Newmarket Joggers impress in stamina races over the weekend

An ultramarathon, two marathons and two half marathons were on the agenda for the Joggers for Sunday, 25th July.

Leading the pack was Jimmy Smith, in his second attempt at the Writtle Wround, a notoriously difficult 50K trail race in Essex, with a Runbritain difficulty rating of 10.0 (on a normal scale of 0 to 6) and elevation gain of 1,076ft. He sliced over half an hour off his 2019 time and finished in 4:21:16, making the podium at 3rd overall of 86 finishers. Jimmy absolutely enjoys his trail races and has tackled all distances up to 100 miles, often as much for the fun as the competition.

Jimmy Smith (right), receiving his prize for 3rd overall in the Writtle Wround 50K. Many thanks to Jimmy for the Strava photo.

Meanwhile, not too far away in Haughley Park near Stowmarket, Suffolk, the going was no easier, on a twisting, turning, uneven, cross-country multi-lap course, including several craters along narrow wooded pathways. The idea was to do as many one-eighth marathon laps of 5.27 km as one felt able within the 6 hour time limit, a gruesome task compared with the average road marathon course. Elevation gain was over 100ft per lap, with 98 runners taking part in all. Lisa Johnson went all out for 8 laps and succeeded in completing her first ever marathon in 5:31:03; a great achievement. Also competing for the Joggers was Joe Cormack, who took on the 4-lap option and did well to finish his half marathon in 2:44:56, with the actual distance recorded at approximately 13.6 miles.

Over at Bedford Autodrome, there was also a multi-lap running event, termed a ‘Running Grand Prix’, with options of distances up to a marathon. Here, the smooth, hard-surfaced, motor racing circuit was much more conducive to faster paced running, with only slight undulations. Each lap was about 3 miles, plus small extra loops to make the distances correct. Paul Holley went for the 8-lap Marathon and finished in 2:55:34, 8th overall in a high class field of 80 and 1st of 7 in his M55 age group, over 20 minutes ahead of his nearest age rival. Clive Purbrook decided on the 4-lap Half Marathon option and achieved his best time so far this year of 1:49:10, 79th of 165 overall, the sole runner in his M65 category.

The return of parkrun: There was a good turnout of 18 Joggers to welcome the return of parkrun on Saturday July 24th. Furthest away from home was Jim Withers, who tried out Stormont parkrun in Northern Ireland, which is his homeland. Things already seem more normal with 5K parkruns on a Saturday morning!

Stormont parkrun, Belfast.