SXCL Pamber Forest and Club Super Sunday

SXCL Pamber Forest

The season’s Southern Cross-Country League fixtures kicked off with a challenging 5 miler at Pamber Forest, a site of Special Scientific Interest near Tadley.

The course had everything expected of a cross country – hills, mud, puddles, forest trails, gravel tracks, sections around fields, logs to climb or jump over, two streams to cross and a lung-busting ascent to the finish with a gradually increasing gradient. There was a chilly start but bright sunshine gave rise to warmer conditions by the end. Hosts Basingstoke and Mid-Hants AC. provided very welcome hot dogs and cakes in a nearby hall before the team results were announced.

Farnham Runners fielded a team of 29 and James Clarke was a delighted winner of the race, first of over 500 finishers. This result helped the men to a fine third of 24 clubs, with Charlie Hill-Venning 27th, Maciek Hulme 32nd, Harvey Wickham 38th and Neil Ambrose 60th all earning scoring places.

First for the Farnham ladies was Gabi Hitchcock in a useful 31st, back racing after a break. With some key players missing it was up to stalwarts Lindsay Bamford in 43rd and Jane Georghiou in 62nd to complete the scoring for the team which came 13th. This gave an overall tally of seventh for the club.

Other placings

Men: Ali Hardaway 82, Terry Copeland 102, Richard Strode 120, John Hill-Venning 124, Tim Cummins 129, Chris Cramp 133, Justin Clarke 135, John Phillips 161, Tom Geyton 173, Damian Probett 174, Adam Harrison 192, Craig Tate-Grimes 197, James Goodwin 205, Keith Toms 267, Steve Bailey 268.

Ladies: Kay Copeland 82, Caleigh Smith 90, Clair Bailey 120, Sue Taylor 121, Tina Harrison 144, Jane Probett 148.

“Super Sunday”

The previous Sunday, Farnham Runners took part in number of events both far and wide, including two marathons, with such excellent results it could be dubbed a “Super Sunday” for the club!

York Marathon

Sarah Hill and Billy (Sarah) McCulloch had been selected for their age group England Masters’ team for the York Marathon and both were over the moon with their results.

Sarah clocked an amazing 2:52:19 as second lady overall to go third on the F45 UK marathon rankings for 2019, 18th on the All Time UK F45 list, not to mention beating her own ladies’ club record with a new personal best time.

In her fourth marathon, Billy was delighted to take 14.5 minutes from her previous best and deduct 38 minutes since her first marathon just over 2 years ago. Her time of 3:30:41 placed her eighth in the F50 category. She put her success down to:

“Setting a vision, making a plan, sheer determination and hard work in sticking to your plan, reviewing your plan and being honest with yourself, discipline, reaching out to others for support, picking yourself up when you wobble and most importantly having fun and enjoying what you do. So many parallels between Marathon training and achieving what you want in life.”

She added,

“Course highlights for me were the Scottish bagpipe bands and a local priest who gave up his time to high five and cheer on the runners. The course included 500 feet of ascent, with a nasty hill near the end.”

Abingdon Marathon

Seven Farnham Runners tackled the Abingdon marathon, renowned for its fast, flat route. They were rewarded with some excellent times, many taking a huge chunk from their previous best, and put their success down to following rigorous training plans. The first two back for the local club were Andy Mc Call in 3:08:19 and Neil Ambrose in 3:20:30, both deducting nearly 10 minutes from their PBs. Next was Emma Pearson in 3:22:20, delighted to clock a PB by nearly 3 minutes and place fourth in the F45 category. Simon Carson Jones and John Phillips recorded very good times of 3:22:55 and 3:25:58 respectively. In his sixth marathon, Chris Cramp was overjoyed to achieve his sub 3:30 target in 3:29:07 with a new PB by almost 7 minutes. “I think a relaxed start to the race and a recent ten day training programme in Portugal both helped me” he said. . Harvey Wickham was pleased with a new PB by over 4 minutes with 3:30:28.

Great South Run

In the 20,000 field of the Great South Run (10 miles at Portsmouth), Matt Saker was 158th finisher and fourth M50 in an excellent 1:01:18, followed by Nicholas Haire (1:16: 53), Damian Probett (1:34:51) accompanying Jane Probett (1:34:53, PB by 11 minutes), Hayley Clayton (1:37:27) and Claire Arnott (1:43:24).
Alton Downland Challenge

Nearer to home three Farnham Runners chose the off road 10km Alton Downland Challenge, particularly muddy and with some sections underwater this year. All were prizewinners: Terry Copeland 14th overall and second M60 in 46:54, Justin Clarke 20th finisher and third M60 in 47:49 and first F55, Kay Copeland in 56:52.

This was in addition to the excellent times and two prizewinners in the Fleet 10km reported last week. Truly a “Super Sunday” for the club!