Excellent turnout boosts Joggers’ performance in Kevin Henry 5K League

The results have just been released for the third virtual Kevin Henry 5K race, which took place from 16th to 19th July, along a route of each participant’s choosing. This fixture would normally have been hosted by Saffron Striders of Saffron Walden, at the old wartime airport venue of Carver Barracks, a very fast and more or less flat course.

The club leaders did an excellent job of encouraging more of our members to take part and it shows clearly in the results. Our participant total of 59 is the highest achieved by Newmarket Joggers in the series so far and the third highest of the eight Kevin Henry League clubs in this fixture. Helped by some top performances by our fastest runners, Joggers did a fine job of finishing =5th of 8 clubs, compared with 7th of 8 in the previous fixture. Surprisingly, the top club was Ely Runners, who pipped the normally dominant Cambridge C&C by one point, with Haverhill RC and Saffron Striders in =3rd place. Ely and Haverhill were boosted by enormous turnouts of 95 and 105 respectively; all credit to them. To be fair on ourselves, we do have a significantly smaller membership than the aforementioned clubs.

The top 5 women and 5 men in each club scored points according to their overall finishing position by gender, with the remainder scoring one point for the club. Our top 5 women to finish were: Hannah Parsons (22:31, 21st), Claire Acklam (24:51, 43rd), Lisa Johnson (25:33, 54th), Nicole Smith (26:02, 57th) and Helen Wass (26:38, 68th). Another top, consistent performance from Hannah Parsons with Claire Acklam putting in a powerful age-graded performance of 72.84% in second, backed up well by Lisa Johnson and Nicole Smith. Of particular note was the excellent performance by Helen Wass in 5th position, after a prolonged period of injury problems. She has jumped from Bronze to Gold club standard (over 65% age grade), so let’s hope this is a sign of recovery.

For the men, Neil Pollard (16:49, 4th) and Jimmy Smith (17:10, 6th) put in dazzling runs, which made a big impact on the team’s overall score. They were soundly supported by Paul Holley (19:29, 40th), Bertie Tweed (19:30, 41st) and Marc Drury (19:32, 43rd). Top age grade for the men was by Neil Pollard at 82.66%, his highest this year, closely followed by Jimmy Smith on 79.90% and Paul Holley on 78.10%.

The Kevin Henry fixture also counted towards the Newmarket Joggers Grand Prix competition. In the Women’s Grand Prix, Sianie Painter stays safely at the top of the table with 339 points from Christine Windsor 289, Jenny Osbourn 286 and Angela Barnes 258. In the Men’s Grand Prix, Paul Holley keeps the lead on 403 points from Malcolm Osbourn 386 and Jamie Rule 310, with Marc Drury and Chris Aylmer tied on 280 points. Malcolm Osbourn (age band 70-74) put in a vintage performance of 25:58 in his pursuit of the Men’s Grand Prix title, putting him within a whisker of Platinum age grade at 69.96%, his highest ever. Let’s hope he makes it to Platinum during 2020.

As far as scoring in the KH League is concerned, only two things matter: Firstly, the performance of the first 5 men and first 5 women of each club, who score according to their overall position within their gender; and secondly, the total number of runners participating from each club (regardless of time or finishing position), who all score one point apiece (including the top 5 men and 5 women in addition to their position points). So you need your 5 fastest male and 5 fastest female runners to compete at their best, plus as many club runners as possible to boost the overall score. It may seem a slightly odd way of calculating the score but it does mean that every runner counts towards the team’s overall performance and incentivises every club to field its maximum turnout.