SXCL Chawton Woods, Annual Awards Dinner and other races

SXCL Chawton Woods

A jubilant Jirka Zaloudik and Eloise Stradling led in the Farnham Runners’ teams at the sixth round of the Southern Cross Country League at Chawton Woods, hosted by Alton Runners. This was a new venue and proved to be perhaps one of the most challenging on the circuit. Numerous long, lung-busting ascents were interspersed with squelchy mud sections and a steep decent on flints before a traverse of a sticky clay field near the finish of the 4.8 mile course.

The day after its annual Awards event, the club was pleased to be able to field an extensive and successful team that came joint second overall of the twenty-two clubs in the league and raise them back to third on aggregate, with the final race on 1st March at Staunton Country Park.

The men came an excellent second, with Zaloudik in an impressive 9th place, a new best for him. Next stalwarts Ian Carley and Andrew Ellison made a huge contribution in 13th and 19th respectively, with James Clarke pushed into 25th as fourth scorer and Charlie Hill-Venning in 27th making the final team place. One of the muddiest finishers was team captain Matt Dellar in 39th, followed by Colin Addison 50th, Stuart Haig 59th, and Ian Marshall 63rd. John Hill-Venning, 95th, Chris Cramp 109th, Paul Mackie enjoying his debut in 133rd, Geoff Brown 140th, Craig Tate-Grimes 183rd and Douglas Blythe 210th, provided further back-up to the team.

Eloise Stradling equalled her best performance in 19th, with an under par Charlotte Hanson not far behind in 22nd. Improving with every race Emma Pearson, just a week after the Bramley 20, had a storming finish for 29th and the final scoring place, to give the ladies fifth. The day after taking part in the 8km English National cross country at Parliament Hill Fields, renowned for its mud, Jane Georghiou and Lindsay Bamford were back for more, taking 36th and 38th slots respectively. Jane Mezullo ran strongly on her first event in this league for 52nd, with Vicki Clarke close in 55th, Anne Snelson 64th and Kay Copeland 69th. A trio of Mary Denise Fitzgerald (86th), Tina Harrison (93rd), and Cyra Parkes (98th) were followed by Primrose Kavanagh in 121st on her debut.

Annual Awards Dinner

The previous night was the club’s social highlight of the year, the annual Awards Event. Chairman Richard Sheppard masterfully combined humour with the serious business of distributing the awards, while recognising many for their achievements, tongue-in-cheek or genuine but all well-deserved.

Sarah Hill won the ladies’ marathon trophy for her 2:56:42 in Graz, Austria while Sean Smith took the men’s Paul Charlton Memorial trophy for his 2:55:55 in the Caen marathon, Normandy. The Herbie memorial trophy for improving by 3 mins 39 secs in the Alice Holt 10km between 2013 and 2014 went to Stuart Morel. The Prince Memorial trophy was not awarded this year as no ladies improved their times. The prestigious Steve Parker Award for the person who has done most for the club during 2014 went by a unanimous committee vote to Craig Tate-Grimes for his dedication to the club in numerous ways, not least his taking on the onerous role of race director and the support he gives to the Absolute Beginners group and others new to the club. The Chairman’s Award went to Jane Mezzullo for her inspirational tackling of challenging Ultra marathons so soon after taking up the sport. Geoff Brown won the club’s “Smiley” Award in recognition of his supportive approach to all runners on Saturday mornings at the Alice Holt parkrun.

For the first time those who achieved the most personal best times in the Hampshire Road Races were rewarded: John Phillips, Eloise Stradling and Vicki Clarke, while the club’s Grand Prix winners were James Clarke, Richard Lovejoy, James Warren, Ian Carley and Matt Dellar, Jane Georghiou, Eloise Stradling, Charlotte Hanson, Vicki Clarke and Tori Shaw. Matt Dellar, Ian Marshall, Craig Tate-Grimes, Jane Georghiou and Eloise Stradling who did all six SXCL races during 2014 received T shirts designed by Ian Carley.

Sincere thanks went to Jacquie Browne who organised the event.

Other races

ECCA Saucony English National Championships: Lindsay Bamford ran strongly through the mud for 493rd/865 in 44:44, followed by Jane Georghiou 503rd in 44:54.

Five members completed the Bramley 20 miler in their preparation for Spring marathons in promising times: Rob Gilchrist 2:11:54, Mark Maxwell 2:17:45, Stuart Williamson 2:18:53, Stuart Taylor 2:26:40 and Emma Pearson 2:43:52, while three did the 10 mile, Jane Georghiou 1:15:04 (1st in category), Chris Jackson 1:17:16, Shirley Perrett 1:30:30 (3rd in category).