HRRL Overton 5 miles

The opening race of the new season (race 1 of 12) of the Hampshire Road Race League at Overton on the Sunday, 3rd September was eagerly anticipated by club runners throughout the Region.

Conditions were a little damp, with rain in the forecast, however, spirits were running high as 468 runners assembled at the start line. The distance was 5 miles on an undulating course through country lanes just outside Overton. A large team of 26 Farnham Runners (19 men and 7 ladies) travelled to the event.

The organisation of the event was, as usual, fantastic with a carefully considered, colour coded, start line ordering system for a smooth get away. There were plenty of marshals and water stations out on the traffic free course. The organisation and course design was ideal for a fast, competitive race. And fast it was, with the first male finisher crossing the line in 25 minutes 10 seconds – Matt Sharp of Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club. The first female was Jen Elkins of Southampton Athletics Club, finishing in 28 minutes 29 seconds.

Farnham Runners first finisher was James Clarke (22nd overall), completing the course in 29:06. Second was Rob Gilchrist (47th) in 30:28, third was Andrew Ellison (67th) in 31:32 and completing the A team was Ali Hardaway (84th / 11th in his age category) with a terrific personal best of 32:14. The men’s A team finished second out of ten division 2 club teams – a very promising start to the season.

“We’re aiming to get promoted back to the top division this year and I’m delighted with the start we’ve made to the season here at Overton”

said John Phillips, Farnham Runners Men’s Captain.

The Farnham Runners ladies team, following a few years of strong results, are operating in the top division in this year’s HRRL. It is highly competitive and despite a slightly depleted team (due to holidays) produced a creditable performance at Overton. First A team finisher for Farnham Runners was Emma Russ, crossing the line in 36:40, followed by an impressive HRRL debut and personal best by Anne Snelson in 38:48 and completing the A team finishers was Mary Denise Fitzgerald in 42:27.

Farnham Runners also fielded B teams for both men and ladies. The men again finished 2nd in their division with strong performances from Neil Ambrose 32:42, John Phillips (PB) 33:22, Colin Addison 33:25 and Mark Maxwell completing the team in 33:29. The ladies B team was comprised of Tina Harrison finishing in 42:43, Emma Campbell (PB) 43:33 and Pauline Hamilton (PB) 45:12. Clair Bailey provided the team valuable support finishing close behind Pauline in a PB of 45:47 (knocking an amazing 5 minutes off her previous best).

The Men’s C team included a strong Farnham Runners debut and PB by Harvey Wickham finishing in 34:56, Steve Bailey (PB) 35:47, Keith Marshall 36:20 and Paul Mackie (PB) 37:31. Further support was provided for the men’s teams by debutant Stu Laurie in a PB of 37:47, Tim Farrant (PB) 38:00, Terry Steadman 38:18, Damian Probett 38:39, Craig Tate-Grimes (PB) 38:42, Steve Payne 42:28 and Michael Dunkley 47:56.