Sarah Boneham puts in top effort in Beachey Head Marathon

Sarah Boneham took on the extremely hilly Beachey Head Marathon on Saturday, which was run over highly undulating trail paths on the South Downs near Eastbourne. It attracted a field of 2,204 runners and included around 3,700ft of elevation, not too far short of Boneham’s 5,000 feet of ascent over Mount Mulanje in Malawi two weeks ago. She clocked 5:08:19 to finish 38th of 396 in her FV45 age group and 117th of 971 female runners overall; quite an accomplishment over this terrain. Her half marathon splits were exemplary at 2:30/2:38, in what must have been a severely fatiguing race.

The start of the Beachey Head Marathon, showing the challenging ascent at the beginning, just one of many such ascents and descents. Photo: Courtesy of Trevor Bunch of Haverhill Running Club, who also competed in the race.

On Sunday, it was HaverSports’ St Ed’s RunFest in Bury St Edmunds. In the Knights Lowe 10K event, Paul Dockerill ran a top race to finish 10th of 310 overall in a time of 40:28 and 5th of 36 in MV40 followed by Anna Mayhew (52:29), who came 3rd of 30 in FV50, 29th of 182 female runners overall. Caroline Mcintosh (1:04:13) was also in top form, equalling her 10K PB recorded only 1 week previously in the Cambridge Town & Gown and coming 2nd of 4 in FV60+. Longstanding former Jogger Nicky Chapman was first female finisher of 182 in 43:47; it’s great to see her doing so well.

Four Joggers ran in the St Ed’s Half Marathon event. Miles Johnson MV65 (1:58:29) continued with his impressive sub 2 hour times, while Lynda McCormack (2:03:57) did well to come 4th of 13 in the FV50-59 age group, despite being disadvantaged by the wide category range. Mary Marsh (2:16:03) clocked her best half marathon time this year and Giles Macrow (2:17:47) also put in a good effort.

Meanwhile, up in Norwich, Jeremy Reader (48:46) and Emma Reader (1:13:06) both competed in the Trowse 10K, with Jeremy 245th of 660 overall. Both were not far from their best times this year.

Also on Sunday, in ideal, cool, sunny weather, it was the Bedford Autodrome Running Grand Prix, which involved running various numbers of 5K laps around the motor racing track for 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon, with smaller extra loops as necessary for distance accuracy. Andrew Taylor (44:10) was in good form in the 10K, coming home 4th of 24 in MV45 and 30th of 279 overall, while Chris Aylmer (5:03:55) opted for the Marathon, finishing 109th of 132 overall.

Bedford Autodrome Start/Finish: The Marathon involved a paltry 113 ft of elevation overall, about as opposite as you can get from Beachey Head. Even then, the slight inclines were noticeable! Photo: Chris Aylmer

Anyone for refreshment? Not if you took over 5 hours in the Marathon…the shutters were down! There was nice Yorkshire tea to be had before the race though. Photo : Chris Aylmer

In the Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon on Sunday 20th Oct, Alan Shand clocked 2:09:46 to finish 12th of 20 in MV60 out of a total field of 799. As far as is known, this was his first half marathon since 2010, in the now-defunct Grunty Fen Half, which staged its final event in 2015. It may possibly be a step on the way to one of his favourite ultra marathon challenges.

Returning to Sunday 27th Oct, Emma Newman sampled the free, monthly TRUST10 trail run/walk 10K around the Blickling Estate near Aylsham in Norfolk. Jan Holmes was also there, trying out a “little joggerette” as she put it, while recovering from a leg injury. No official timing is done for the trail 10K and they leave it up to the participants to bring their own timing devices if they wish. Newman clocked her own unofficial time at 49:45. She was very struck by the beauty of the surroundings.

Blickling Hall and the beautiful Blickling Estate. Photo: Courtesy of Emma Newman.