HRRL Solent Half Marathon, SXCL Pamber Forest

Farnham Runners’ loyalties were divided between the Hampshire Road Race League and the recently renamed Southern Cross Country League (previously known as the Today’s Runner Winter League), as the Solent Half Marathon clashed with the first off road fixture of the season.

The men put out strong teams for both, while the ladies did well in the cross-country but needed one more for a full team at Solent.

The half marathon runners got the better weather, with the rain holding off till the journey home. In contrast, the cross-country was a pretty wet and muddy affair but the mood cheered once the hot dogs and home made cakes were served inside and stories could be swapped.

HRRL Solent Half Marathon

First back for Farnham at Solent was Andrew Ellison, who was just eighteen seconds slower than last year despite a strong breeze this time. His result of 1 hour 19 minutes and 46 seconds placed him an impressive 14th of 380 finishers and 4th in the M40 category.

Ian Carley ran well for 28th slot (10th M40) in 1-22-48. Richard Lovejoy in 1.25.59 took a massive chunk of eight minutes from his personal best, the result of more rigorous training. Final scorer, Stephen Elliot-Nicholls was content with 1.27.35 after achieving his first sub 3hour marathon in his 20th race at this distance, (2.58.50) in Berlin just two weeks before. Mike Walberton gave valuable back up in 1.31.03.

The team were an excellent 5th overall and top of Hampshire Divison Two on the day, raising their aggregate position to 4th.

Jane Georghiou (1.40.30) and Lindsay Bamford (1.45.44) made up an incomplete ladies’ team that came 7th (8th on aggregate).

SXCL Pamber Forest

“ It rained from start to finish”

was one comment on the cross-country race at Pamber Forest near Basingstoke. The men were led in by Charles Ashby, whose chasing pack was led off course for about 50meters before being called back by a marshal, resulting in him losing probably about 6 places. He finished 33rd with Chris Carey, who impressed in his first race in Farnham colours, 39th. Next came Jason East (44th), Stuart Williamson (53rd) and Matt Dellar (55th), also in his league debut for the club.

Strong support was given by Tim Cummins 64th, Steve Murphy 72nd, team captain Martin Billett 76th, Steve Kitney 78th Dave Armstrong 82nd, and Chris Cramp 99th. New member Tim Farrant 103rd was followed by Nick Hill 107th, Craig Tate-Grimes 139th, Chris Beattie (debut) 142nd and Steve Payne 154th. The scoring team of five were 8th of 21 teams in the league.

Led in by Claire Entwistle, who put in a splendid performance on her way to overcoming injury, the ladies’ team came third, giving Farnham Runners an overall position of 4th after this first event. Former track international, Claire was a comfortable winner of the ladies race.

Charlotte Hanson placed 19th after a few weeks rest following her international debut in the sprint triathlon in Hyde Park in September. Kayleigh Copeland took credit for her strong run for 24th to complete the team. Jo Edson made an impressive return in 28th, followed by Sue Taylor 36th, Tori Shaw 40th, Emma Drinkwater 58th, Abigail Ashby 74th, Becky Martin 78th, Cyra Parkes 103rd and Elaine Ashby 106th.