2022 Club Handicap, HRRL Stubbington 10K and SXCL Chawton House

Club Handicap

Farnham Runners pose in fancy dress before the start of the 2022 Club Handicap

The Farnham Runners annual fancy dress handicap was a very peaceful affair this year. Thirty members nearly all in fancy dress completed the traditional course but there was no sign of the usual demons or undesirable characters.

This is a long-standing event that began in winter 1985 during the first year of the club. As this was a handicap race, all thirty were in contention for the trophy which is engraved with the winner’s name each year.

There were also prizes of boxes of chocolates for the first three back, as well as for the best three fancy dress costumes.

“Mystic Meg” was in attendance as usual. She explained how the alignment of the planets on Christmas Day had sent the handicap calculations awry this year but, assisted by her crystal ball, she was still able to predict an expected time for each runner and so work out their handicap.

The difference in handicaps between the first and last runner to set off was 23 minutes, showing the wide diversity in paces of members of the club over the 4.25 mile route, mostly on roads.

2022 Club Handicap winner Stephen Dick being presented with his trophy and prize by Jane Georghiou dressed as Mystic Meg and Jacquie Browne

Stephen Dick gave his all in a determined performance to beat the rest of the field by 3 minutes. Runner up Bridget Naylor finished with a 15 second gap ahead of third placed Georgina Anderson, with Debbie Moorcroft, Richard Denby, Matthew Wernham, and 14 more all crossing the line within the next 4 minutes.

Included in this group was Joe Collins who started last with a 23 minute handicap but overtook to place 10th, wearing a flight suit much too warm for running.

Jacquie Browne, Carolyn Wickham and Julia Tagg had the difficult job of judging the fancy dress. A great deal of thought and effort had gone into the wide variety of costumes.

2022 Club Handicap Fancy dress winner Coiln Addison as a mime artist being presented with chocolates

The judges chose Colin Addison as a clear winner in a very clever outfit as a mime artist and they observed he stayed in character, even miming at the start. Richard Denby was dressed as a stunning waitress for second place while the two fastest ladies, Emma Pearson and Sarah Hill tied for third place, Emma as a bee and Sarah as Heidi.

Jacquie Browne presented the prizes and thanked all who had helped, not least the club’s race director, Craig Tate-Grimes who had earlier that morning put up the signs along the course and later took them all down and Jane Georghiou aka Mystic Meg. Jacquie Browne, Julia Tagg, and Linda Tyler organised the refreshments.

Becky Martin, Lina Haines, Sue Taylor, Emma Dawson Linda Tyler and Tori Shaw dressed as the Lionesses England women's football team at the 2022 Club Handicap

HRRL Stubbington 10K

Group of Farnham Runners in Farnham in the rain after the 2023 HRRL Stubbington 10k

The following weekend it was the first of the year’s Hampshire Road League races, the oversubscribed Stubbington Green 10km, which sold out this year in just a few hours. Twenty-nine Farnham Runners managed to get places and not come down with any seasonal infections on the day. It was chilly with a very strong wind which, although from the side most of the way, certainly slowed the runners and there was short unwelcome shower at the start.

Despite the conditions James Clarke was just 7 seconds off his personal best in a splendid time of 34:49 for 23rd place overall out of 1,764 finishers. Next was Chris Matthews in 38:23 with Neil Ambrose in 40:21 and Sam Angell in 40:39 to complete the A team that came 9th in the top A division.

Nick Grist 41:17, Chris Raby 42:42, 5th M60, Ivan Chunnett 44:25 and Richard Denby 44:41 made up the B team while the C team consisted of Justin Clarke 44:53, James Goodwin 46:54, new member Lee Dougall 48:49 and John Phillips 47:53 with Clive Frostick following in 55:15.

For the ladies making a welcome return to racing in this league was Sarah Hill in 43:14 who paced Emma Pearson to 43:21, the two taking 5th and 6th F45 slots. Not far back was Louise Granell who clocked 43:53 and Ali Falkiner 45:29. This A team gave a real boost to the series results, as it placed 4th out of the 10 clubs in the top flight and it now lies 6th.

For the B team were Bella Weetch 47:09, Jane Georghiou 52:38, 1st F70, Rachel Morris 53:47 and Colette Grist 55:40. Vicky Goodluck 55:27, Tori Shaw 55:05, Carol Dare 57:12 and Penny Schnabel 64:04 made a C team, the first one for the club this season. Nicola O’Connor 65:37 Sally Kerr 69:05, Jackie Wilkinson 71:23 and Alison Mungall 90:46 supported the team.

Trying to reduce the carbon footprint of getting to the race, the club hired and subsidised a coach. Nearly all the runners took advantage of this easy and pleasant way to travel.

SXCL Chawton House

Farnham Runners group before the start of the 2023 SXCL Chawton House cross-country

The first cross country of the new year was in the beautiful grounds of Chawton House and was organised by Alton Runners, whose marshals cheered the runners enthusiastically all the way round. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but the temperature only gradually rose above zero so the surface was very firm with some icy patches to avoid. The flock of sheep that tried to join the race one year was kept safely behind fences but some of the local deer made an appearance, probably unhappy at the invasion of their territory.

Forty-four Farnham Runners turned out to support the club, so popular are the events in this league.

The men fielded a good team that placed 6th of the 23 clubs. The four scorers were Joe Collins 7th, Chris Weston 18th, Toby Loomis 32nd and Joe lee 37th. Just out of a team place was Charlie Hill-Venning 39th and in the top 100 were Neil Ambrose 64, Colin Addison 74, Sam Angell 75, Ivan Chunnett 88 and Chris Raby 99. Other finishers were Matthew Wernham 112, Paul Keogh 119, Richard Denby 125, Mike Carter 132, James Goodwin 154, Justin Clarke 161, Terry Copeland 165, Tony Hollands 173, Chris Gill 183, Terry Steadman 200 and Andy Brown 208.

The first two ladies for Farnham were Emma Patton 22nd and Ali Falkiner 24th, with Sue Taylor 43rd and Bella Weetch 55th completing the team that came 9th. Not far back was Lindsay Bamford 57th.

Lina Haines 68, Bridget Naylor 74, Laura Quinn 89, Tori Shaw 96, Kay Copeland 97 and Jane Georghiou 99 were in the top 100. Other finishers were Gill Iffland 103, Vicky Goodluck 111, Amanda Muir 112, Georgina Anderson 116, Penny Schnabel 120, Sally Lawrence 145, Alison Lamb 146, Tina Longman 149, Shirley Perrett 157, Nicola O’Connor 162, Pauline Hamilton 168, Carolyn Wickham 175, Jackie Wilkinson 176.

See the Photo Gallery 2023 for further photos from the above races