Neil Pollard impressive in Essex 20

After success in the Suffolk Cross Country Championships early in January, Neil Pollard ran his first road race of the year in the Essex 20 miler at Rochford on Sunday. In a top class field, he showed tremendous speed to clock 1:58:12 (80.54% age grade), finishing 23rd of 347 overall and 4th of 40 in his MV40 age group. Pollard admits he went a little too fast early on and paid for it later in the race. However, this was a late transfer entry and possibly not fully integrated into his training schedule. It was an impressive performance and can serve as a booster and appetiser for a marathon attempt in the spring.

Also exhibiting top speed on Sunday was Elke Hausler in the British Masters Athletics Inter-Regional 3000m indoor event at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, Edmonton, London. She clocked 12:09.13 in the W50-59 age group race, which earned her 88.60% age grade. Hausler was hoping to represent GB in the Braga World Masters Championships in Portugal on the 18th and 22nd March, competing in the 3000m indoor race and the 5K Cross Country events respectively, but unfortunately the event has been cancelled due to the corona virus outbreak. On 8th March she has another indoor 3000m race at Lee Valley.

On Sunday in London, it was the Vitality Big Half Marathon, with a huge field of 22,125 participants. Melanie Tindale completed the race in her best time this year of 1:55:48, finishing high in the rankings at 1,679th of 10,411 female runners and 211th of 1,686 in her FV40 age group.

Meanwhile, on an attractive new 5 mile course on the Nether Hall Estate in Pakenham, near Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket Joggers (NJ) joined forces, as usual, with Sudbury Joggers (SJ) to compete as club N&S in the 4th of 6 fixtures of the Suffolk Winter Cross Country League. Altogether, 24 NJs and 6 SJs took part, with 19 men and 11 women in a total field of around 260 runners. All runners scored points based on their finishing positions within their gender, with the top 4 women and top 7 men in each competing club becoming the ‘A’ team members for women’s (4 to a team), men’s (7 to a team) and combined (11 to a team) divisions and subsequent finishers designated as ‘B’ or ’C’ team members, competing against their counterparts from other clubs in their own subdivisions.

Nether Hall: An attractive new setting for the Suffolk Winter League XC Photo: Chris Aylmer

No results or times have yet been published, nor gender placings, but the overall finishing positions of our women’s team were as follows: SJ Ruth Cowlin 177th, NJ Angela Barnes 188th, NJ Sianie Painter 189th, NJ Kate Warboys 206th, NJ Bridget Wallwin 208th, NJ Pearl Fay 244th, NJ Christine Windsor 245th, NJ Gillian Green 250th, NJ Jenny Osbourn 253rd, NJ Rachel Allen 255th, NJ Rebecca Hannah 256th.

Our men’s team placings were: NJ Paul Holley 11th, SJ Andy Buck 50th, NJ Jason Bevan 53rd, NJ Charles Jones 56th, SJ Ben Cuthbert 58th, NJ Marc Drury 68th, NJ Jamie Rule 74th, SJ Gary Godfrey 93rd, NJ Brian Munns 113th, NJ Neville Clarke 117th, NJ Baz Colley 135th, NJ Alan Shand 139th, NJ Clive Purbrook 151st, SJ Jonathan Price 175th, NJ Malcolm Osbourn 176th, NJ Jim Withers 199th, NJ Chris Aylmer 207th, NJ Alan Thornhill 223rd and SJ Steve Roberts 254th.

Newmarket and Sudbury Joggers in the sunshine, preparing for the start of the Suffolk Winter League fixture on the Nether Hall Estate in Pakenham. Photo: Chris Aylmer

So far in the League, out of 20 competing club teams, Newmarket Joggers & Sudbury Joggers (N&S) stands 7th in the combined men’s and women’s ‘A’ team division, 7th in the women’s ‘A’ team division and 8th in the men’s ‘A’ team division. Saint Edmund Pacers is top in all three divisions. Not all competing clubs have enough members for ‘B’ and/or ‘C’ teams so the ‘A’ team placings are given top status. For the record, N&S varies from 6th to 8th position in all the ‘B’ and ‘C’ divisions, with only around 13 clubs (‘B’) and 10 clubs (‘C)’ having enough members to compete in these divisions.


After the race, it’s farewell to a lovely day’s running on the Nether Hall Estate in Pakenham. From the left: Christine Windsor, Bridget Wallwin, Jenny Osbourn, Caroline McIntosh (kindly acting as marshal while injured) and Malcolm Osbourn. Photo: Chris Aylmer