Chris Elson reports
Report Blaise 7.12.19
There was a 15 strong contingent at the Telford 10K, which included the Master’s selection race for the home international. A goodly number of PB’s were posted with Harry Allan 30.17, Felix McGrath 31.07, Joe Connors 31.58, Jed Bartlett 32.40, Andy Cooke (40) 33.04, Ben Maliphant 33.07, Phil Parry (4th M55) 35.48, Brad Pontin 37.47, Natalie Griffiths 37.33, Clare Jolliffe (2nd W50) 39.32, Sarah Everitt (5th W50) 40.45, Sian Davies 43.10 (7th W55), Fliss Russell (6th W60) 47.13, Christine Rose (12th W60) 52.32, Anne Dockery (2nd W70) 53.17. In addition, David Eagon, Alex Whittaker and Annabelle Grainger were 1st, 4th, & 1st women respectively at Christmas Cracker 10K. So how would B&W AC fare at Blaise? Rather well as it turned out, with a few unanticipated reinforcements and some handy debutantes. In fact the weekend’s events must rank as one the best performance by the B&W AC endurance section in terms of strength in depth in living memory!
This time the women did set a record namely A team 1st & B team 2nd! The C, D, E & F teams were all 1st in their category, out of the 76 teams finishing with the C team 9th, D team 15th, E team 25th, and F team 54th. The W35 & W45 teams were 1st and W55 team 2nd. I think Keith is going to be pleased with these results! Individually, Kate Maltby led the field home and it was lovely to see Kate in full flow gliding away from her pursuers. Kate even said she enjoyed it! Next up was a rejuvenated Nicky Brookland who produced a cracking run in 6th and was first W45 by the proverbial mile. That left a trio of Rosie Hattersley (10th), Catie O’Donaghoe (14th), and making her club debut, Annie Carroll (15th), all running strongly to complete the A team . The B team was led home by Anna Duran-Mingo, back after injury, in 19th, followed by another debutante Hannah Steeds (23), Katerina Entwhistle (24th), Elaina Gard fighting off a cold (26th) & Naomi Aylwin (31st). That was some performance by the B team! Lucy Wallace, not at her best, was first home for the C team in 40th position, with Tanya Chowdhudry having an excellent run (43rd & 8th W40), Thea Payne making an impressive debut (46th), Emma Clarke (56th) & Nicky Hodges, (71st & 8th W45) completing the team. Alice Doggrell, warming up for the race with a nippy Clevedon park run (somebody needs to talk to her about this), was first finisher for the D team in 73rd, with W40 Harriet Williams running well in 77th, Ruth Tredgett (90th), a notable performance from Antonia Gooder (106th & 6th W50) and an excellent one from Maggie Salter (120th & 4th W55) & no, I didn’t miss the 26 min park run. Another debutante, Kate Hoffen with a run to be proud of led the all masters E team home in 134th position (11th W50), with Rosey Mushens (139th & 7thW55), Ali Hurford, cheered on by the army, (157th & 11th W55), W45 Julie Ilogu (169th), and W45 Emma-Jane Orchard (174th). Finally the F team was composed of Harriet Middlebrough (184th), Danielle Suttle (213rd) & W45 Katie Ronald (215th) out of the 292 finishers.
In the M65 race run with the ladies Dave Bedwell was 1st & Tom Burgess 10th & they held on to their 2nd place overall.
Could the men emulate their female counterparts? They did give it a good shot! The A team were first and now have a handy cushion of 149 points over our nearest rivals, Aberdare AAC. The B team were 4th and head the B Division by over 500 points! Notably, the C, D, E & F teams occupied the first four places in the Reserve Division with the G team in 14th out of 31 teams in the division. The M35 team were 2nd on the day and M45 5th. I’m indebted to Mike Down for his report on the A team. The Blaise race was particularly significant for the long awaited comeback of the club’s former junior international Ben Westhenry and the return from injury of Andy Chambers. These two were joined among others by Andy Watt, whose progress has been a revelation this autumn but who himself was returning from an inactive fortnight’s holiday in South America. So there were question marks all round, but the way Ben attacked the three undulating three lap course from the start you could have thought he had never been away! He took the bull by the horns, opening up a lead of as much as 30-40 metres on the first two laps, but a combination of an ankle roll suffered midrace and a predictable reaction to such an aggressive approach in his first race for two years saw him run out of gas on the last lap and have to settle for 7th place at the end. Nonetheless it was a remarkable resumption to what had been a promising junior career before an overuse shin injury suffered during a short athletics scholarship stay in the U.S. left him so exasperated that he made an early return to the UK. Now happily based back with his alma mater in Bristol studying for a Ph.D. and hopefully finally clear of his chronic shin problem, it should not be long before he underlines his outstanding natural talent. While one’s attention was inevitably focussed on Ben’s comeback effort, behind him Andy Chambers, was also returning to action after before being sidelined for the past month due to an ankle sprain together with a recurrence of the back problem that grounded him for the first half of the year. Unlike Ben he purposely started cautiously, and although never in contact with the leaders soon worked his way through to a position in the top six and gradually closed the gap to finish in 4th place in a race that he thought he could have won if his training had not been interrupted. Andy and Ben’s efforts sandwiched those of Andy Watt and Jonny Suttle, who both took their time to work their way through a number of the early pacesetters to finish 5th and 6th respectively just ahead of Ben. Andy Watt, clearly acted as a spur to Johnny, who underlined his ongoing progress by producing what was arguably his best ever performance on the country. (Chris again). The A team was completed by Maciej Bialogonski who finished 15th despite his race warm up over the Seven Bridge at the parkrun earlier in the day. The B team was led home by Graham Breen (19th & 1st M40) who took the scalp of international James Thie, followed by a good run from Olly Sheppard (20th), Rob Farley (21st) who seems to be getting better every race, Pete Bains (39th) and Lee Gawler (51st) with perhaps his best performance since joining the club. When you have a C team led home by someone of the calibre of Andy Drake (54th 11th M35) you know you have a good team. Henry Sly (68th & 8th M40) was next followed by the ever improving Sam Bentley 75th, Darren Garmen (76th & 4th M45), who must has kept something in reserve for his exploits at the Cracker the following day and Joe Lyne (94th) another person ascending the league rankings. Under 23 Tom Blake (119th) making his league debut led the D team home, with Matt Burdon some 30 places higher than at Pembrey park (123rd), Neil Turney (125th) a recent addition to the sleep deprivation society but now getting enough to return to the fray, Jon Bennett (130th) a graduate from the said society, and debutante & another parkrun warm up victim, Simon Brice (131st) completed the team. The E team comprised Cameron Grayling (132nd), Steve Swan (148th), M45 Paul Jefferson (154 & 15th M45), Pete Gandon (158th), and M40 Tim White (180th) & F team M40 Peter Wang (188th), Tom Moriaty (189th), Tariq Kurd with a breakthrough run (194th & 28th M45), Mark Taylor (195th & 29th M45), & Dan Titheradge returning after a long break (214th). After Nathan Lomax-Cooke (234th), the next three members of the G team were all running their first cross-country race with M40 Ben Holding (295th) in the van, followed by Nicko Brooke (299th), Andrew Young (348th), & super coach Nick Crewe (362th & 36th M55) out of 481 finishers. Next Race the SW Championships enter online before 23rd December.
Full results are available here: http://gwent-league.org.uk/2019/res193.htm