2009 Club Handicap

Competitors in fancy dress before start of the 2009 Club Handicap race

From demons to monks, from Superwoman to St. George, from bananas to runner beans they lined up on the Bourne Green for the annual Farnham Runners Christmas Club Handicap, thirty four in all, a total only surpassed once in the club’s history (40 in 1990). There were even cheerleaders this year to add to the excitement of the occasion.

Warning that runners should self-assess the potential risk of hypothermia, heat exhaustion or tripping due to their attire and that any misdemeanours would be punished by compulsory attendance in costume at the club’s weekly speed sessions, appropriately clad teacher Jane Georghiou set them off over a 20minute period. The much-coveted Handicap trophy was being fought over and in theory everyone had an equal chance of winning, with the faster runners setting off last on the 4.25mile course.

Fourteen ran to within a minute of their expected times with Nick Hitchcock just one second ahead of his prediction. However it was Sylvia Harper who first appeared back on the Green amid enthusiastic cheers, having smashed her predicted time by almost three minutes. Her hand made “runner bean” costume was very apt and highly commended by the judges of the fancy dress.

It was a 1,2,3 for the ladies with Suzanna Ching next home, followed by Helen Cathie. Martin Billett, first of the men, was still 43 seconds faster than expected.

A strikingly groomed Ms. Inns proved to be a very popular new member who collected the fancy dress first prize on behalf of her alter ego Howard Inns. The enthusiastic cheer leaders “Team Ashby” (Elaine and Charles) were awarded second prize for their hand made costumes while masked demon Andrew Perrin picked up third.

The fastest runner was Michael Rix who started almost last but finished high up the field after a very fast run of just 25 minutes 23 secs, having travelled from Wales that morning to take part. Quickest lady was Superwoman Angela Epps in 30.24.

All finishers made a huge effort. In finish order: Sylvia Harper, Suzanna Ching, Helen Cathie, Martin Billett, Sally Lawrence, Emma Drinkwater, Steve Kitney, Terry Steadman, Mike Ashworth, Nick Hitchcock, Caroline Freeman, Andrew Perrin, Peter Strange, Michael Rix, Paul Beesley, Howard Inns, Angela Epps, Shirley Perrett, Tim Cummins, Andrew Ellison, Chris Cramp, Frances Britain, Graham Russ, Gabi Hitchcock, Mike Walberton, Emma Doven, Richard Sheppard, Rebecca Martin, Elaine and Charles Ashby, Lisa Smith, Stash Hutten, Emma Whittaker-Axon, Dan Smith.

Before the celebratory mulled wine and mince pies could be consumed Chairman Dan Smith announced the winners of the three club London marathon places. These go to members who were rejected in the ballot but who have supported the club most in league races: Tim Cummins (19 races), Mike Walberton (19) and Emma Doven (14).