Kent Veterans Cross Country Championships, Central Park, Dartford
Men: The Kent cross country veterans' championships were again held at their usual venue of Central Park, Dartford, reports Clem Dixon. It is a good course for spectators; find the best place to stand and there isn't much of it that you can't see, and with three separate races during the day most of us took the opportunity to spectate and cheer as well as run.
First up were the over 50 men running 8.4km. We had a full team of four in this one, well, we started with a full team but David Reader, in his first year in this age category, knew that he was risking a sore achilles and had to pull out shortly after the start. That left us with three runners who are all over 55, including Graham Maynard in his last month as a fifty-something - he will be a force to be reckoned with in the over 60s next year. As it was Christian Poulton was our highest placed finisher in 22nd (and 6th M55). Watching this race and looking at all the familiar figures that I would usually be doing battle with was a strange experience: I couldn't help wondering where I was.
I didn't have long to wait: the second race of the day is for the M60s, M70s and all of the women's age groups. It isn't something that I am happy about, not, I hasten to add, because I mind running with the women, but because we only get to run 5.2km. Scoring is for teams of three in this one and three is what we had; Clem Dixon, Mark Ashby and Ian McCarthy coming 4th. It was good to have Mark back for the first time in three years; an injury had prevented him from running so we have seen him transform himself into a race walker, he joked that it was nice to be competing without having to worry about being disqualified! We had two runners in the M70 category with Mick Ellsmore 5th and Peter Hadley 13th (and first M75, but they don't give medals for that alas).
Finally, the M40 race (also 8.4km). There was a high-quality field with Ben Hope and Jonathan Tipper, both of Kent AC having a good battle for first place with Ben the ultimate winner. Again, we had a full team of four, but only just. The standout performance was from John O'Mahony who started conservatively and then worked his way through the field finally outsprinting Julian Rendall (Tonbridge) for 9th place. The others in the team were Ben Rew, Mark Penny and Peter St-Amour taking us to 6th.
As always thanks to the Kent Athletics Association, to host club Dartford Harriers, and to Dartford Council who had prepared the course, mowed the grass and removed weeds and overhanging branches, etc. Contrast that with Bexley Council who charge us £500 to use Footscray Meadows and do absolutely nothing!
Top: Sally Carr - Maggie Illingworth - John O'Mahoney
Bottom: Maria Macdonald - Julie Backley - Peter Hadley
Women: This race report is brought to you courtesy of the Thanet 10-mile road race, writes Rose Baker, which I ran the day after Kent Veterans cross country championship. Halfway through mile 7, running into a brutal coastal headwind, I needed to think of something other than how much I was hating the race. I read an article once that suggested things to think about while you run, but I could only remember planning your funeral and taking notice of interesting houses. There were no houses and I’d already noticed the repetitively crashing waves, so I thought about this race report instead.
We took a team of seven women veterans to Central Park, Dartford. Just like the park’s opening day in 1905 (and many a Central Park parkrun since) not everyone listened to the speeches and briefing, and then followed a route marked by flags round the park in a colourful procession.
Maria Macdonald, our sole representative in the W65+, having warmed up with a sedate Bexley parkrun just a few hours earlier. We fielded a team of three in both the W45-54 and W55-64 categories. In W45-54, Julie Backley was an impressive first W50 home, with silver in the overall category. The team was completed by Maggie Illingworth and Sally Carr, who both ran steadily. The team were unlucky to miss out on a team podium finish by just a few points, in a very competitive field, although both Julie and Sally had enough energy left to be back in race action the following day and finish with medals.
In the W55-64 category, the team consisted of me, Chris Bond and Frances Nestor. Chris was running her first race after months of a broken toe and injuries; welcome back Chris; so speedy that the camera couldn’t catch her. Frances has been away for even longer and reminded me that she hasn’t run cross country for well over two years following injury and other commitments. Frances closed the team scoring with a delightful sprint finish and secured W55 team bronze for us. Support and photographic evidence were very much appreciated, particularly from Glynis Penny and Sinead Norris
A bit like my Sunday race, there wasn’t much to note about the route; the WW1 tank and guns displayed here 100 years ago having been melted for the WWII war effort, the Roman villa (excavated in 1979) reburied near East Hill and the 45,000 flowers planted here each year largely died back. The running track, where in 1984 Zola Budd ran her first UK race (with the canny Dartford Harriers selling media coverage rights) was out of sight. Still, it’s a nice park and I’d recommend the race to those of us old enough. The park is now 10 times its original size, so I just hope KCAA don’t get any more ideas about increasing distances!
Results: M40-49 (8400m): 9 John O'Mahoney (M45) 29:36, 14 Ben Rew 30:57, 34 Mark Penny 33:10, 40 Peter St-Amour (M45) 34:09; M50-59 (8400m): 22 Christian Poulton (M55) 33:25, 42 Graham Maynard (M55) 36:14, 62 David Hunter (M55) 39:28; M60-79 (5200m): 13 Clem Dixon 23:53, 16 Mark Ashby 24:24, 26 Ian McCarthy (M65) 26:51; M70+ (5200m): 5 Michael Ellsmore 25:37, 13 Peter Hadley (M75) 30:03.
Results: W45-54 (5200m): 2 Julie Backley (W50) 21:15, 19 Maggie Illingworth 23:55, 30 Sally Carr (W50) 25:24; W55-64 (5200m): 8 Rose Baker 24:50, 9 Christine Bond 25:00, 21 Frances Nestor 30:50; W65+ (5200m): 4 Maria Macdonald (W70) 28:40.
Runthrough Battersea Park Chase the Moon 5k/10k
Thomas Brooke was in action mid-week where he finished second at the Battersea Park Chase the Moon 10k recording personal best time of 32:19.
British Masters 5km Road Championships, Battersea Park
Four of our veteran runners were in action at Battersea Park, on Sunday morning, where the British Masters Athletics Federation 5km road championships were held. Julie Backley finished in 103rd place overall in 19:37, taking gold in the W50 age group to add to the silver she won at the Kent Veterans Cross Country championships the previous day. Chris Loudon crossed the line in third place overall securing the silver in the M35 age group with a personal best 15:14. Lucy Marlow clocked 18:53 for an overall position of 87th taking silver in the W35 age category. Sally Carr (who had also competed the previous day at Dartford) placed 143rd overall and fifth W50 with 22:24 a personal best.
Chris Loudon - Lucy Marlow
(Photographs courtesy of Cliff Hide - Veterans AC)
Four club members travelled to Spain for the 42nd Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon on Sunday. Tom Coghill (M45) finished in 5737th position with a time of 3:10:44, Tom Loia was 6478th in a personal best 3:14:37 and Daniel Easton (M35) recorded a time of 3:33:36. Second claim member Andrew Doyle recorded a PB of 2:45:20 in 1594th place.
Alan Green Memorial Thanet 10 Mile
It was a sixth-place finish for Luke Ford in 1:02:29. Rose Baker racing for the second time over the weekend finished in 49th overall and 1st in the W50-59 age category with a time of 1:19:14.