Christmas Suffolk XC fixture hosted by Haverhill RC at Horseheath Racecourse

Suffolk Winter XC League 3rd fixture, Horseheath, Sunday, 19th Dec: On a cold, grey, damp, foggy morning, the third fixture of the Suffolk Winter XC League took place over the highly undulating grounds of the Horseheath point-to-point racecourse near Haverhill. The organisers, Haverhill Running Club, were ready to buoy our spirits with a band playing Christmas songs before the start and homemade cakes and refreshments waiting for finishers at the end. All marshals, helpers and runners were encouraged to wear something festive if they dared, and lots did. The biggest fun of the race, for participants and spectators alike, was probably the water feature, in the shape of a long pond of approximately 6″ deep water to run or wade across on each of the two laps of the course; it was right near the start/finish area to draw the biggest crowd of spectators and photo hunters. With all the fun of the fair going on, it was easy to forget about the cold, drab, damp, foggy weather; or even perhaps begin to enjoy it.


Above left: Jimmy Smith 2nd from left; running on water? Above right: Suzanne Bailey and Sianie Painter carry on regardless. Thanks to Nicole Smith for these great photos.

Newmarket Joggers (NJ) and Sudbury Joggers (SJ) combine as team ‘N&S’ in this league. We had a good turnout of our fastest runners, with a total of 18 men and 7 women. Full results will not be out for some days but we are reasonably sure about our first 7 men and first 4 women to finish, who will automatically make up our men’s and women’s A teams for points calculation purposes. For the women’s A team, the first 4 to finish were Olivia Carter NJ, Annie Morris NJ, Jackie Hann SJ and Bridget Wallwin NJ, with Suzanne Bailey NJ, Sianie Painter NJ and Jo Bouttell NJ making up the B team. For the men’s A team, the first 7 to finish were James Smith NJ, Paul Holley NJ, Joey Bendall NJ, Mark Hayward NJ, Piotr Bulacz SJ, Jonathan Pye NJ and Charles Hann SJ; and the B team: Sam Sadler NJ, Andy Fryatt NJ, Charles Jones NJ, Ben Cuthbert SJ, Neville Clarke NJ, Tom Elton NJ and Brian Munns NJ; the C team: Jeremy Reader NJ, Rob Hawkins NJ, Alan Thornhill NJ and Chris Aylmer NJ. Well done all who ran for team N&S, putting in such big efforts. Thanks to Nicole Smith for completing all the N&S finishing sheets and for taking some great photos; also for remembering all the runners in our team after a certain person (otherwise known as Santa Claus, who blames it on overwork at this time of year) forgot to take a photo of our finishers’ sheet. Thanks also to Emma Reader for support during the race. The full results will be reported in the New Year.


Above left: Paul Holley, classic style, unperturbed, like it was only 1″ deep. Above middle: Andy Fryatt, nearest camera, puts his best left foot forward. Above right: On left, Santa Claus guest appearance. Thanks to Nicole Smith for these great photos

‘Let It Stow’ Trail Half Marathon, Stowmarket, Sunday 19th Dec: This popular festive trail race, sporting a catchy name, attracted 220 participants, many decked out in seasonal costume and running in groups of friends. It was a scenic but gruelling course over muddy field and trail, as well as some hard path, pavement and road, completely circling the town of Stowmarket along interconnecting footpaths. Newmarket Jogger Helinä Salo put in a great effort to finish 3rd F of 109 female runners in a time of 1:51:53, which earned her an attractive trophy. Angela Barnes also did well, finishing 33rd F in 2:21:20. Marc Drury put in a very confident performance to finish 12th of 220 runners overall, clocking 1:41:50.

Above left: Helinä Salo with Let It Stow HM women’s 3rd place trophy. Above right: Marc Drury and Angela Barnes after their Let It Stow race. Thanks very much  for these great photos.

Early winter scene on the Three Churches route by Ruth Eberhardt. Thanks for the lovely photo on Strava.