HRRL Alton 10, Milton Keynes Marathon and a trio of ultra distance events
No fewer than thirty-seven of the 508 finishers in the Hampshire Road League Alton Ten were Farnham Runners. The strong squad showed strength in depth as both their men’s and ladies’ A and B teams put in notable performances.
The men’s A team’s first place added to their unassailable position at the top of Division Two, while the men’s B team destroyed the opposition and not only came top of B league Division 2, but would have come second in Division 1! Their second place on aggregate also augurs well for promotion. The ladies’ A team came an excellent second in A Division Two (4th on aggregate) while their team in B Division 2 came top and, almost equalling the men, would have been 3rd in B Division One.
There was a battle at the front to lead in the Farnham men between James Warren and Sean Smith. After a speedy few miles, Smith’s hard training week for the forthcoming Caen D Day Celebration marathon took its toll and in the latter stages he had to let Warren stretch ahead into the strong wind as he tried to chase him down. Warren finished in 1 hour 3 mins 01 secs, 29th, with Smith in 1-03-47, 36th. Jason East was next in 1-04-41 (46th) while a beaming Stuart Morel benefited from a rigorous training regime to take seven minutes from his PB for 1-05-25 (55th).
The splendid B team comprised a competent crew of Charlie Hill-Venning (1-05-44), Julian Mann (1-06-15), John Hill-Venning (1-06-25) and Mike Walberton (1-07-23). Matt Dellar who led the “C”s clocked a 35 second PB of 1-09-28, followed by a strong Phil King (1-09-42) on his debut in Farnham colours. Mike Taylor (1-10-38) and Ian Marshall, in his first ten miler (1-11-53) completed the scoring. Edged out of the teams this time were Stephen Elliot-Nicholls 1-11-56 (after his recent Boston marathon), Martin Billett 1-12-25, Neil Ambrose 1-14-42 (an eight minute PB), John Phillips 1-14-54 and Terry Copeland 1-15-40.
Also providing back-up were Dave Armstrong 1-18-08, Darren Carins 1-19-10, Terry Steadman 1-19-18 Alistiar Wilson 1-20-36, Paul Mackie 1-21-23, Nick Hill 1-22-21, Ian George 1-21-27 (after a recent Rome marathon), Chris Beattie 1-24-12, Tim Cummins 1-24-13, Howard Inns 1-24-28, Steve Bailey 1-25-21 (debut), Steve Payne 1-30-14.
Returning to racing Gabi Hitchcock was first Farnham lady back in 1-17-36, with Jane Georghiou second in 1-18-07. The continually improving Eloise Stradling impressed with a PB 1-19-00. Emma Whittaker-Axon headed the strong close packed B string in 1-22-05, followed by Lindsay Bamford (1-22-26) and Kayleigh Copeland (1-23-14). Newcomers Tara Hunt (1-24-59) and Tina Harrison (1-37-31) gave valuable support.
Star performer Sarah Hill, was first lady in the Milton Keynes Marathon and set a new ladies’ course record.
She successfully defended her title in the Police Sport UK Marathon Championship in a very impressive time of 3 hours 16 seconds, just three weeks after a sub 3-hour London marathon.
Also at Milton Keynes Chris Cramp claimed a new PB of 3-41-59 while Shirley Perrett took 4th place in her category with 4-47-27.
Farnham Runners’ amazing ultra distance enthusiast Susie Chan successfully completed the third of a trio of events. She started with the 2014 London Marathon and eight days later recorded a fast 3-35-19 in the Boston Marathon. Less then two weeks after this she undertook her first non-stop 100 miler, the Thames Towpath 100, raising sponsor money for the Farnham charity “ Disability Challengers”. She commented that the 100 miles was a mental battle and she finished elated, but very tired in 24hours 58 seconds.