HRRL Lordshill 10 mile, HXCL Goodwood and TRXCL Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Three races in eight days brought out a host of enthusiastic Farnham Runners. All races gave good results for the local club, culminating in a win in the first round of the Today’s Runner Winter League.

HRRL Lordshill 10 mile

Excellent results in the third race of the Hampshire Road League saw the Farnham Runners men moving up to a highest ever third slot in the men’s top division while the ladies stay second.

Many of the seventeen men produced personal best times over the surprisingly rural 10 miles at Lordshill near Southampton.

Andy Eakins, in his first attempt at the distance only just missed out on the hour (1hour 14 seconds) to take 27th place of 266 men, the competitive stakes boosted by this being the Hampshire 10 mile 2008 Championship. Michael Rix (1.01.13, 32nd) almost reached his Great South Run time (1.00.55) of the previous week. Bob Brimicombe surprised his team-mates by overtaking in the latter stages (1.02.23,40th). Steve Kitney (1.02.23, 44th) narrowly led in Ian Carley (1.02.38, 48th), who used the race as training for the Luton marathon and had run 8 miles earlier that morning.

The “A” team of four took 3rd in Division One. Dan Smith was pushed into second slot in the B team with 1.02.52 (49th) while Julian Mann, new to racing, impressed with 1.03.13 (54th). Spencer Ward (1.04.03) just pipped Charles Ashby (1.04.07) for the last place in the B team that came 3rd. Fast times from others were denied league team scores because of the stiff competition: Mike Walberton 1.07.00, Steve Gillingham 1.07.05, Mike Ashworth 1.08.21, Paul Beesley 1.09.33, Tim Cummins 1.09.37, Scott Salmon 1.10.33, Andy Tweed 1.13.34, Steve Payne 1.21.08.

Sixteenth lady of 131, Jane Georghiou repeated her Great South W55 category first with 1.11.45. The reliable Lindsay Bamford (1.17.07) and Caroline Freeman (1.24.54) helped the team to 6th place in the top division on the day. Diane Cox supported the team in 1.34.14.

HXCL Goodwood

The second Hampshire Cross Country race at Goodwood saw little change to the teams. Only three ladies completed the course of 6km, which began in an unpleasant heavy shower. The trio of Jane Georghiou (25.51, 63rd), Lindsay Bamford (27.37, 85th) and Caroline Freeman (31.40, 116th) gave the team 16th (now lie 12th) and 8th in the veteran category (lie 5th).

None of the other Farnham Runners men could catch Andy Eakins over the 9km men’s course (34.43, 93rd). Dan Smith (35.42, 119th) held on to a lead ahead of Charles Ashby (35.54, 124th) while Bob Brimicombe (36.16, 133rd) couldn’t catch Steve Kitney (36.10, 130th) this time. These five gave a 4th team place in division two, for an aggregate placing of 3rd.

Mike Ashworth (38.15, 168th) sprinted to the line in front of veteran Mike Walberton (38.16, 169th). Andy Tweed (40.13, 194th) also helped the veterans to fifth slot (lie 3rd). Paul Beesley (40.25, 197th) Tim Cummins (43.46, 226th) Richard Cieslik (45.28, 238th) and Peter Strange (50.43, 251st) all gave valuable support.

TRXCL Queen Elizabeth Country Park

The next day a huge turn out of thirty-two members ran to support their team in the first Today’s Runner Winter League race at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. The Portsmouth Joggers race director warned that the course was in the worst condition he had ever seen it, affected by forestry work as well as recent rain.

A close-packed Farnham team helped the men to victory: although none made the first ten, the fifth runner picked up tag 22. Andy Eakins again led them in (11th) with Ian Carley (13th) and Dan Smith (14th) not far behind. Steve Kitney (17th) and Charles Ashby (22nd) completed the score.

Angela Epps headed the ladies in a fine 5th place followed by Jane Georghiou in 10th and Frances Britain 19th. This made the ladies runners up but was enough for the combined team top spot.

Other placings:

Men: Bob Brimicombe 23, Mike Smith 25, Mike Ashworth 52, James Ogilvie 54, Steve Murphy 61, Paul Beesley 63, Mike Walberton 66, Dave Armstrong 81, Andy Tweed 87, Nick Hitchcock 90, Tim Cummins 108, Graham Higgins 151, Richard Cieslik 158, Richard Sheppard 182, Philip Wallace 184, Peter Strange 185.

Ladies: Gabi Hitchcock 22, Lucie White 26, Lindsay Bamford 28, Kim Mepsted 61, Caroline Freeman 92, Diane Cox 94, Sue Goater 96, Lisa Smith 102.