Superb results for Farnham Runners

In this press release the Silchester and Alice Holt SXCL cross country races, the HRRL Hayling 10 and Gosport Half Marathon races, and our Halloween and Quiz Night social events.

SXCL Silchester

Farnham Runners group before the 2023 SXCL cross-country near Silchester

On the morning of Sunday 29th October, about to set out, entrants to the New Forest 10, a Hampshire Road League event, were notified it had been cancelled. The race director from New Forest Runners had a very hard decision.

With floods during the week before the race he had devised a new route that avoided a ford but on the Saturday there was a 20 metre stretch of ground under water. The water depth was mid-calf and the flow of water was slow he took the view that runners could manage that distance and depth. However, the morning inspection told a different tale and at 6am on race day extensive sections were under moving water and a little before 8.30am that the NF10 committee agreed that the race would have to be cancelled.

A decision by Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC as to whether the first Southern Cross-Country League race of the season near Silchester was to be made at 7:30 on the same day. The main problem was not the course but the use of a field for parking. It was decided that drier sections of the field could be used and that that would suffice, with some additional parking possible along the roads. Confirmation that the race was on was sent out to the participating clubs.

So some of Farnham Runners expecting to do a 10 mile road race, quickly grabbed their cross-country shoes and headed to Silchester to join club members who had already chosen this option.

The recent rain gave rise to challenging conditions but enjoyed by the cross-country enthusiasts. There were hills, puddles (some unexpectedly deep towards the end), tree roots, mud and even a stream to cross. These are some of the comments from Farnham Runners:

“A great event. So pleased it went ahead”

“What a great Sunday morning, loved it!”

“Cold, wet, muddy just like cross-country should be!”

“Wet, hilly & muddy… A proper cross-country!”

With those diverted from the New Forest, Farnham Runners fielded 41 runners. The total numbers were 464, which the organisers thought was a record for any Southern Cross-Country League event.

The Farnham men came an excellent fourth of the 23 clubs while the ladies were ninth. Combining the scores gave a final overall position of joint sixth, only 1 point off joint fourth.

Liam McMurray came an excellent sixth in his first race in Farnham colours. Joe Collins ran neck and neck with him for most of the way but was just pipped in a sprint to the line to place seventh. Jamie Lyons in 39th and Chris Cary in 52nd both ran strongly for the final team places.

Next in was Daniel Bailey, showing his potential in a splendid 64th place. Men’s captain, Justin Clarke flew round for 100th place.

Kayleigh Copeland gave a boost to the ladies team result, only just out of the top 10 in 11th. Both Bella Weetch (43rd) and Linda Tyler (50th) had been due to run the New Forest 10 but made a very useful contribution in the cross country. Not far back, Sue Taylor was 54th as final scorer.

Only starting with the “Get Me Started” group this year, Candy Waller impressed to come home next in 67th place. Lindsay Bamford finished 73rd with new member Gemma Whitehouse 76th in her first cross-country for the club, while Tori Shaw was 100th.

All ran their hardest over the challenging course: Sam Angell 104, Andy Brown 105, Chris Raby 111, Colin Addison 112, Bob Brimicombe 114, Ivan Chunnett 125, Richard Denby 131, Mike Carter 138, James Goodwin 146, Chris Gill 181, Craig Tate-Grimes 214, Chris Allen 220, Terry Steadman 226.

Jane Georghiou 104, Laura Quinn 106, Clair Bailey 117, Kay Copeland 135, Sandra Hickey 140, Lizzie Collins 143, Meg Grocott 145, Colette Grist 146, Penny Schnabel 150, Alison Lamb 154, Pauline Hamilton 197, Carolyn Wickham 205, Rachel Morris 206, Nicola O’Connor 207.

HRRL Hayling 10

Farnham Runners group before the 2023 Hayling 10 road race

The following week organisers of the Hayling 10 miler on November 5th had to clear stones washed up on the on the coastal path by recent storms. The weather was dry but very windy and a course slightly changed from last year has less of an off-road section.

The men’s teams gained a prefect set of results for the A and B teams, being top on the day and lying top of both the A2 and B2 divisions after three events of the 12. The ladies fielded a very good A team that came 4th of 10 clubs in the top A1 division but there were not enough for a B team.

The A men’s team comprised James Clarke in 1.00.58, Matt Saker in 1.03.02, James Lyons in a personal best 1.04.26 and Tony Jones in 1:10:27, Richard Denby in 1:11:19, Andrew Brown in 1:16:41, James Goodwin in 1:17:09 (PB) and Paul Keogh in 1:18:05. They were followed by Steve Murphy in 1:22:59 and Chris Gill in 1:24:44 (PB).

Linda Tyler as 2nd F60 led in the ladies in 1:20:14. Ali Mitchell was on her heels in 1:20:27, while Candy Waller gained a new PB in 1:24:47, with Bridget Naylor in 1:25:02. In support was Colette Grist in 1:33:11.

HRRL Gosport half marathon

Farnham Runners team before the 2023 Gosport half marathon

Many of the same runners turned out two weeks later on 19th November for an early start to take part in the flat and very popular Gosport Half marathon. As usual it was very well organised with lots of supportive marshals and helpers as Gosport Road Runners members are not allowed by the club to take part themselves.

After a very strong head wind for the almost half of the two lap route last year, runners were hoping for a calm day. Sadly, this was not to be, with gusts forecast to reach over 40 mph from the South West which meant a very strong side wind for most of the way. Some lighter runners struggled to stay on the footpath, being blown sideways. On the return for each lap the wind was slightly more behind them.

Despite the wind, remarkably, eight of the 18 Farnham Runners achieved personal best times, while four were among the prize-winners.

In the A team were James Robinson in a personal best 1:20:20, Joe Collins in 1:22:38 (another PB), Matt Saker who was second M60 in 1:23:25, followed by Jamie Lyons in a PB 1:25:37. This team came top of the B 2 division and they lie top on aggregate.

The next three back also recorded personal best times, Tony Jones in 1:33:46, Richard Denby in 1:35:01, and Andy Brown in 1:35:45, followed by second M60, Chris Raby also in 1:35:45 on chip time. These four made up the B team that came third and they lie top after four events.

Ivan Chunnett in 1:38:36, James Goodwin in 1:41:02, Justin Clarke in 1:42:17 and Craig Tate-Grimes in 2:04:16 made up the C team that placed fourth.

There were just six ladies to take on the challenging distance, so only enough for an A team. They were led in by Linda Tyler, second F60 in a splendid time of 1:42:39, with a trio of Billy McCulloch in 1:52:06, Bridget Naylor in 1:53:28 and Gemma Whitehouse in a PB 1:54:28 completing the team score for eighth in the top division.

Next was first F70 Jane Georghiou in 1:55:04, just a week after competing in the British and Irish Masters Home International in Glasgow, having been selected for a four-strong England age group team for the tenth time. She came away with a bronze team medal.

Colette Grist was delighted to beat two hours for the first time, in 1:58:58.

SXCL Alice Holt Forest

Large Farnham Runners group - a record turn-out for the 2023 SXCL Alice Holt cross-country

With a huge effort by Farnham Runners’ race director, Craig Tate-Grimes, the second round of the Southern Cross-Country League took place in Alice Holt Forest on 26th November. As this race is a joint effort from all the clubs in the league, Craig had the job of asking for and organising those who volunteered.

There were a good number from Farnham Runners, although a record 53 Farnham Runners took part in the race, some were helping out the day before the race, early morning on the day or afterwards.

Their efforts were justly rewarded as the men and ladies (see photo) put out superb teams that topped both sections and so won overall.

Three of the ladies' of the winning Farnham Runners team, left to right Sarah Hill, Lizzie May and Kayleigh Copeland, after the 2023 SXCL Alice Holt cross-country

This will be a huge boost to team score when the final tally is calculated after the sixth race.

Craig had made sure that the course included single track sections with plenty of mud as well as gravel tracks and hills.

The first four runners’ positions count for each team. The first four ladies placings totalled just 33 while the men’s total score was only 46, unbeatable results!

In her first race for Farnham, Lizzie May won the ladies race, first of 213 runners. Next was Kayleigh Copeland in sixth with Sarah Hill making a great contribution to the team in her first race for a while in seventh. The final scorer was still in the top 20, Emma Pearson 19th. Ali Mitchell 41st, Linda Tyler 58th, Candy Waller 66th and Lindsay Bamford 73rd made the top 75.

Liam McMurray led in the men in fourth with Joe Collins, overtaking quite a few on the last hill, in sixth place. Chris Weston was 15th and James Robinson 21st. Within the top 100 were Chris Carey 38th, Matt Saker 45th, Dan Bailey 84th and Sam Angell 88th.

Club Halloween Run and Quiz Night

Some of the characters in fancy dress costumes at the 2023 Farnham Runners Halloween run, organised by Clair Bailey (right) A Farnham Runners club supper and quiz in 2023 with quizmaster Louise Granell asking the questions and others sitting at tables

There was a great turn-out of members in an array of scary fancy dress costumes for the club’s Halloween run, organised by social secretary, Clair Bailey, while Louise Granell was quizmaster at the recent enjoyable club supper/quiz night.

See the Photo Gallery 2023 for further photos from these events