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  • Writer's pictureClem Dixon

Kent Veterans Cross Country Championships

Congratulations to the 60+ team and to 70 year old Roger Portis for their silver medals in this year’s event.

Those of us who only know of Dartford’s Central Park from having started and finished the Dartford Half Marathon from there, or perhaps from having run the Park Run, found it hard to believe that it could be an adequate venue for a cross country event. But it turns out that the area of land to the east of the river includes a number of steep banks which had been cunningly exploited to create a varied and challenging course which received the "thumbs up" from all that ran it.

As always in the Kent Vets the standard of competition was high with some quality athletes on show. The 40+ race developed into an epic duel between Alex Gibbins of Blackheath & Bromley in his first year as a vet and last year’s winner Christopher Greenwood (Kent AC) with Gibbins finally winning by 6 seconds. Two Tonbridge athletes, Ben Reynolds and Graeme Saker, opened up an early lead in the 50+ race which was eventually won by Reynolds. Alan Camp of Blackheath & Bromley, who will be a familiar figure to many who train at Sutcliff Park, was an easy winner of the 60+ race.

For the club the most successful of the day’s races was the second in which the 60+ and the 70+ age groups compete over a shorter (5k) course concurrently with all of the women’s age groups. Expectations were not that high as our leading runners in both categories were missing: Jerry Carnell, last year’s winner of the 60+ race, having a cold and Peter Hadley, two-time winner of the 70+ event in the Kent League this season, on grandfather duty in Disneyland. But Alan Black did his usual trick of starting steadily and then working his way through the field, finishing in an excellent 4th place. He was well backed up by Mick Ellsmore (13th) and Ian McCarthy (18th) for the team to take the silver medals (behind Blackheath & Bromley). Meanwhile Roger Portis, our only representative in the 70+ age group, ran an excellent race to finish second.

In the first race of the day, Christian Poulton, enjoying his first season in his 50’s finished 5th while in the last race David Reader was first home for the Club in 10th.

RESULTS M40 (9K): 10 David Reader 32:13 32 Andy Knight 34:50 33 Dom Fiore 35:12 64 Mal Pires 39:41 Team (4 to score): 6th

M50 (9K): 5 Christian Poulton 33:41 30 Graham Maynard 37:39 34 Mark Ashby 37:56 41 Clem Dixon 38:33 46 Mark Cross 39:10 56 Martin Hawkins 40:40 Team (3 to score): 6th

M60 (5K): 4 Alan Black 19:39 13 Mick Ellsmore 20:38 18 Ian McCarthy 21:01 43 Mike Simmons 25:28 Team (3 to score): 2nd

M70 (5K): 2 Roger Portis 24:27


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