Grand Prix: Paul Holley storms into men’s lead. Claire Acklam and Elke Hausler neck and neck.

Grand Prix: Following the virtual Kevin Henry 5K race in April (the first of 12 events in the Joggers’ Grand Prix 2021), the leaders are jockeying for position. Points are awarded according to time recorded and actual age on the day, to give an age grade % performance, with the grades rounded down to the nearest whole number. In the men’s Grand Prix, Paul Holley MV55 (17:43, 86 points) stormed to the front and has already opened up a 5pt lead over Jimmy Smith MV40 (16:51, 81 pts), with Greg Davis MV55 (21:50, 71 pts) another 10 points behind in third. Holley put in a tremendous performance, just a month or two after suffering a broken bone in his leg from a horse kick. Fine runs by Smith and Davis and good to see the latter back in the fray.  In the women’s Grand Prix, Claire Acklam FV55 (25:08, 72 pts) and Elke Hausler FV55 (24:20, 72 pts) share the lead, with Jan Holmes FV55 (27:52, 64 pts) and Cathy Russell FV55 (27:07, 64 pts) tied for third place. Another excellent performance by Acklam and great to see Hausler back in good form. Holmes and Russell are going well too. So, all to play for with the 2nd virtual KH fixture to be completed by 16th May. Well done all those who participated.

NJ Women’s Grand Prix Results

NJ Men’s Grand Prix Results

Kevin Henry first fixture in April: In a total field of 434 (228 women, 206 men), we had a very good turnout of 65 members (37 women, 28 men) for the first virtual Kevin Henry 5K League fixture in April. That was the third highest turnout of all 8 participating clubs, so well done all, especially considering we are the smallest club (by membership) in the league. Also there were some great individual performances. The 5 fastest women and 5 fastest men from each club are particularly relevant for the Kevin Henry League. Their overall finishing positions within their gender are separately added up to give a total number of points, which needs to be as low as possible. As well as this, all runners (including the top 5), no matter what their finishing position, effectively count as one negative point to be deducted from the totals of the top 5 women and top 5 men, to give an even lower total. In that way a large turnout can enhance the team result, which is otherwise very dependent on the performances of its fastest runners. See at the bottom of this report for a more detailed explanation of the scoring system.

Our Kevin Henry fastest 5 women were: Elke Hausler (24:20, 40th F), Ellie Margetts (24:31, 42nd F), Ruth Bell (24:36, 45th F), Jo Blackstock (24:47, 46th F) and Olivia Carter (24:47, 47th F). Total position points 183. Excellent performances by these club members, all able to run at a very similar pace. Great to see Hausler back in action after injury problems with her Achilles tendon. Margetts is obviously enjoying her running and Blackstock has made big strides over the last few months after having a baby. Bell is a valuable new addition to our team and it’s good news that Carter has also returned to the fold after some time away.

Our Kevin Henry fastest 5 men were: Jimmy Smith (16:51, 4th M), Paul Holley (17:43, 10th M), Jamie Rule (19:31, 42nd M), James Thomson (20:29, 60th M) and Stuart Sowerby (20:31, 61st M). Total position points 149. Excellent efforts from our fastest men, all running at or near their peak form.

Kevin Henry Team Result: Despite such good individual efforts from our quickest runners and also from a large overall turnout, we unfortunately find ourselves at the bottom of the table after the first Kevin Henry fixture. The women’s team finished 8th and the men’s team 7th of the 8 participating clubs. Our combined team result was also 8th and we have 3 combined points so far. This shows just how high the standard is in this league. There is currently a tie between Cambridge & Coleridge (C&C) and Ely Runners, who are on a combined 15 points apiece. C&C were 1st men’s team and 2nd women’s team while Ely were 1st women’s team and 2nd men’s team. It’s amazing how much the Ely Runners team has improved in recent years. C&C used to be undisputed champions year after year….now there is a pretender to the crown. Wherever the Joggers finish in the league, win or lose, it takes nothing away from the enjoyment and excitement of competing in it; and of course, all our individual Kevin Henry performances count for the NJ Grand Prix, so still an incentive to put in the best times we can.

Kevin Henry League Table

Regent’s Park Spring 10K, 8th May: Neil Pollard put in a very good effort in the high class Regent’s Park Spring 10K in London. He clocked 36:06, finishing 4th of 95 and 1st of 7 in his MV40 category. This earned him 77.98% age grade. He has been putting in many miles training over recent months, mainly over the beautiful, undulating, Moulton Paddocks training grounds near where he lives.


Bury to Clare 18: On Sunday May 9th, 12 Joggers completed the scenic and undulating Bury to Clare 18 mile course (~18.5 miles), which follows the official ‘Bury to Clare Walk’ route. There were 273 finishers overall, including runners and walkers and some in-betweeners. Participants were started in waves of about 12, every 15 minutes from 8:00 am to 10:30 am. It was nearly all off-road after the first 2 or 3 miles, save for a few interconnecting bits. The weather was ideal, if a little humid, with hazy sunshine and a warm breeze, while ground conditions were firm and dry, even across the many ploughed field pathways, surrounded by young sprouting crops. There was actually a little refreshing rainfall coming into Clare at 2:45 pm, which most runners would have missed.

Richard Jones was in top form and recorded the Joggers’ fastest time of 2:43:45,. He was 22nd of 273 overall and 4th of 15 in MV55. Then came Alan Shand in 3:16:19, an impressive 1st of 6 in MV65. Quickest for the female Joggers was Ellie Bithell in 3:19:23. She was 21st female of 152 and 5th of 35 in FV40, so a great result. She was followed by Ruth Eberhardt in 3:25:05, 26th F and 4th of 36 in FV45; an excellent result and course PB for her. However, along with several other Joggers (including Clive Purbrook, Jan Holmes and Nicole Smith), a footpath turn was missed at Mickley Green and they all did about a mile longer than needed. So, their times would have been significantly quicker, had the turning not been missed.

Bury to Clare route elevation

In order of time taken, the other Joggers to finish were: Clive Purbrook (3:50:36, 2nd MV65), Nicole Smith (3:56:21, 19th FV45), Lisa Jennings (3:58:10, 20th FV45), Jan Holmes (3:59:53, 7th of 17 FV55), Chris Aylmer (4:21:55, 2nd of 4 MV70), Caroline McIntosh (4:22:09, 1st of 7 FV65), Sianie Painter (walker, 6:08:28, 14th FV55) and Gillian Green (walker, 6:08:39, 6th FV60). Jackie Hall started well but sadly developed an injury and had to pull out at the end of the first of the three stages. Nice to see that Sianie Painter and Gillian Green were working hard at walking, to improve stamina after injury problems. A particular mention for Caroline McIntosh, who developed discomfort in the lower back after the first stage and had to resort to run/walk and then to quick walking for the last 6 miles. She finished 1st of 7 in her FV65 age group and recorded the third highest age grade of the Joggers at 51.84%, after Richard Jones (61.29%) and Alan Shand (55.22%). That’s determination, which can help her through the Tokyo Marathon in October. Well done to all who turned out and took on the challenge.

From Thurston End, looking back towards Somerton in the distance.

Kevin Henry Scoring System: First of all Kevin Henry is the name of an estate agent in Saffron Walden, which sponsors the league, for which we are all very grateful. Some explanation of the scoring system might be helpful for those new to the league. For each club, the overall finishing positions (according to gender) of the 5 fastest women and 5 fastest men are added up separately to give a female and male points total. The lower the total, the better the performance. So, the lowest possible points total would be 1+2+3+4+5 = 15. Next the number of female and male participants of each club (including the top 5) is deducted from the corresponding points total to give a final total for women and men, which may be a negative figure. In that way, a higher turnout means a lower team score. This is where it gets complicated. This final points figure is used to place all the 8 clubs in order of performance, separately for women and men, with the lowest total 1st, next 2nd, next 3rd, and so on with the highest total 8th. The actual points total is now dropped and the 1st placed team is awarded 8 points, the 2nd team 7 points, 3rd team 6 points and so on, with the 8th team 1 point. So, a club’s women’s team might now be 3rd best with 6 points and the men’s team 5th best with 4 points. By adding these points together (10 points), a combined points total is given. To make more sense of the scoring system, see the current league table in the PDF link below:

Kevin Henry League Table 2021 May 15

There is a possible reason why the position points total is dropped, after establishing the order of finish of the clubs. For years, C&C were always well ahead on position points and after 2 or 3 fixtures would have been too far ahead on points to be caught by any of the other clubs. That could have killed any motivation for other clubs to continue competing. The way it is, there is always the possibility of turning over a one or two point lead.