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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Roadrunners turn-outs for a weekend of double mudbaths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.