2017 Alice Holt Forest Races

Farnham Runners group at 2017 Alice Holt Races

A lovely setting and weather contributed to the enjoyment of almost 400 runners of all ages as they competed in the Alice Holt Forest Races, organised by Farnham Runners.

The distances ranged from 10km for adults to 1km for juniors from 5 to 8 years and enthusiastic support from their families made it a great day out.

Race director Craig Tate-Grimes worked tirelessly over many months to organise the event for the fourth time, along with the invaluable support of a large number of Farnham Runners members and supporters. Many gave up their own chance of running to marshal or officiate on the day. It was a huge club effort and all the work was rewarded as everything went according to plan.

Alex Henderson-McClane the Forestry Commission Active Forest Coordinator at Alice Holt Forest said:

“We’re delighted to host the Farnham 10km race again this year. It fits perfectly with our goal of encouraging more people of all ages and abilities to get active in the forest to improve their health and wellbeing. We are introducing various initiatives and events to help people adopt a sporting habit for life. The partnership we have with Farnham Runners is one we hope to grow and nurture for many years.”

For the fifth year Andrew Lodge Estate Agents, Farnham, were proud sponsors and Andrew Lodge presented the winners medals for the 5km and10km. His daughter took part in the 10k race – and she commended Craig and Farnham Runners for a fabulously well organised event. She said she was extremely grateful to see all the km markers and thanked all the marshals for their support, smiles and encouragement along the way. She added:

“It was a challenging course, but I really recommend this event to anyone who likes a woodland run, it is one of the best”

Grant Walters, Director at Andrew Lodge Estate Agents went on to say:

“We support the event year-on-year as it such a great family friendly event and it encourages our local community to get active and enjoy our countryside.”

Pearson Removals, a local business based in Weybourne was also a key player by sponsoring the race numbers. Farnham’s Anytime Fitness gym donated the water bottles while Alton Sports shop provided additional prizes. Audio equipment was provided by Matt Dellar of Active Presentation Services Ltd. The Simon Trust, raising funds to provide a Surrey home for young people with severe autism, manned the car park.

Inspired by the continuing community spirit of the club, three of the original twelve founder members of over thirty years ago in 1985, all past committee members, turned up either to help or run. Allan Bird and Anne Prince gave out numbers and medals while John de Moraes was third in his category in the 10km race.

Club chairman, Jacquie Browne, was the key announcer, giving full credit to Richard Whittet whose vision instigated the Alice Holt 10km in 1994, after it was no longer possible to stage the Farnham Half marathon on roads around the town.

The course was set out on Friday night by Craig Tate-Grimes, Jacquie Browne, Ali Hardaway and Terry Copeland. Lynda Coggins, supported by Georgi Welch of Anytime Fitness, directed the warm-up routine before Craig Tate-Grimes started them off. Georgi Welch and Spencer Barfield gave the commentary during the race.

James Bracey took on the vital role of lead cyclist while Colin Addison, riding a support bike, was kept busy checking the courses. Pauline Hamilton, Kate Townsend and Emma Dawson each clocked 14km as “tail runners”, two of them due to race a half marathon the next day! Mark Maxwell and Samantha Trebble were in charge of the baggage tent and the whole Bailey family gave out water and sweets to finishers.

Both Farnham Runners and local club Blackwater Valley Runners appeared frequently among the prize-winners. Blackwater Valley Runners placed third, fourth and fifth to be deserving winners of the coveted men’s team award (Chris Tizzard, Oliver Stevenson and Stephen Low) and Farnham Runners in fourth, fifth and seventh took the ladies’ team trophies (Emma Pearson, Kayleigh Copeland, and Lynda Coggins).

The scenic forest trail route was new, but couldn’t avoid the hills and this year puddles and mud slowed the pace in places.

Aloce Holt 2017 Ed Hutchings being presented first male prize by Andrew Lodge

Ed Hutchings was a clear winner of the men’s race, 90 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, his time of 35 minutes 49 seconds impressive on this challenging course. Guildford and Godalming A.C. runner, James Shaire took the second senior men’s prize in 37:17, with Blackwater Valley Runners’ Chris Tizzard picking up third in 39:01.

First M40 male was Simon Palmer from Tadworth AC in 42:29, followed by Fleet and Crookham AC’s Dominic Lobo in 42:31 and Farnham Runners’ Tim Cummins in 43:28.

Fifth placed Stephen Low (39:58) was the proud winner of the M50 section for the seventh time in a row, his sub 40 minute finish a remarkable performance. Andrew James of Liss RC took first M60 (45:23) and Robert Cornwell headed the M70s in 52:21.

Helen Cozens of Fleet and Crookham AC won the ladies’ section by a convincing margin, crossing the line 8th overall in 42:12 with Farnham’s Kayleigh Copeland second senior in 48:10 and Bethany Lewis 3rd in 49:16. Winners in the F 35 section were second lady Bernadette Maher from Wimbledon Windmilers (46:01) Farnham Runners’ Emma Pearson (4th lady, 47:39) and Wendy Kilner-Smith (6th lady, 48:40).

Donna Read of Haslemere Border who placed third lady in 46:38 picked up the F45 prize with Farnham’s Kay Copeland taking F55 in 54:59 and Jane Georghiou, who was second lady in the 1994 race, F65 in 51:47.

Emma Pearson of sponsors Pearson Removals was the on hand to present the 5km prizes. The two age categories for both males and females were Junior (13-15) and senior (16+). The Rushforth family featured strongly with Alistair and Leah leading both junior sections (overall positions in brackets):

5km Male 1st 2nd
Junior (13-15) Alistair Rushforth (2) Elliot Allin (3)
Senior (16+) Ross Wayne (1) Nicholas Roper (4)
5km Female 1st 2nd
Junior (13-15) Leah Rushforth (1) Genevieve Long (2)
Senior (16+) Alison O’Dell (3) Libby Ralph (4)

Georgi Welch, manager of Farnham’s Anytime Fitness gym, was delighted to present the well-deserved awards for the junior 3km and 1km races. Again, some families showed their athletic potential:

3km (9-12 yrs) 1st 2nd 3rd
Boy Olly Webb Aaron Webb Nathaniel Rushforth
Girl Emmeline Orbell Emma Dakin Sophie Croucher
1km (5-8 yrs) 1st 2nd 3rd
Boy Tom Wattenbach Daniel Orbell Jeremy Rushforth
Girl Julia Smykala Evangeline Richards Abigail Spencer

After the races many families stayed to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Alice Holt, making the most of the new cafe or picnicking on the fields.