Neville Clarke achieves high standard in Freethorpe 10

Freethorpe 10: Ace veteran Newmarket Jogger Neville Clarke recorded a time of 1:15:34 in the Freethorpe 10 mile race near Great Yarmouth on Sunday, finishing 3rd of 20 in his MV65 age group and 169th of 735 runners overall. Clarke has shown high consistency over the years at this distance, with all his times since 2011 in a narrow range between 1:10 and 1:15. This performance puts him into Diamond club standard, which is above 75.00% age grade.

Neville Clarke powering to the finish at the Ekiden Relays last July. Photo: Chris Aylmer

Soham parkrun outing:  A total of 40 Newmarket Joggers met on Saturday morning for a club social visit to the recently opened Soham Village College parkrun, which only began last November. It’s a fun route with 3 laps around the school playing fields and some twisting and turning around the school buildings after each lap. The club put on a good show, with Joggers representing 3 out of the top 6 placings for men and women in a total field of 242 participants. Afterwards the Joggers gathered at the Gloof Café in Soham for tea, coffee and cakes. Special thanks to social secretary Jeremy Reader for organising this event and to Emma Reader who acted as a volunteer marshal. For individual times clocked by Joggers in the parkrun, please see the parkrun & GRL page.

40 Joggers gathered for the Soham Village College parkrun on Saturday morning, meeting afterwards for tea, coffee and cakes at the Gloof Cafe in Soham. Photo thanks to Jan Holmes

The Soham outing was also a chance to say farewell to one of the club’s most popular and fastest young athletes Emma Newman, who will shortly be returning to her family home near York. We wish her all the very best for the future.

Emma Newman in Gloof Cafe in Soham with her leaving present. Thanks to Jan Holmes for photo.

Stowmarket XC Report:  The results of the Stowmarket XC on 19th January are now out on the Suffolk County Athletics Association (SCAA) website. Following is a report on how our team members fared. For full results tables, individual and team, please click here.

Thirty-three runners represented our joint N&S (Newmarket & Sudbury) team, which was made up of 26 Newmarket Joggers (17 men and 9 women) and 7 Sudbury Joggers [SJ] (5 men and 2 women). Runners are to be taken as Newmarket Joggers, unless indicated ‘SJ’ for Sudbury Joggers. There was just one actual race but, for clarity, the results will be discussed separately for our women’s and men’s teams. The race was over an estimated 5.3 miles (8.6K), according to average GPS readings over several years. The course was predominantly along two laps of leafy and/or muddy trails, which twisted and turned through the woods in Haughley Park, with undulating grassland making up the remainder. There were at least five “craters” (sunken holes) to negotiate on each lap, two large ones and one with a pond in the middle, and also some log obstacles along the route, so quite a tough and varied course.

Newmarket Joggers tent stands in the cold, bright, morning sunshine; perfect weather for the race, compared with the often freezing rain, biting wind and slushy snow. Photo: Chris Aylmer

Emma Newman (45:21) ran a perfectly judged race to come home 1st in our team, 8th of 30 in her F20-39 age group and 21st of 142 female runners overall. This will sadly be her last race for the club as explained above and we will all miss her and wish her well for the future. Not far behind was SJ Jackie Hann (46:54), 4th of 16 in FV50 and 30th overall, with SJ Ruth Cowlin (51:57) in 3rd place, 8th of 22 in FV55, both excellent age group performances. Nicole Smith (52:54) completed the top four, a very able 12th of 25 in FV45. These top four runners made up our women’s ‘A’ team. For an explanation of team structure see near the bottom.

Other women’s team members putting in their best efforts and making up teams ‘B’ and ‘C’ were: Kate Warboys FV45 (55:17), Sianie Painter FV50 (56:01), Angela Barnes (56:34), Belinda Schofield FV60 (56:36), Lisa Jennings FV45 (60:26), Rebecca Hannah (71:59) and Rachel Allen (72:00). Belinda Schofield had the top age-graded performance of the female Newmarket Joggers at 60.06%, so a great effort. All the times recorded over this difficult cross country terrain will be significantly slower than in a road race of the same distance, so age grade % will appear lower than usual.

For the men, James Smith (32:56) enjoyed a top class run, finishing 1st in our team, 1st of 35 in MV40 and 6th of 400 runners overall. Pressing hard was Mark Hayward (33:27), 13th overall and 6th of 61 in M20-39. Then came Paul Holley (34:52), 19th overall and 1st of 34 in MV50, a tremendous performance for his age group, earning him 75.10% age grade, the highest of our men’s team. Sam Sadler (36:34) was in 4th place, 35th overall and 17th of 61 in M20-39. Completing our men’s ‘A’ team of 7 runners were Paul Dockerill (36:42), 5th home and 9th of 35 in MV40, SJ Charles Hann (38:43), 6th and 4th of 34 in MV50 and SJ Andy Buck (40:18), 7th and 3rd of 29 in MV55.

Aside from the top placings, there were notable age-group performances by Neville Clarke (44:25), 1st of 17 in MV65 and Malcolm Osbourn (52:52), 2nd of 8 in MV70.

Other men’s team members putting in their best efforts for teams ‘B’ and ‘C’ were: Jamie Rule (43:33), Brian Munns MV55 (44:09), Eliot Bentley MV45 (44:32), Tom Elton MV50 (44:57), SJ Gary Godfrey MV55 (46:28), Clive Purbrook MV60 (47:33), Robert Hawkins MV55 (48:45), Baz Colley MV50 (48:50), Steve Cousins MV60 (49:41), Jim Withers MV65 (54:02), SJ Jonathan Price MV65 (54:50), Chris Aylmer MV65 (57:54) and SJ Steve Roberts (70:46).

The wide expanse of Haughley Park, surrounded by the woods in the distance that formed the major portion of the 5.3 mile, 2-lap course over twisting and turning leafy and muddy trails. Photo: Chris Aylmer

Of 20 competing clubs at Stowmarket, N&S  ‘A’ teams were 5th in the combined competition, 6th in the women’s competition and 5th in the men’s, so a pretty decent effort and our best one so far. This season, after 3 of the 6 fixtures, we stand 7th in the combined competition, 7th in the women’s competition and 8th in the men’s. Our near neighbours Saint Edmund Pacers are top in all three competitions, so congratulations to them.

For an explanation of team structure, a women’s team comprises 4 runners and a men’s team 7 runners, with a combined team totaling 4 women and 7 men. These teams are not predetermined but decided by finishing position in the women’s and men’s races. The top teams representing each club will be the ‘A’ teams. There may also be ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams, according to the number of runners competing for each club. ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams compete separately in their own sub-divisions against their counterparts from other clubs.

The reason for the different number of women and men in a team is because the ratio of women to men competing in the these races is about 4 to 7 (actually 3.8 to 7 in this race) so it gives the best opportunity for the most runners to be included in a combined team, either A, B or C. Some smaller clubs would be stretched to find 7 female runners for a women’s team and for combined teams of equal women and men there would a big surplus of men. For the record, N&S ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams varied from 6th to 8th of 20 in their results tables after 3 fixtures, so a similar performance to the A teams.

Well done and thanks to everybody who ran, collecting valuable points for their ‘A’ , ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams and hopefully enjoying the challenge of the course and the team camaraderie. The next fixture is on Sunday 16th February at a brand new course in Pakenham, organised by in-form Saint Edmund Pacers of Bury St Edmunds.