Kent Vets Championships
Updated: Jan 8
Well done to our M60 team for taking the gold medals this year. Dave Kitcher has been in terrific form in the Kent League and hopes were high that his three top age category places from three races would translate into a win, but here the field was stronger with John Gurney (Petts Wood) and Paul McAuliffe (Larkfield) included, neither of whom have been running in the Kent League. Gurney opened up a small lead early on which Dave never quite managed to close and in the end he was out-sprinted by McAuliffe in the finishing straight to end up with the bronze medal. Dave was well backed up by Alan Black and Jerry Carnell to take team gold by a considerable margin.
Expectations were also high for the M70s where we fielded three runners; Peter Hadley who has been in good form in the League, Ian Marshall who was at last making a comeback after a long lay-off from illness and Roger Portis who has medalled in these championships in each of the last two years. But again all sorts of people who we were not expecting, or who we had never even heard of, came out of the woodwork, including one fellow who was running on his 70th birthday, and although all three of the Cambridge runners finished in the top ten all were shaded out of the individual medals. Team medals are not given out in this age category for the very understandable reason that in most years no clubs manage to field as many as three runners, but recently the size of the field has been rising considerably (as testament to the NHS?) and both we and Caterbury Harriers had three finishers. Had medals been up for grabs we would have taken gold by a comfortable margin.
These two competitions are both run in an amalgamated race that also includes all of the women’s age categories in which we had just one runner; Christine Bond was 10th in the W45 category.
Fortunes were less good for the M50s and M40s running in the first and last races of the day respectively. In both cases we came 7th as a team, but at least we were able to field a team in both age categories, a step up from last year.
Thank you to Datford Harriers for hosting the event and laying out the course, a strong wind sapped the strength on the flat sections and the short sharp inclines added interest, more interest than was welcome for some runners who ended up on their backsides and unfortunately one chap had to be carted off in an ambulance having damaged his knee, and he was just jogging the course as a warm-up. As always opinions differ as to where to draw the dividing line between “challenging” and “dangerous”, I for one hope that the organisers don’t feel that they need to change the course as a result.