2013 Alice Holt Forest Races
There was a real family atmosphere at the Alice Holt Forest Races as competitors and supporters of all ages gathered for the 19th staging of Farnham Runners’ popular races. This year Charles Ashby was back in charge as race director, with his wife Elaine as race secretary, and a large number of Farnham Runners and friends turned out to help on the day.
The organisers are indebted to the local companies Whiteoaks Consultancy for sponsorship of the 5km race and Riverprint for supporting the 10 km race.
Jonathan Jones the Town Crier started the races, having given participants full warning that they took part at their own risk!
Volunteers from St John Ambulance were in attendance in case of any medical problems. Farnham Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic in Farnham were on hand for pre and post race massages, while a very welcome tea and cake stand raised money for Chloe and Sophie’s Special Ears Fund, a local charity aiming to raise deaf awareness in the local community and to improve the education of deaf children in mainstream schools by providing equipment, resources and materials to improve sound acoustics. Former Farnham Runner, Vince Crowley, and his family kindly manned one of the important water stations.
Running conditions were more conducive for fast times compared to the hot weather last year and the rain held off apart from a couple of sharp showers.
Runners came from far and wide but there was a strong local element among the prizewinners. The events attracted experienced competitors as well as those for whom this was their first race- the hills en route providing a serious challenge! A number of the Farnham Runners’ “Absolute Beginners” group who began running in April took part in either the 5km or 10km.
Suzanne Munton, commercial director of Whiteoaks Consultancy and a member of Farnham Runners, presented the prizes to the winners of the 5km race. Simon Granville- Jones, managing director of Riverprint, gave out the prizes for the 10km race.
Worthy winner of the 10km race Julian Manning of Denmead Striders gained his best time of 34 minutes 9 seconds. He keeps coming back for more, having taken part 9 times in the last 10 years and winning 3 times in the last four, finishing as runner-up last year. “I enjoy the challenging course and the race is always well-organised”, he said. Second and third men were seniors Ben Evans of Guidford and Godalming A.C (35-05) and Alex Hamilton of Basingstoke and Midhants A.C. (35-19). Jason Harris of Woking A.C. finished fourth in 35-50 as first in the M40 class.
Lesley Locks of Hart Road Runners, in 38-27, won by a huge margin to take the first ladies veteran’s prize, after placing second last year. Second lady was Nicky McWilliam in 42-29, also a veteran, with Sally Goble of Haslemere Border AC close behind in third with 42-34 for a convincing win in her category.
Other age group prizewinners were Tom Frost (2nd M40, 37-07), Daniel Allaway (3rd M40, 37-34), Steve Low (1st M50, 38-59) Peter Mannion (2nd M50 39-22), Stephen Linton (1st M60), Terry Steadman (2nd M60), Hugh Bethell (1st M70), Amy Smith, Katy Burgess and Emily Godolphin (1st, 2nd and 3rd senior ladies respectively). Lindsay Bamford, Jane Georghiou, Joy Wisdom and Veronica Smoothy also won age group prizes.
There was team victory for Haslemere Border AC for both men and ladies for the second consecutive year. Their teams comprised Joseph Perkins, Daniel Allaway, Lee Hepworth and Bruce Wallace, Sally Goble, Donna Read, Amy Smith, and Julie-Ann Dellar.
Overall winner of the 5km was Sarah Hill of FR in a splendid time of 18-02. Next was the first under 16 boy, Ollie Hurdle who impressed with an under 20 minute time of 19-47. The following three took the senior men’s prizes: Sam Broomhead of Chesterfield (20-02), Mike Walberton and Martin Billett of Farnham Runners in 20-20 and 20-44 respectively. Pippa Tilney was first under 16 girl in 21-07 with Sarah Lewis of Hart Road Runners (21-24) and Nicola James (22-21) as 2nd and 3rd 16+ ladies. Other prizewinners were: Ben Crane and James Lewis (2nd and 3rd under 16 boys), Molly Pocock and Isobel Cahill (2nd and 3rd under 16 girls).
Team prizes for the ladies 5km were won by Aldershot, Farnham and District A.C members (Pippa Tilney, Molly Pocock, Molly Sharples and Ruby Conway) and by Farnham Runners for the men: Mike Walberton and Martin Billett (no complete teams).
Local club AFD also performed well as usual in the 3km event (for 8-12 year olds) and took both boys’ and girls’ team trophies. Harry Hyde led them in, in 11-37, followed by Luke Van Oudtsdoorn in 12.03. On his heels was Cameron Coveney of Basingstoke and Midhants A.C. in 12-04. For the girls, Molly Hyde (13-09) and Emily Squibbs (14-01) from the local club were split by Isobelle Adams from Guildford and Godalming A.C in 13-47. Emma Boswell and Kathryn Harris completed the team for AFD.
The 1km, for 5-8 year olds, ended in an exciting sprint to the line, with only one second separating the first four boys. Winning the battle was Oliver Waghorn (4-54) ahead of Finley Allen (also in 4-54), with Finley Adams just getting the better of James Linder for third (both 4-55). Again in the girls race Katie Roberts (5-24) finished just one second ahead of Kathleen Hogan (5-25), with Amelia Boxell third in 5-32. Fleet and Crookham AC took the team prize (Kathleen Hogan and Rebecca Grogut).
Patiently waiting their turn were the under fives who proudly sported race numbers as they lined up for the last event of the day – a “Dash” of some 60 meters. All were winners, rewarded with a medal and sweets, though a few needed a bit of persuasion from parents that heading as fast as possible in a straight line was a sensible thing to do!