SXCL Pamber Forest and various marathons

SXCL Pamber Forest

A sudden drop in temperature underlined the start of the cross-country season. Twenty-nine Farnham Runners travelled to the first round of the Southern Cross-Country League, hosted by Basingstoke and Mid-Hants AC at the Site of Special Scientific Interest in Pamber Forest, near Tadley.

Early morning showers faded and race conditions were ideal, the surface unusually dry, for a record turn-out of 519 runners. The course of approximately five miles started up, down and round a field before joining a forest track and undulating along trails and footpaths through woods and fields. It was much warmer and sunny by the time the result tokens were collected and recorded. Most Farnham Runners stayed for the treat of hot dogs and home-made cakes provided by the host club in a nearby hall.

It wasn’t long before the team results were announced and there was a cheer for the Farnham Runners as they placed joint third overall out of 24 clubs, fifth in both the men’s and ladies’ sections.

Recovered from injury Richard Lovejoy set a personal best of 56 minutes 38seconds at the 10 mile Great South Run the previous weekend and strode out to win the race at Pamber Forest, a huge boost for the team. The ever-reliable Andrew Ellison was next back for the club in an impressive 20th. Stuart Haig, who just a week ago set new personal best times for 10km (38:50), half marathon (1:25) in his new marathon best of 2:56:11 at Abingdon came 36th. The indefatigable Charles Ahsby was fourth scorer in 60th, while Andy McCall, 68th, made a fine contribution to the team, just three weeks after a fine performance of 3:18:10 in the Bournemouth marathon, his first race in club colours and his first attempt at the distance.

Harvey Wickham, who took on the role of collecting the team results, wasn’t far back in 81st, followed by Ali Hardaway in 86th.

After a long training run the day before Emma Pearson was still in good form to lead in the Farnham ladies in 18th. Newcomer Louise Granell in her first race for her new club came an excellent 21st. Eloise Stradling was final scorer in 32nd. Lindsay Bamford settled for 50th while Sue Taylor (73rd) stayed ahead of Jane Georghiou, 74th, with Kay Copeland in 88th.

All the runners gave their all to finish as high as they could. Men: Tim Cummins 104, Terry Copeland 126, Damian Probett 128, Philip Barker 129, Chris Cramp 136, Steve Bailey 152, Ian Loader 254, Jonathan Salomon 283, Richard Sheppard 300. Ladies: Helen Bracey 141, Clair Bailey 142, Nicola O’Connor 171, Sue McKenzie 180, Julie Tagg 187, Jackie Wilkinson 195.

Various marathons and ultra-marathons

Farnham Runners have been active in a number of marathons recently:

  • Abingdon: Stuart Haig 2:56:11, Stephen Elliott-Nichols 3:04:53, John Phillips 3:25:32.
  • Berlin: John Phillips 3:24:20, Neil Ambrose 3:36:06.
  • Bournemouth: Sarah Hill: 2:55:39, Matt Saker 2:59:22, Andy McCall 3:18:10, Emma Pearson 3:25:35.
  • Chicago: Linda Tyler 3:50:54.
  • Exmoor Trail Run Challenge: In windy conditions Linda Tyler went on to complete her first ultra-marathon, the Exmoor trail Run Challenge, a 30.4 mile jaunt along challenging coastal path and boggy open moor and a total elevation of over 11,000 feet. She finished in an impressive 7 hours 18 minutes 34 seconds as 12th lady.