2012 Alice Holt Forest Races

Scenes from Alice Holt Forest Races 2012, left to right, race HQ, Farnham Runners group before race, start of 10K race

As Farnham celebrated its history on Heritage Weekend, hundreds gathered in Alice Holt Forest for a day of racing for all the family, organised by Farnham Runners. A glorious sunny day contributed to the convivial atmosphere, though not giving the runners ideal conditions. Some perhaps inspired by the Olympic Games, numbers were up this year and the limit for the 10k race was reached, while the other races were close to capacity. With the range on offer whole families took part, others coming along to give enthusiastic support.

Race director Andrew Ellison took on the role for the second year while instigator of the races in their present form, Charles Ashby also played a crucial role. Many other Farnham Runners, friends and families gave up their time to help.

Andrew Lodge estate agents sponsored the 5 and 10km events while Whiteoaks Consultancy sponsored the 1 and 3km events for children. East Street Cycles and Alton Sports also gave funds to support the event.

Water stations were provided by the 11th Farnham Scouts and Frensham Heights School, for which a donation will be made to their nominated charity.

Farnham Runners were honoured to enjoy the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Farnham, as well as the Town Crier. A number of stalls added to the event, including HG Physio, Alton, and a tea and cake tent which was organised by Farnham Runner Karen Jackson to raise funds for a local community initiative that aims to boost resources for deaf children in mainstream schools.

There was a strong showing from local clubs, and many runners come back each year. The events attract a wide variety of abilities and experience, from those used to winning races to those racing for the first time. Many of this year’s Farnham Runners’ Absolute Beginners group were proud to complete the challenging run. As usual junior Aldershot, Farnham and District were to the fore in the 5km event. Haslemere Border AC won both the men’s and ladies 10km team prizes, pushing Farnham Runners into second in both sections. Their winning teams comprised Jon Fairs, Daniel Allaway, Ian Spicer and Bruce Wallace, for the men and Sally Goble, Sian Dixon, Marketa Hamilton and Sosina Lloyd Davies for the ladies.

In the 10k there were comfortable winners, by over one minute. Mark Greenwood of AFD came home in a very fast time of 33minutes 22 seconds, followed by 2010 and 2011 winner from Denmead Striders, Julian Manning in 34-46. Jon Fairs from Haslemere Border AC took 3rd slot in 35-22 while Farnham Runners Ian Carley took the honours for the M40s with 37-57 for 4th place with Daniel Allaway (Haslemere Border AC) and Tom Frost (Liss Runners) 2nd and 3rd in this category.

Farnham Runners Sarah Hill was the unchallenged leader for the ladies in 38-19 (1st F35), with Lesley Locks of Hart Road Runners 2nd in 39-54 (2nd F35) and Farnham Runners Sandra Norwood 3rd in 43-02. Nicky McWilliam was 3rd F35 (45-21, Les Croupier).

Steve Low, Steve Linton, John Taylor, Sally Goble and Amanda McInnes all won age group prizes.

Junior from AFD, Nathan Gibson showed his talent with an excellent 17-50 for the hilly 5km course. Race director Andrew Ellison took just 18 minutes 46 seconds away from his duties to clinch second place (first senior) for this distance. Juniors Sam Gasson (21-25) and James Cahill (21-37) picked up the 2nd and 3rd junior prizes respectively while Nick Timmins (19-22) of Farnham Triathlon Club and Farnham Runner’s Mike Walberton (19-52) were similar for the senior category.

Junior Molly Pocock, another AFD runner was an impressive winner for the ladies in 20-03, followed by team mate Pippa Tilney (20-56) and Basingstoke and Midhants athlete Gemma Wildash(21-40). Cathy Stewart, also from AFD was first senior (22-09) with Helen Hart next (24-19, Hart Road Runners) and Helen Hames in 26-26 (Haslemere Border AC).

Great potential for the future was shown in both the 1km (for 5-8 year olds) and 3km races (for 8-12 year olds). Callum Vallance just sneaked ahead of Richard Sutton on the line in the 1km, with Charlie Mourier 3rd. Amelie Roseveare, Sasha Caroline Poole and Amy Strode were 1, 2 and 3 for the girls. In the 3km Harry Boyd headed Max Anderson and Joseph Nash with Amy Ratcliffe the proud girl’s winner, ahead of Emily Rodenburg and Ruby Conway.

A representative from Whiteoaks, John Broy was on hand to assist the Mayor, Stephen Hill present prizes to the worthy 1 and 3km winners. Estate agent Andrew Lodge gave out the awards for the 5 and 10km.

To round off the day a most enthusiastic bunch of 2-4 year olds enjoyed their 60 metres Dash for a suitable reward.