SXCL The Bourne, Farnham
Farnham Runners hosted the third round of the Southern Cross-Country League on Sunday, in woods and heathland near the Bourne Green. After last year’s memorable atrocious conditions, with bitter storm force winds and heavy rain, the weather was much kinder with light rain easing off by the start and a chilly wind not too noticeable. Recent rain gave rise to puddles but less serious mud than many of the league’s venues. Hills cannot be avoided when running in the Farnham area and always prove a challenge even to the most experienced runners and they begin soon after the wide, fast start.
Under the expert guidance of race director, Craig Tate-Grimes a huge number of members, relations and friends gave up their time to help in the preparations, including marking out the course in advance and marshalling on the day.
Co-ordinated by Jacquie Browne and Linda Tyler, a huge spread of sandwiches from 28 loaves were prepared at the clubhouse starting at 8am, with fillings that included 72 eggs, 4kg of tuna and 2kg cheese. Cakes, mostly homemade, as well as hot drinks were also provided. A huge turn-out of 448 runners from the 24 clubs in the league, travelled from all over Hampshire and neighbouring counties to take part. The number of fast-paced runners seems to increase every year even though the very fastest elite runners are excluded from this league. The competition remains very welcoming and supporting with club members cheering in their fellow runners.
Duncan Selmes from Haslemere Border AC was the first man home and Sue Evans from Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC the first lady.
Joint team winners on the day were Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC and Haslemere Border A.C. The first men’s team was Haslemere Border AC with Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC second, while these positions were reversed for the ladies. Farnham Runners finished overall 6th, their men placed 9th and ladies 4th, just one point off 3rd. Farnham Triathlon Club and Hart Road Runners placed joint 3rd overall, with Fleet and Crookham AC 5th.
The twenty-three strong Farnham men’s team was were led in by James Clarke in 47th, followed by ultra-runner Stuart Haig in 59th, with Andrew Ellison on his heels in 60th. Harvey Wickham and Colin Addison were pleased to complete the score in 73rd and 86th respectively. Just one place adrift was Neil Ambrose in 87th, with men’s captain John Phillips in 103rd, Phil Barker in 113rd and Terry Copeland in 114th.
Emma Pearson put in an impressive performance for 11th place for the ladies, while the team was boosted by Charlotte Hanson in 14th and Susie Chan in 16th in their first run for the club in a while. Vicki Clarke in her final run for Farnham after a move away ran very strongly in 22nd place with newcomer Louise Granell 24th, Kayleigh Copeland 32nd, Sarah McCulloch 40th and Eloise Stradling 44th.
- Men: Ali Hardaway 131, Justin Clarke 138 (debut), Damian Probett 157, Terry Steadman 176, Barney Whiter 178, Tim Cummins 190, David Boakes 192, Haywood Drake 203, David Hay 207, Michael Stephens 213, Phil Masters 231, Steve Payne 235, Peter Strange 256, Richard Sheppard (sweeper) 262.
- Ladies: Sue Taylor 62, Jane Georghiou 73, Lindsay Bamford 75th, Anne Snelson 124, Clair Bailey 138, Sally Lawrence 143, Jane Probett 144, Julia Tagg 160, Susan McKenzie 173, Nicola O’Connor (Sweeper)185.