Sian Davis reports:
The day kicked off well with four complete women’s teams turning up well on time, with the tent and cake! This was the best turnout we have ever had at this event which is both enjoyable and competative. The conditions were good, cloudy, cool with little breeze. We got news that the course had been changed after many years and reports that it was now slightly over 5k and more undulating, which explains why the times were up to a minute slower than previous years.
The first race set off at 10:30 with the W35 and W45 combined.
Our first leg runner was Ana Duran-Mingo who looked strong and held her form all the way to the finish to give the team a good start, finishing in 4 th . She also posted the 7th fastest W35 leg of the day. On the second leg was Liz Hill who very kindly stepped into the team in the last week. I hope she enjoyed the experience and will be back again. Liz finished well up the final hill to hand over to Julia Belyavin who had a good solid run on her way back to fitness after an injury lay off. Finally Antonia Gooder who was running down an age group, took on all the pressure of last leg to bring the team home in 9 th position. A top ten finish was a bonus given the depletion to the team in the final weeks of preparation and we were all very happy to finish a solid team in the end.
1) Ana Duran-Mingo 19:29 (4)
2) Liz Hill 23:37 (12)
3) Julia Belyavin 20:02 (8)
4) Antonia Gooder 23:07 (9)
W45 A Team
Annabel Granger set the team off and although she was a bit worried that 5k wasn’t her best distance she needn’t have doubted herself as she finished well up in first place just behind the leading W35 1st and 2nd women, posting the fastest W45 time of the day! Next up on leg 2 was Clare Jolliffe, who entertained all who watched, as she came around the final stretch clearly in the lead of the whole W35/45 race, which was very exciting! The ever dependable Sarah Everitt took over on 3 rd leg with a clear lead in the W45 race and without pressure ran a storming leg to complete the team winning in 58:17. This was over four minutes ahead of our closest rivals Westbury Harriers. Obviously this is a course record but I imagine it will remain for a few years yet! As already mentioned Annabel posted the fastest time, with Sarah 3rd and Clare 4th fastest, pretty much unbeatable really!
1) Annabel Granger 19:07 (1)
2) Clare Jolliffe 19:37 (1)
3) Sarah Everitt 19:33 (1)
W45 B Team
As with the W35’s this was another team that needed some final tweaking to ensure we had the necessary 3 runners. Chris Rose kindly stepped in to run down an age group. Emma-Jane Orchard was on the first leg and had been concerned by a recent niggle that her breathing would be hampered but thankfully she rose to the occasion and managed to relax and get around in one piece. Next up was Chris Rose who is getting back to fitness with every race after a recent absence from running. And to finish the team off in 13th place was Latife Comlek who had a welcome break from studying and seemed to really enjoy the day. All three held the 13th position all the way round.
W45 B Team
1) Emma Jane Orchard 24:13 (13)
2) Christine Rose 26:55 (13)
3) Latife Comlek 25:10 (13)
Again the 55’s were not at full strength due to Tracy Allen not being available and me (Sian Davies) pulling out with injury but the bonus was our new recruit Angela Parfitt and had we all be fit and available we could have challenged Dulwich for the gold. Maybe next year! However, we still had a team, led off by Angela who finished an amazing second
place behind the talented City of Norwich athlete Jane Clarke. Angela also posted the 6th fastest time of the day (the fastest was of course Clare Elms) and admitted she was a novice at this level of event, so I’m sure there’s even more to come. Next up was our amazing European/World medallist Anne Dockery who was also running down an age group and is also getting back to fitness and gradually improving her times again. Felicity Russell was on the last leg and finished the team well in 7th place.
I hope it was a good day had by all and will inspire others to join us. Our aim next time is to also field a W65 team to support Anne Dockery, so we will be on the look out!
Phil Parry reports:
In the M55/65 race our M65 team took silver medals with the M55 team grabbing bronze. Jerry Hogan (20:17) made a solid start for the M55s A team, getting us into the medal hunt and finishing 14th, with Mike Nutt (23:08) finishing 4th B team runner after the first leg, unfortunately we hadn’t got any runners to complete the B team this year. Tony Roper (18:25) moved up to 7th on the second leg, crucially just behind the battle for 3rd place, and Phil Parry (17:26) clocked the second fastest M55 time of the day to clinch the bronze medals. Leicester and Warrington were much too strong for us this year, congratulations to them, but we’ve got a few speedsters joining this age group over the next few years.
The M65s were our star men this year, Tom Burgess (23:20) made a great start coming home 6th, passing on to Dave Bedwell (20:00) who ran the joint fastest time of the day to move us into 3rd, we know he is quality, but that’s brilliant! Mike Chipping (22:03) improved the medal to silver, a fantastic result to be very proud of. Andy Drake (17:18) in 15th and Andy Cooke (17:14) finishing in 8th on the second leg got the M35s off to a great start, they were our two acknowledged top athletes running on the day. Neil Turney (18:29) kept us in 12th place on the third leg, with
Darren Stringer(20:26) finishing 20th on the fourth leg and Ben Holding (20:23) doing a great job to hold on to 20th. Richard Bowles (19:42) brought the team home in 21st place, a great run for one of our M50 county championship winning relay team. Top M35s run around 15.30 on this year’s course, our team demonstrated the B&W commitment and enthusiasm that made for another enjoyable and successful day for all of us in Sutton Park.
Steve Grant did a great job organising and entering the teams, and thanks to everybody who helped with photography, the tent, cakes, driving and everything else necessary for this year’s medal haul.