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It's odds on now that you'll run faster than ever at Odd Down!

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Kurt Taylor just edged out his B&W clubmate Jack Bancroft and one of Tonbridge`s star runners Ben Cole in a thrilling finish to the club`s inaugural monthly 5K on the Odd Down cycle circuit, and in doing so improved the club`s fastest time on the new course set by Callum Jones in May`s elite event by four seconds to 14:29.

Frustratingly it was just one second outside his recent new personal best of 14:28 set in a race at Battersea, but Jack`s 14:31 was a new pb on the road, clipping three seconds off the time he posted in May`s event, while the fast pace they set at the front in the near perfect conditions on the night led to a mass assault on the rest of the field`s personal bests for the distance.

The net result was that more than half of the runners broke their previous bests to prove that there`s more than an even money chance that anyone starting will go home much happier!

The top six in the faster of the two waves all bettered the classic 15 minute barrier, while the leading lady Phillipa Williams` winning time of 16:27 was the second fastest woman`s time so far on the course behind May`s elite winner Cardiff international Charlotte Arter, who went on to finish 4th in the Olympic trials 5000m last weekend.

Phillipa, a previous National Inter-Counties cross-country medallist, took advantage of testing Swiss company On`s latest model in the new racing shoe war and was rewarded by knocking five seconds off her previous best for the distance. Behind her the second and third finishers Taunton`s Elle Twentyman (16:56) and promising North Somerset youngster Ellie Wallace (16:58) also broke 17mins while Twentyman`s clubmate Kate Drew (17:01) was only one second outside.

While Phillipa was our only B&W runner under 17mins, Rosie Hattersley (17:18), Hollie Hindley (17:18) and Kate Mctear (17:21) pushed each other to significant new pb`s as they finished in close order in 5th, 6th and 7th positions respectively. They can surely form the backbone of a new look team for the winter season.

Back to the men`s standings there were four other B&W runners under16mins, led by cross captain Owain Jones, who has now reached master`s status and celebrated this new landmark by finishing 7th overall in a competitive time of 15:10 considering his training has been compromised for the last couple of months by a flare up of his chronic achilles problem. Just a quarter of a minute and a further five places back ex Bristol Uni student Felix Rusby proved he is fast regaining race fitness in clocking 15:25 and holding off the club`s outstanding V45 Graham Breen, whose time of 15:26 was reportedly his fastest ever on the road and must surely rate him among the country`s fastest for his age over the distance.

Ben Maliphant too continued the progress he has been making this summer, building on his recent track 3000m just outside 9mins by setting another new personal best of 15:40 to finish three places behind Graham in 16th place, while there were five more of our runners under 17mins - Daniel Madden, who was only two seconds outside that 16min deadline; Josh Habgood-Coote (16:35), Andy Drake (16:35), and Jamie Hinton (16:37) who, like three of our leading ladies, enjoyed their own personal ding-dong, with another of their training partners Steve Honight (16:47) only ten seconds further back.

None the less perhaps the outstanding performance of the day came at the front of the earlier slower wave, where Wells` 57 year old supervet John James not only finished a clear winner, but in doing so posted the fastest V55 time in the country this year of 16:12 to provide further evidence of the Odd Down`s growing reputation as one of the fastest courses in the South West.

In conclusion this was another hugely successful effort by our BTC group, who deserve the plaudits of all our members for setting aside their own competitive aspirations to organise the races, which are surely going to prove a source of serious income in helping service the ever increasing costs of running the club.

Mike Down

PS Callum Jones may have missed this race, but has been ripping up the track of late, following up a huge new pb on the track of 14:04 for 5000m at Watford ten days ago by clocking the club`s fastest 1500m this season of 3:49.74 in winning the BMC South West`s 1500m event earlier this week.

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