RR Charity 2020

Message from our Charity Coordinator Rachel Helsby charity@readingroadrunners.org

 

Charity of the Year – Parenting Special Children

I am feel honoured and privileged that members have voted for me to be the charity organiser of the year to raise money for local charity Parenting Special Children (PSC) which supports over 2,500 Berkshire families last year.

Parenting Special Children was set up by Ruth Pearce, Founder and Chief Executive in 2006 and its mission is to provide specialist parenting support to parents and carers of children and young people with Special Needs, so that they can create positive change in their lives.

The charity offers specialist parenting support to families of children and young people with Special needs and/or disability in Berkshire. From Autism, ADHD, trauma and attachment, to sleep and diagnosis support they offer a wide range of services. They also run a number of family events each year so that these families can have the sort of every days-out that other families would do routinely.

PSC also helps these families feel less isolated by running a number of support groups. For example they have a group for family members who are caring for children who cannot be cared for by their birth parents and, more recently, they have set up a dads and male carers support group which is proving very popular.  It is always good to talk.

We will shortly be setting up the charity page on our Reading Roadrunners website, and also a direct fundraising page for members who wish to raise money for the charity directly.   Money raised through Reading Road Runners will go towards funding PSC’s sleep service.  Children with additional needs are at increased risk of sleep difficulties and, as a results, parents/carers and siblings also don’t get enough sleep a key element of well-being.

I hope you will get an opportunity to learn more about the charity and the variety of work it does through meeting the volunteers at club events throughout the year. In the meantime, you can find out more about the charity by visiting their website:

https://www.parentingspecialchildren.co.uk

RR Charity page is also here https://readingroadrunners.org/charity/

As your charity organiser, I am committed to giving as much time as I can to the role and, as a very local charity, PSC volunteers are also ready to help me. I am very open to constructive ideas from members about how I can do my role and welcome advice from those that gone before me.  Please do not hesitate to come and talk to me at track on a Wednesday evening.

By raising the visibility of this charity and the work it does, I also I hope I will also encourage us all to think a little more about people that act a bit differently to the norm. To stop and think. To show a bit more compassion. And be kind. Because God knows right now the world needs a bit more of that.

Rachel Helsby

Roadrunners clean up the prizes as girl power reigns at Goring 10k

Following the second club championship event of the year, ladies captain SAM WHALLEY again does the honours with this report from the front line after competing herself…

THERE was a Reading Roadrunners 1-2-3 at the Goring 10k. Well, first man and second and third women, at least.

With Fleet Half Marathon cancelled and marathon training plans out of the window, there were a few on-the-day entries for the undulating local race, and competition in the club championship* hotted up.

*Quick reminder that you have to be in it (your RR kit) to win it. There are no fewer than 41 RRs on the results, and no way were they all in green (shaking head, sad face).

First home in the senior men’s category, and first man overall, was Marcus Fletcher. You may be surprised that he was not first across the line; this accolade went to in-form Jessica Gibbon, of Reading AC, who has completely smashed the XC season.

For the MV40s, there was a close battle between Fergal Donnelly and Tony Page, with Fergal just winning.

The MV50s was the most populated category of the race, and only David Caswell was required to complete the set. With Brian Kirsopp pulling up with hamstring pain at 3k, it was Tony Streams who took the 50 points.

Alan Freer led home the MV60s, and also picked up the Masters trophy, as they called it.

Eddie Thorpe missed out on the Grandmasters prize by two minutes, but was the only contender in the club’s MV75 category, while Stephen Wing was happy to pick up 50 points in the MV65s.

There were no senior women, but Sarah Dooley picked up 50 points the FV40s, along with the vets prize overall (third female).

Katherine Sargeant was second female overall, first FV50 for the club, and declared the Supervet! Whose idea were these names?!

Jane Davies, unsurprisingly, was first FV60, and the Masters winner, with Heather Bowley claiming 50 points for the FV65s.

And here’s my report from the Saturn Running-organised Lost Runs event at Thames Valley Park, where there was also a good turn-out of Roadrunners.

This seven-hour window of opportunity was designed to be ideal training for those entered in spring marathons, half marathons and ultras.

I thought it would be a perfect warm-up for Paris (er, perhaps not) and then Brighton (oops!) Oh dear, this is getting expensive.

With little incentive for the longer stuff I ran a half-decent half marathon (with negative split) and fled early, leaving the proper long-distance runners — like Martin Bush and Jo Sollesse — to continue racking up the miles.

We had been dreaming of racing over the Verrezano Bridge in NYC while having to make do with the Horseshoe bridge over the Kennet, which became increasingly difficult to cross as East Reading’s finest returned from Tesco laden down with the fruits of their stockpiling raids.

As a tribute to my unlucky club colleague Liz Jones, I wore my (totally redundant) England vest for this event. 

Liz was supposed to be lining up for England in the age group masters international at Fleet but with this race also falling foul of the pandemic, she missed the chance to represent her country.

This disappointment followed a week in which she had battled to recover from a fractured thumb and cracked ribs after a cycling accident.

Liz was determined to make the most of her big day however, and wore the coveted strip on an off-road run, proudly displayed it to her horse, Kazan (left) and then a field of goats, as well as the statues in Trafalgar Square, buskers in Covent Garden… and finally she slept in it (below). Coming soon will be  a montage of images of Liz’s vest’s day in the sun… set to music!  

Elsewhere, Ryan Faulkner was the only Roadrunner competing at the somewhat controversially-staged Bath Half Marathon, where he ran 1:18.22, while Emily Brett was also a solo half-marathoner. She ran Hampton Court in 2:13.00.

For the second consecutive event, Ashley Middlewick was on a podium. He picked up another runners-up prize with a time of 37.45 in the Mad March Hare 10k at Woldingham.

The Milton Keynes 10k was a family affair for Roadrunners. Andy Atkinson was second MV65 and his wife Liz third in the same age category. Mark Andrew was up in 23rd in that event with a time of 41.20 and his wife Veronica finished with Liz Atkinson.

Goring results: https://www.chiptiming.co.uk/events/goring-10k-2020/

Pictures: Eddie Thorpe, Phil Reay, Katherine Sargeant.

Dinner Dance 2020

Dinner Dance & Roadrunners Charity Donation

Our club held it’s annual Dinner Dance on Sunday 8th March. Anne Goodhall who arranged the event commented ‘It went like a dream’. Our runners are normally used to pounding the track, roads & trail but last night many could be seen strutting their stuff on the Dance Floor. Awards and thanks were handed out to runners, volunteers & committee members.
One of the highlights of the evening was our Chairman Phil Reay handing our 2019 club charity First Days Children’s Charity a cheque for over £10,000 raised by our club with the help of our charity coordinator Zoë Browne.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action picture: Gemma Buley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone should be incredibly proud of their run today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pictures: Gemma Buley, Pete Morris

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