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  • Noel Carmody

Weekly Update - 1st Nov. 2023

Battersea Park Running Festival (Sun. 22nd Oct.)

The Battersea Park Running Festival included a marathon, half-marathon, 5k and 5000m track races which were seeded. Chris Loudon (M35) ran in the fastest race where he finished third with a new personal best of 15:28.36s.

Kent Cross Country League #2, Somerhill School, Tonbridge (Sat. 28th Oct.)

Senior Women: Once again, the senior women had strength in both numbers and depth at the second cross country match of the season, writes Rose Baker.

Just like the Turner painting of Somerhill, there was a lot of water, and a fresh downpour of rain churned up more puddles and mud. The ground hadn’t quite recovered from hosting cyclocross the week before; nothing like last year when we joked about needing sun cream. The senior women managed a team photo (featuring Skye the dog) and started the race in gentle autumn sunshine but as one of the men’s team remarked, there were a lot of washing machines working hard that evening.

In W65 race Maria Macdonald and Stephanie Dungate put in solid performances and enjoying it so much they both signed up for Parliament Hill. In the senior women’s race, Katie Sanders was first Cambridge Harrier to cross the finish line, followed by Julie Backley, Phoebe Cooper, Georgia Huddleston, Hayley Newman (no pit stop!) and Sophie Johnson in quick succession, all in the top forty or so finishers. Julie and Katie are in podium positions in the W35 and W45 standings respectively. In W55 podium position is Chris Bond, finishing in the next little cluster of club members along with Donna Martin, Maria Hjorth and Lynette Boston. Our team was completed by Rose Baker, Sally Carr, Marian Hine, and Joanne Barber.

Top: Katie Sanders - Julie Backley - Phoebe Cooper

Bottom: Georgia Huddleston - Hayley Newman - Sophie Johnson

We also had numerous supporters ( I am not sure saying “I can’t believe you are walking up that hill, what are you doing?!” is support).

The most SW participants in the league was an average of 11.2 in both 2017/8 and 2018/19. Numbers dipped before increasing to 10.4 average last season. We are currently smashing that.

Senior Men: At Tonbridge in previous years we have had the luxury of driving the club minibus down to the tented area, writes Clem Dixon; this year the marshal shook his head sagely and said something to the effect that given the state of the ground he didn't rate our chances of getting out again, advise that we were sensible enough to take. That tells you all you need to know about the state of the course; by the time of the senior races the soft grass had been transformed to mud, and even without the mud the hills on this great course make it quite a challenge. Young Erwan (Rostan) , who hails from France, where apparently the cross country courses are rather more anodyne, declared that he had never seen anything like it.

There were mixed fortunes for the senior men: on the plus side Ben Shearer had another fine place in the top 20 to be our first finisher, Dean Lacy showed a big improvement on the fixture two weeks ago and Liam McLaughlin and Brett Baker ran well again. But Bobby Babaker was some way below his best, thanks largely to being several millimetres short in the spike department, and with perhaps five of those who I would regard as being in our top ten missing for a variety of reasons we sank back to 4th place in the 4 to score (our scorers being Ben, Dean, Bobby and Liam in that order). Ben was again 2nd M40 and lies 2nd in that table. The story was the same in the 12 to score where Luke Ford in 122nd closed out the team for 4th place. But all is not lost: we are still 3rd in both league tables and a good turn out at Danson Park in two weeks would cement those positions.

Top: Ben Shearer - Dean Lacy - Bobby Babaker

Bottom: Liam McLaughlin - Brett Baker - Luke Ford

A bit further back we welcomed two new members, Jon Davies (128th) and Hjalti Rognvaldsson (239th), for their first, and hopefully not last, taste of cross country racing in Cambridge vests.

In the earlier race for the over 70s we again had two runners, this time Keith Dungate (5th) keeping Peter Hadley (9th) company.

Young Age Groups: Charlotte Foster put in an impressive performance in her first race for the club when finishing 5th in the U13G race, writes Mark Newell. Not to be outdone, our other four athletes, Sophia-Rose Bonnar, Seren Yeatman, Lizzie Sanders & Daisy O'Brien all improved on their previous finish positions from the first fixture.

Left: Daisy O'Brien - Seren Yeatman - Sophia-Rose Bonnar - Charlotte Foster - Lizzie Sanders

Right: Delilah Lester - Celia Yeatman

Alex van den Berg-Hows and Monty Brown were joined by Johnny Ravenscroft (in his first race for the club) in the U13B race and they all finished within ten seconds of each other.

We were down in numbers in the U15G race. Delilah Lester clearly has a liking for hills because, like last year, she was first to finish for the club.

We had six athletes in the U15B race. Olly Cook had his best race of the season when placing 12th overall. Aniket Iyengar was not able to run in the previous fixture due to an injury. This has clearly not affected him as finished a very respectable 16th. Theo Bonell finished the race hobbling, having picked up an injury mid-race, so did well to finish in 60th from the 67 finishers.

Amelia Lawrence, as for the previous fixture, was our lone representative in the combined U17W/U20W race equalling her performance from Footscray Meadows, finishing 3rd U17W and 6th in the combined race.

Olly Buck was our fastest in the U17M race, finishing a respectable 4th. Sam Scrase-Field, by his own admission, struggled with the hills and finished down on his usual performances. Thomas Everson ran his first race for the club placing 36th.

Ewan Rostan finished first in the U20M race at the first fixture but had to settle for second place this time. Having previously competed in cross country races in France, which are traditionally flat, this was his first experience of an English 'hilly course'.

Full Cambridge Harriers results are here

Marathon Eryri (formally Snowdonia Marathon Eryri), Llanberis (Sat. 28th Oct.)

The inaugural Snowdonia Marathon was held in 1982, and was conceived as a dramatic alternative to the numerous city and town races becoming so popular. The demanding and spectacular route, encircling Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak, has given the event a unique place in the annual marathon calendar ever since. Steve Brown (M65) took on this unique event finishing in a time of 4:22:30.

Frankfurt Marathon (Sun. 29th Oct.)

James Macdonald made the trip out to Germany for the Frankfurt Marathon. The race starts from the centre of Frankfurt, leading runners through the city past its fascinating skyline, onto the district of Sachsenhausen and the residential district of Hochst. Runners are then led back along the Mainzer Landstrasse through the city centre towards the trade fair tower and the "red carpet" finish at the Festhalle. James finished in 42nd place (4th M40) with a time of 2:28:34, a seasons best.

Raising money for charity

Caroline Ford spent two days of half-term running 4x4x48 for Edukaid, which is a charity that works to improve education in Tanzania, reaching her target of £1000.00. This involved running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours covering 48 miles.


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