Swanley Park Relays (Wed. 12th July)
The Swanley Park Relays were back 2023. Described as a friendly 'relay race' around the popular Swanley Park home to the KFL XC & Swanley Parkrun. Teams of four to run one lap (1.5 miles) each with prizes for first female, male & mixed team (2+2).
The team of Julie Backley, Cara Oliver, Sally Carr and Susan Dixon finished second in the senior women's competition, whilst Liam Carr, Martin Leat, Brett Baker and Duncan Hope placed third in the senior men's event.
03. CH Men 31:50: Liam Carr (8:05), Martin Leat (8:54), Brett Baker (7:22) & Duncan Hope (7:29).
18. CH Ladies 37:48: Julie Backley (8:56), Cara Oliver (9:43), Sally Carr (10:08) & Susan Dixon (9:01).
28. CH Mixed 40:42: Paul Ford (9:42), Chris Bond (10:09), Ian McCarthy (10:19) & Rose Baker (10:32).
43. CH Wednesday 47:42: Joanne Barber (10:36), Angela Ford (11:33), Leanne Grindley (12:57) & Maria Macdonald (12:35).
Ras Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon Race), Llanberis, North Wales (Sat. 15th July)
With winds forecast to gust at over 50mph and thunder storms also likely the organisers decided to shorten this year's race, reports Clem Dixon This may not have been universally popular but to my mind you need to have done a stint as a summit marshal in those sorts of conditions before you have any right to be critical. And I rather suspect that after facing horizontal armour-piercing rain to get to the turnaround point about two thirds of the way up the mountain everyone was at least secretly glad not to be carrying on to the summit. Yr Wyddfa, the Welsh name for Snowdon, means the tomb, or the burial mound, and no one wants it living up to its name. Wyddfa is a useful little word by the way as I shall explain later.
We had a Cambridge contingent of four this year, regulars Clem Dixon and Christian Poulton being joined by Tarbo Fukazawa and James Pitts. Tarbo is no stranger to fell running but for one reason or another had never done this one before whereas James was trying this type of racing for the first time. We were a bit concerned that the testing conditions might tip James into the 'never again' camp rather than the 'hungry for more', but there was no need to worry as he finished with a big smile and both he and Tarbo promised to come back next year to see the whole mountain in all its glory and also to enjoy the pre and post race festival atmosphere that was understandably somewhat muted this year.
James had an excellent ascent to reach the turnaround two minutes ahead of Tarbo and Christian, but Tarbo is the best descender in the club and he made up all of those two minutes on the way down to pip James by four seconds. At this race they use five year age category bands rather than the usual ten which allows 57 year old Christian to harbour hopes of an age category win, hopes that were soon dashed when the legendary Ian Holmes was spotted in the start field: a multiple winner of this race and many others in the past and still a force to be reckoned with. But wait, not only are they generous enough to use five year bands here, they also give a prize for second place as well as first so Christian was called up after all. They take their presentation ceremony seriously here and he was introduced to the stage with the words 'all the way from the flat lands of Cambridge' to great applause.
They pride themselves here on this being an International race and attract elite teams representing each of the four home nations plus Ireland and Italy. It was one of the Italian team, Isacco Costa, who won the men's race. The winner of the women's race will be familiar to many Club members: Holly Page of Dartford Harriers, here representing Scotland. In the three-to-score international team competition England were victorious in both the male and female races. In addition to the elite International team competition there is also a team prize (beer!) for ordinary club teams in which we came fifth, so no beer but not bad for a club from the flat lands!
Wyddfa, in case you were wondering, is pronounced something like oo-ith-va. Many English people seem to have decided that pronouncing Welsh place names is so difficult that it isn't worth trying, but actually there are only six things you need to remember. Two of them are fairly well known: double L is pronounced with that distinctively Welsh guttural sound reminiscent of coughing up phlegm and CH is also pronounced gutturally as in the Scottish word Loch. The other four are less well known but are all to be found in the word wyddfa: W is a vowel not a consonant, think of it as a double O; Y is also a vowel, pretend that it is an I; whereas a single D is pronounced as you would expect, double D is pronounced TH (the hard TH as in That, TH is still used for the soft TH as in Thistle); a single F is pronounced as a V, you need a double F to make an F sound. So there you are, remember that wyddfa is pronounced ooithva and you will not sound anything like a native but you will be on your way.
Results: 1. Isacco Costa 38:58 (ascent 25:01/descent 13:57), 32. Ian Holmes (1st M55) 45:52 (29:29/16:43), 33. Holly Page (1st Female) 46:00 (29:38/16:22), 73. Tarbo Fukazawa 51:05 (33:56/17:09), 75. James Pitts 51:09 (31:57/19:12), 114. Christian Poulton (2nd M55) 54:34 (34:24/20:10) & 352. Clem Dixon 1:08:42 (44:49 /23:53).
Kent Young Athletes League, Gillingham (Sat. 15th July)
The weather was better than expected with only gale force winds instead of gale force winds and thunderstorms, writes Mick Bond, so I guess we should be grateful! Overall we had our third successive third place in the division one of the league, which leaves us not unsurprisingly in third place with one match to go. To put this in perspective the highest we have ever finished in the league in the last ten years is 5th and indeed we spent a few seasons in Division 2 in that time, so our young athletes are doing amazingly well.
Under 15 Boys: Our under 15 boys team won no less that 15 events out of a possible 20, putting clubs like Blackheath and Tonbridge in the shade. Michael Bridge won both the shot (big PB of 14.52m) and discus (27.87m), finished 2nd in the javelin (40.78m) and then ran a leg of the 4 x 300m relay. Hans Nmaju was a class apart winning the hurdles (11.2s) and long jump (5.70m) and sprinting well on the last leg of the 4 x 100m. Elijah Olaleye back from the broken toe that kept him out of the English Schools won the B-string high jump, 80m hurdles and 300m. Daniel Obike won the high jump (1.80m) before having three good goes at 1.82m which would have been a club record. Xavier Brathwaite picked up more points with wins in the B-string 100 and long jump.
Under 15 Girls: Nia Thomas won the 75 hurdles in a PB equalling 12.5s and being at the bottom of the age group should really shine next year. Isabelle Stevens broke into 9m territory in the shot with a PB of 9.01m and picked up second in the discus. The windy conditions were tough for the middle distance athletes but Celia Yeatman did well to finish second in the 1500m in 5:28.4s.
Under 13 Boys: Caleb Warnke showed a clen pair of heels to all the under 13 sprinters winning the 100m and 200m with the latter taking advantage of the tail wind to record a huge PB of 26.3s. Caleb then added a long lump win of 4.78m.
Under 13 Girls: A full team added good points and included Sophie Floyd winning the B-string hurdles.
Mid Kent 5 Miler, Staplehurst (Sun. 16th July)
Susan Dixon and Sally Carr were in action for the second time in a week at the Mid Kent 5 Miler held on a course that winds its way through the quiet lanes of the beautiful Kent countryside and is predominantly flat. Susan finished in 76th place overall and first W55 in 34:23. Sally crossed the line in 36:42 for 106th overall and 6th W50.