SXCL Polecat Alley, Bramley 20 and New Zealand parkruns
SXCL Polecat Alley
On a glorious sunny and amazingly warm February day twenty-nine Farnham Runners ventured to the final event of the Southern Cross-Country League series 2018-19.
For the fourth year Haslemere Border Athletics Club were hosts, setting up the race HQ at the Royal School. After a spell of relatively dry weather which made the route more straightforward, some chose to wear road shoes rather than the usual trail shoes. Challenging stony descents with some exposed tree roots made full appreciation of the scenic views over the of the Devil’s Punchbowl tricky. The second half of the 5 mile course included some lung-busting steep ascents and there were very few flat sections in which to settle into a good running tempo. The fine weather tempted a good field onto the course, and most of the 24 clubs were well represented.
Farnham Runners gained an excellent third place for the men, seventh for the women and joint fourth overall on the day. In the final series table they were joint 4th on points with two other clubs but after a count back system was used they finished 5th. (Basingstoke and Midhust AC. were top, Haslemere Border 2nd, Farnham Triathlon club 3rd and Fleet and Crookham A.C. 4th.)
Two relative newcomers to the club headed the Farnham Runners contingent, Andy McCall continued his current good form for a fine 20th. David Roy, after an epic personal challenge the previous weekend wasn’t far back in 26th. On the Saturday, he ran almost 50kms on a local route of his own and on the Sunday he ran the LDWA (Long Distance Walkers Association) Punchbowl Ultra–Marathon of 30 miles and came 9th in a time of 5 hours 40 minutes.
Matt Dellar took advantage of his good local knowledge for a valuable 33rd, followed by Harvey Wickham 38th and Stuart Haig 41st. Neil Ambrose led a strong back-up group in 46th, with Mark Maxwell 55th, Colin Addison 56th and Phil Barker 72nd. Also in the top 100 were Steve Bailey 87th and Tim Cummins 89th.
Equalling her splendid performance in the last round Louise Granell finished 7th lady, with Linda Tyler 33rd after a 13 mile training run the previous day. Final scorer was the reliable Lindsay Bamford 39th. Not far back, Jane Georghiou, who carried on after taking a tumble, was 41st, just getting the better of Sue Taylor, 44th this time. Kay Copeland ran well for 55th while Jane Probett crept into the top 100, 99th.
- Men: Justin Clarke 106, Damian Probett 120, Geoff Brown 138, Craig Tate-Grimes, who, along with Helen Bracey had run 10 mostly uphill miles to get to the start, 167, Keith Toms 170, Mike Dunkley 183.
- Ladies: Helen Bracey 118, Clair Bailey 119, Kathy Brown 123, Jacquie Browne 128, Jackie Wilkinson 131.
At the race Stuart Haig was presented with the club’s Paul Charlton memorial trophy for the best men’s marathon time for 2018 for his 2:56:11 at Abingdon.
The previous weekend three Farnham Runners chose the Bramley 20 as part of their marathon preparations. Keith Marshall was delighted to be 3rd and close to 2nd in the M60 category with a time of 2 hours 30 minutes 43 seconds, while Linda Tyler gained a new personal best of 2:55:48. Lindsay Bamford clocked 3:00:06 and Bob Brimicombe came 10th M50 with 1:09:05 in the Bramley 10 miler.
Meanwhile long term member Bruce Peto has been flying the flag for Farnham Runners and Great Britain in two parkruns in New Zealand. He now holds the M75 age category record (by 8 mins) at Wanaka parkrun, and lies 5th M75 at the Whangarei parkrun.