Sunshine and a lucky interlude in the arctic weather combined to contribute to a most successful day for Farnham Runners, twenty-five years after the club first formed. Hosting the third round of the Today’s Runner Winter cross-country series, the local club provided the winner in both men and ladies’ sections, dominated the mens’ team result and took overall victory on the day. They now lie joint top with Basingstoke and Midhants A.C. on aggregate with three more events to go.
A hard-working team led by race director Charles Ashby prepared the course meticulously the previous day, even using lump hammers to break up ice as well as making adjustments to avoid the most treacherous stretches. In addition to the forty-two signs put out, numerous marshals helped direct runners on the day. Another band of sandwich making volunteers were organised by social secretary Sylvia Harper in order to cater for the hungry crowd after the race.
Almost three hundred runners from seventeen clubs assembled in the woods to be warned that they all ran at their own risk and fortunately only one minor incident was reported to first aider, Anna Shepherd.
The talented Graham Russ skipped lightly over the 4.8mile course, keeping ahead of Andrew Ellison, who came an excellent second, both repeating their positions of the November event. Not far behind Andy Eakins showed his return to fitness with an impressive 7th place. Then a battle ensued for the remaining two scoring places, Mike Anderson eventually taking 11th slot and Julian Mann 15th, just ahead of Charles Ashby in 18th who lost out this time but had run around the course that morning to check all the signs. The team score was a club record of only 36 points, less than half that of the second team, Basingstoke and Midhants A.C. with 97 points.
Sarah Hill took the race in her stride for another comfortable win. She was backed up by nineteen of her team-mates, Jane Georghiou in 11th and Louise James in 14th making the team not far ahead of Gabi Hitchcock (15th), Amanda Allen (19th) and Emma Whittaker-Axon (21st) and Lindsay Bamford (24th). The team came 2nd with 26 points behind Stubbington Green Runners with 22.
Altogether forty–five made their best effort to support their team:
Men’s placings: Hugh O’Neill 46 (debut), Adrian Larkin 58, Nick Hitchcock 60, Colin Addison 62, Sean Smith 66, Albert Ellison 67, Chad Bedard 69, Martin Billett 73, Dave Armstrong 74, Steve Kitney 77, Paul Beesley 82, Neil Powers 88, Terry Steadman 92, Christian Vaughan 101, Chris Cramp 110, Simon Brander 113, Les Boxall 132, Tim Cummins 135, Phil Masters 139, Nick King 140, Robert Murdoch 149, Howard Inns 151, Stefan Klincewicz 154, Mark Beeson 159, Andrew Perrin 173, Richard Sheppard 178, Steve Payne 179, Peter Strange 183.
Ladies’placings: Sue Boxall 31, Christy Roxburgh 42 (debut), Renee Ayache 45 (debut), Emma Drinkwater 46, Jackie Lee 48 (debut), Emma Doven 56, Helen Cathie 59, Shirley Perrett 61, Sue Goater 64, Julie Russ 68, Tori Shaw 80, Jane Adams 85, Jenny Andrews 87, Elaine Ashby 88.