Weekly Update - 25th Jan. 2023
Box Hill Fell Race (12km with 520m of ascent. FRA Cat. BM)
Eight of the club's fell runners headed off to Box Hill (near Dorking) for the traditional start of the club's fell running year, writes Clem Dixon. Conditions were perfect; bright sunshine and little wind, frozen ground with little mud, and morning mist clearing to offer good views.
Last year James Macdonald and Tom Brooke, both then running this race for the first time, finished 13th and 14th. A year later saw a huge improvement as they again finished close to each other in 6th and 7th, this time with the order reversed. Might this be down to Tom having undertaken "dry January" (a project that was to be a casualty of the post-race debrief once we got back to the pub)? John O'Mahony, taking on this race for the first time was our next finisher in 13th. Had Andy Doyle been able to finish we may have taken the team prize but unfortunately he was unwell and a DNF. Graham Maynard was looking forward to running this race as an over 60 for the first time and hopes were high that he might win his new age category but he was well beaten by Martin Leat running for Crystal Palace Tri who is a second claim Cambridge Harrier and tells me that he will be changing his first claim allegiance shortly.
There was much talk before the race of a return to the old (pre 2015) start and finish location on Burford Spur. Some years ago the National Trust (who own the land and allow, somewhat begrudgingly, the race to take place) discovered a rare species of orchid on this hillside and the course was altered to start and finish by the Stepping Stones over the river at the foot of a steep bank of steps. This caused congestion at the start and mayhem at the finish: everyone likes a downhill finish, but a flight of steps? This year we were back on the Spur but with much of the grassland roped off so the course followed a rocky track, a huge improvement on the steps if not quite as good as the grassy slopes of the past. There were a few other minor changes to the course imposed by the landowners which resulted in a few runners getting misplaced, not I suspect because of inadequacies in the course marking but because if you think you know a route it is easy to fall into the trap of running on autopilot.
The new course may be no longer but it is certainly quicker thanks to those pesky steps not being included. Last year Max Nicholls broke the record for the course with the steps in a time of 52:16, he won again this year in 48:42 but this was well outside the 47:57 set by Club President Dean Lacy in the second of his three wins (2005, 2006 & 2007) and further still from the record for the old course (James McMullen 46:55 in 2011).
One of the other changes that have been made to this event over the years is that the race HQ, previously an insurance company's sports centre and a school, is now a pub, and a pub just a short walk from a train station with direct trains back to London all of which rounded off a great day out and one which hopefully even more of the club's runners will enjoy next year.
James - Tom - Christian - Andy - Graham - Clem - Tarbo - John
Results: 6th Tom Brooke 57:00, 7th James Macdonald 57:25 (1st M40), 13th John O'Mahony 1:00:47 (3rd M40), 38th Christian Poulton 1:04:59, 43rd Tarbo Fukazawa 1:05:19, 102nd Graham Maynard 1:14:18 (2nd M60), 162nd Clem Dixon 1:21:04.
London Indoor Games (Senior & U20), Lee Valley
Dejaune Lingard got his indoor season off to a good start running 6.88s and 6.87s in the two round 60m event, reports Mick Bond.
Shaquille Fernandez-Folkes ran an indoor PB of 23.24s over 200m whilst Brandon Sikity travelled down from Derby University to compete in the long jump (5.91m), high jump (1.76m) and 200m (24.68s).
Doyin Aderinto ran two solid 60m races recording 7.72s in both whilst sister Derin was nearly as consistent, running 8.28s and 8.29s. In the field Hannah Bridge set a PB of 11.15m in the shot and Chichi Cooper achieved a best mark of 11.18m in the triple jump.
Kent Schools Cross Country Championships, Dartford
Two club members represented Bexley Borough at the Kent Schools Cross Country Championships held in Central Park, Dartford on Saturday, both in the junior girls race (3050m). Iris Williams finished in 6th place just 10 seconds behind the winner, having fallen 200m from the finish whilst in second place, with a time of 11:04. With only the first four guaranteed selection for the English Schools Championships in Nottingham, Iris will have to wait to see if she can qualify via the Schools Inter-Counties event in February or at the discretion of the selectors. New member Meredith Cummins finished in 40th position in a time of 13:02.