HRRL Overton 5 and Victory 5

Overton 5

Farnham Runners made a good start to their Hampshire Road League season at the Overton Five mile race. Promoted now back to the top flight, four of the club’s quickest men pulled out all the stops to get a commendable seventh place of ten among Hampshire’s best teams. The strong B and C teams also came out well, with seventh places in the B Division One and second in B Division Two respectively, out of fifteen teams in each.

Still in A and B Divisions Two, the ladies made a promising beginning with fifth places in both.

James Clarke took on the challenge of the hilly Overton course for his first five miler with an impressive time of 29 minutes 9 seconds for 27th place. Just over the 30 minute target was Ian Carley in 30:12 (45th) with Richard Lovejoy (30:42, 64th), also in his debut at this distance, keeping ahead of men’s captain James Warren (30:59, 70th).

Five miles was also a new distance for three of the B string. Led in by Rob Gilchrist in 31:11 it included Stuart Morel in 31:30, Mike Walberton in 32:09 and Matt Dellar in 33:08. Mark Maxwell (33:06) headed the club’s third team of Colin Addison and Ian Marshall (both 33:47), and Chris Cramp (34:55), who just pipped Neil Ambrose (34:54) with a three second faster “gun time”. Martin Billett (35:25), John Phillips (35:24) and Scott Salmon (36:36) gave further back-up.

Debutant over five miles Eloise Stradling put in an impressive performance for 37:27 to head the Farnham ladies. Wendy Carley (43:18) and Mary D. Fitzgerald (44:08) made up the A squad. Only starting running in April with the “Absolute Beginners” group Rebecca Ashcroft (45:12) and Primrose Kavanagh (53:29) made an extremely useful contribution for the B team.

Victory 5

The second event, the Victory Five attracted even fiercer competition as its flat course is ideal for personal best times. Many were not disappointed, especially as there was only a light breeze, unusually from the East, avoiding an often difficult final mile before the finish on Portsmouth’s athletics track. Eight of the men who ran at Overton also competed here, in the same order except Martin Billett and Chris Cramp changed places.

James Clarke had finished second in the tough Alice Holt 10km the previous day and yet still managed to lead in the team – in 29:24 (46th) but this time Ian Carley was closer in 29:43. The next four gained PBs: Richard Lovejoy (29:44) and Rob Gilchrist (30:30) for the A team and for the B’s were Stuart Morel, who had placed 7th in Saturday’s 10km in 30:45, Matt Dellar in 32:55, Martin Billett who was second senior man at the Alice Holt 5km the previous day (34:05) and Chris Cramp in 35:50. Charlotte Hanson ran strongly for 13th senior lady’s slot in 35:23, followed by Jane Georghiou in 36:19, for first in her age category to go second in the category’s UK 2014 rankings. Vicki Clarke impressed with 38:05 on her debut, for the A team while Wendy Carley (45:35) used her second race in two days to help her preparation for the Pilgrim’s half marathon.

Though 8th on the day, the men’s A team slipped to 9th on aggregate but their B team, 9th on the day, stayed 7th. The ladies clinched the best club team result with second, though in Division Two.