HRRL Alton 10, two marathons and an ultra

HRRL Alton 10

Farnham Runners group with their medals after the 2017 Alton 10

Perfect conditions, cool with only a light breeze, at the Alton ten miler were in total contrast to the soaring temperatures last year.

Thirty four members of Farnham Runners competed for the twelve men’s and nine ladies’ Hampshire Road Race League scoring places. The ladies put out what was probably the highest quality consolidated team in its thirty-one year history, with nine finishing inside one hour twenty minutes over this challenging hilly course. The A team, after a notable second placing with only Winchester Athletics club ahead of them, looks increasingly likely to stay in the top flight. After a disappointing season there is a glimmer of hope that the B team can cling on to a slot in B Division One, with two matches to go. The B and C teams came second and third in B Division One and were calculated to be fifth and sixth ladies teams in the race overall.

After an inspiring run in the London marathon, Emma Pearson took advantage of her endurance training to forge into the lead among the Farnham ladies to gain a new personal best of 1 hour 13 minutes and 23 seconds (17th lady of over 200, 10th in the F35 category). Just behind from the gun to the finish but quicker on her chip time was Emma Whittaker-Axon (1:13:21, 18th lady, 4th senior lady) who showed her enthusiasm to race for the club by competing the day after a long-haul flight back from her honeymoon. The reliable Eloise Stradling completed the A squad’s scoring in 1:14:12 as 21st lady and 5th senior.

Kayleigh Copeland had to be content to lead in the B string, her 1:14:59 placing her as 6th senior lady. After a PB in the London marathon, Linda Tyler continued her impressive improvement with another new best of 1:16:26 that gave her second in her category. Sarah McCulloch is also benefitting from her rigorous marathon training programme as she maintained a consistent pace for 1:17:11 as 8th F45.

Gabriella Hitchcock led the “C”s in 1:18:36 while ultra-runner Lucy Hogg finished strongly for 1:18:00, again the quicker on chip time. Jane Georghiou, an age category bronze medallist at the recent British Masters 10km championships at Gravesend, was 5th F55 in 1:19:23. Pushed out of the teams this time were Tara Hunt 1:20:45, Kay Copeland 1:25:17, Mary Denise Fitzgerald 1:29:16 and Rebecca Martin 1:29:17.

The men’s teams also gave a good showing with the “A”s clinching seventh in the very competitive top division. James Clarke flew round in 1:01:57 as 30th of over 500 finishers and 21st senior man. Not far back was Andrew Ellison, 9th M40 in 1:02:56. Mike Taylor (20th M40) and Alistair Hardaway (21st M50) clocked 1:09:14 and 1:10:27 respectively.

Neil Ambrose contributed another valuable performance by heading the “B”s in 1:11:22, followed by a returner to the club Michael Smith in 1:12:51. Back to form after injury was Tim Cummins in 1:13:46, while Terry Copeland filled the final place in 1:15:04 for a team placing of 9th of 15 in B Division One. Nick Hill (1:15:40), newcomer Michael Stephens (1:16:17), Hallam Foster (1:16:28) and Craig Tate-Grimes (1:18:56, a 6 minute PB) formed the “C” team that came 5th of 19 in B Division Two.

Other times: Men Steve Payne 1:29:45, Ian Loader 1:33:42, Ladies Pauline Hamilton 1:33:14 (debut), Shirley Perrett 1:34:52, Debbie Whitehead 1:34:51, Clair Bailey 1:35:30 (debut), Jessica Platt 1:42:18 (debut), Tracy Holmes 1:59:23 (debut), Diana Williams 1:59:30 (debut).

(Times given above are chip times).

Other races

On the same day a group enjoyed the Shakespeare Marathon at Stratford-upon-Avon. First home was John Phillips in 3:17:35, followed by Chris Cramp who was delighted with a 6 minute PB of 3:35:39. Steve Bailey (3:43:49), Ian Marshall (3:51:46), Lindsay Bamford (3:57:18, 5th F50) and Tim Farrant (3:58:11) were all under the 4 hour mark. James Musgrave recorded 4:10:38, while Peter Strange, accompanied by Hillary Carter was 8th M70 in 5:51:26.

Stuart Haig improved to an impressive 6th place and time of 3:37:43 in his second attempt at the off road Three Forts Marathon. The distance of this is in fact a mile longer at 27.2 miles and includes climbs of Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings, a total of 3450ft of ascent. This year he was joined by John Hill-Venning (4:00:53), Charlie Hill-Venning (4:08:14) and James Musgrave (5:02:56).

Sean Smith came 4th in the tough, hilly, eight lap Ox Trail 50 Mile Ultra in Dorset, after leading till 30 miles and clocking the fastest lap of the race. His time was 9:02:48.