wargrave runner Richard Bookless.

Races are back… and Apsey’s so quick to beat the Easter traffic

Post-lockdown racing resumed over the Easter weekend — and immediately there was plenty of success for Reading Roadrunners.

Although neither of the usual Easter favourites, the Maidenhead 10 and Beaconsfield 5, took place there was a new-look Mortimer 10k over a multi-terrain course which finished with victory for Mark Apsey.

Mark survived a near-miss with a swerving car near the finish before pipping Reading Joggers’ star Alex Whearity in the last few metres to win in 36mins 48secs.

A delighted Mark said:  “What with being overworked and a mix of aches and pains, I have not trained much in the last month. I didn’t expect anything under 38 or 39 minutes so I was pleased to run the time I did on a gruelling woodland trail route that included plenty of dog-lead dodging and, on the second lap, runner congestion.”

The RR glory weekend had kicked off with Super Sarah Dooley braving the vicious Dorney Lake headwinds to clinch a place in the London Marathon Championship with 3:14.00.

PBs there, too, for Paul Morrissey and Lorna McLeod and a V60 third-place for Alan Freer, while Ben Fasham improved his half-marathon PB at Kempton Park.

Some of the south’s best 5k runners were out in force in Sussex on Easter Monday for the Ardingly PB5k and Alex Harris duly obliged by taking four seconds off his best and improving his club V50 age group record to 17.33.

To give you some idea of the quality of the fields at this graded meeting, Jack Gregory ran 15.14 in the elite race where you had to run sub-16 to finish in the top 100.

Despite the cancellation of this year’s Shinfield 10k there will soon b    e plenty of other local races taking place soon, although for the next couple of months they will still all be staged under Covid restrictions (see Roadmap, below).

Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap expires on April 12th and the club plans to restart track sessions at Palmer Park from Wednesday, April 14th.

Below is a new-look calendar of events for the rest of the year. It doesn’t claim to be comprehensive but should cover most of the races which have proved popular with our members over the last few years.

Some of them have been postponed from their traditional spring dates to later in the year, making the autumn particularly busy. There should be a big race round here for everyone in October, but that won’t stop Roadrunners rocking up mob-handed at the Boston Marathon.

One of the anomalies thrown up by the modified schedule is the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon taking place on July 4th. Hopefully there won’t be a blizzard during the race this year!

Another new date is May 23rd for the 2020 Gutbuster. Normally a Christmas highlight, it was called off in December and again in February but is sure to be a sell-out whenever it’s staged.

There are more reasons to be cheerful in May, particularly with the return of the Barnes Fitness Summer Series. Events run by Ellie and Ian Gosling (left) always have a great vibe and this year the Dinton runfest comes with a virtual option (barnesfitness.co.uk).

May 16th sees the staging of the RunReading Half Marathon (racesolutions.co.uk) round the Caversham/Mapledurham loop as well as a full marathon and 50k ultra through the Goring Gap.

These two longer races are already sold out and the start lists include plenty of Roadrunners, as well as a certain Bradley Cooper. Not the Bradley Cooper, surely?

Hollywood A-listers have been the least of the worries during the lockdowns for race directors such as Racesolutions boss Chris Sumner.

“The problem for organisers is that we require enough notice to make arrangements for the races,” he said. “So it’s one thing being told potentially that all restrictions will be lifted by June 21st and that some events can take place from March 29th but, without having certainty about this, booking the various services and paying for them is a big risk.

“If we do this and they then say we cannot go ahead then we potentially lose tens of thousands of pounds.”

That was why Chris set a stand-by date of the weekend beginning July 23rd for the southern version of Endure 24 and was able to accommodate a late switch from June and a move from Wasing Park to Henley.

Another huge event from the Racesolutions stable is the Wokingham Half Marathon, which has transported from its traditional February slot to September 19th. This version promises a new route through the town centre.

Before that comes the putative return of parkrun on June 5th. Good luck to the volunteers trying to keep that socially distanced!

Conspicuous by its absence from my list is the Vets Track and Field League. Club organiser Chris Manton tells me he has yet to hear of any fixtures for that series. 

I’m sure Roadrunners will be entering some strong squads for the British Masters Road Relays at Sutton Coldfield in September, although there’s no news yet on the 12 and 6-stage Road Relays.

Track Friday supremo Fergal Donnelly tells me that he and Tony Canning are confident of staging some of their popular 5k events after the summer holidays period. Here’s the list of selected races:

APRIL

25: Goodwood Festival of Running

MAY

 1: Newbury Racecourse 5k, 10k, HM

 2: Henley Trail 10k and HM

 9: Oxford Town & Gown 10k

 9: Jigsaw 10k

13: Dinton Summer Series (race 1)

16: Reading Riverside HM, Goring Gap 26.2m & 50k

23: Gutbuster

JUNE

  5: Return of parkrun

10: Dinton Summer Series (race 2)

20: Hampshire Hoppit HM & marathon

JULY

 4: Farnborough Winter HM

4: Sonning 5k, 10k

 7: Yateley 10k (race 1)

 8: Dinton Summer Series (race 3)

10: Race to the Stones

21: Yateley 10k (race 2)

23: Endure 24

25: Down Tow Up Flow HM

31: Round Reading Ultra

AUGUST

  4: Yateley 10k (race 3)

12: Dinton Summer Series (race 4)

15: Burnham Beeches HM & 10k

29: Englefield 10k

SEPTEMBER

 5: Maidenhead HM

12: Brighton Marathon

12: Great North Run

18: British Masters Road Relays

19: Wokingham HM

25: Windsor Women’s 10k

26: Windsor HM

26: Berlin Marathon

OCTOBER

 3: London Marathon

 3: Basingstoke HM

10: Henley 10k & HM

10: Chicago Marathon

11: Boston Marathon

17: Great South Run

17: Oxford HM

17: Paris Marathon

24: Abingdon Marathon

24: Water of Life HM

NOVEMBER

 7: Reading HM

 7: Marlow 7 & HM

 7: Rivermead 10k

28: Mapledurham 10k & HM

  • I have kept December clear for a full programme of Hampshire League and TVXC fixtures. In 2022, why not pencil in the Woodcote 10k on January 9th? It’s a great warm-up for the big one — Bramley 10/20 — on February 20th.
  • Yesterday’s action picture: Peter Cook