Neil Pollard and Troi Baxter excel in Marcus Gynn Newmarket 10K

It was a lovely, sunny day for the Marcus Gynn Newmarket 10k on Sunday 3rd July at 10:00 am; not overly hot or humid with a light breeze. The start and finish were at the Ellesmere Centre in Stetchworth. As well as a full band of Newmarket Joggers helping to organise and marshal this event, fifteen Joggers also took part in the race. Neil Pollard was first Jogger home and 2nd of 135 runners overall, in a new PB of 33:48, the first time he’s ever been under 34 minutes. That was just 1.5 days after setting a big 5 mile PB in the Friday 5 at Great Bentley in Essex (see later). Troi Baxter was also in great form, in her first known, official 10km race. She set herself a brand new PB benchmark of 38:33, finishing 10th overall and 1st of 50 female runners by over 5 minutes, showing complete dominance. Troi will likely be concentrating now on her London Marathon event, where she qualifies for a championship entry, possibly from her 3:09 Boston Marathon performance earlier this year. Championship entry commands a favourable start; up with the leaders, with no crowding and plenty of elbow room.


Above: Troi Baxter celebrating her 1st female finish in the Marcus Gynn Newmarket 10K. Many thanks to Troi for the photos.

Mark Hayward (34:38, 4th overall, M40 trophy winner due to individual prize rule), Dan Hutchison (35:00, 6th, 3rd of 22 in MO) and Joey Bendall (36:08 PB, 8th, 5th in MO) were all well up with the leaders and put in big efforts. Joe Cormack (40:44 PB, 13th, 8th in MO), took over 10 minutes off his previous 10k PB in December 2021, and over 25 minutes off his only previous attempt at this race in 2019. That’s incredible progress and an example of what can be achieved with determination. As a reward for the great team effort, Newmarket Joggers came away with the top-3 men’s team trophy, represented by Neil Pollard, Mark Hayward and Dan Hutchison.

Runners jostle for position in the playing fields, at the start of the Marcus Gynn 10K, including Joe Cormack (left) and Troi Baxter (right), with Jason Beeton and Jonathan Ollington also visible behind. Many thanks to the team for the photo.

Others putting in their best efforts were: Jason Beeton (41:27, 18th, 10th in MO), Mark Drury (42:06. 19th, 2nd of 16 in M45), Sam Chapman (42:44 PB, 24th, 12th in MO), Jonathan Ollington (43:28 PB, 28th, 2nd of 7 in M50), Andy Fryatt (43:48 PB, 31st, 4th of 14 in M55), Marc Walker (49:41, 55th, 5th in M50), Jeremy Reader (50:28, 59th, 10th in M45), Rachael Maltpress (58:19, 28th F, 4th in F40) and Rebecca Fordham (1:00:38, 33rd F, 6th in F50).

Before the main race, there was an enthusiastic turnout of 47 for the junior races for U8, U11, U13 and U15, who went 1 lap, two laps, 3 laps or 4 laps of the playing fields respectively, with each lap approximately 300m. It was particularly moving to see George and Tommy Gynn running in the U8 race in memory of their late uncle Marcus Gynn, former and greatly-missed Newmarket Jogger to whom the adult race is dedicated. Some Junior Newmarket Joggers took part in the children’s races, including Sophie Blundell U11 3:44, Harvey Thomas U13 4:39, Lilly Basing U13 5:31 and Cerys Bithell U15 6:24.


Above left: Medals for club social secretary Jeremy Reader and for sons Jude and Oakley-Jeorge, who competed in the Junior U8 race; above right: George Gynn and Tommy Gynn, who also competed in the Junior U8 race and are nephews of the late Marcus Gynn, a greatly-missed Newmarket Jogger who sadly lost his fight against sarcoma cancer in 2015. Thanks to Jeremy Reader and Sandra Gynn (Marcus’s mother) for the great photos.


Neil Pollard started the weekend off on Friday evening 1st July, by competing in the Great Bentley Friday 5 in Essex, along with 9 other Newmarket Joggers. It was the final fixture of the summer Friday 5 (mile) series and attracted a big, high class field of 422, which brought out the best in all the runners on this invitingly flat, fast course. Neil clocked 26:36, coming 10th of 422 overall and third of 45 in M40. It was an all-time PB for him by 39 seconds and his first ever sub 27 minute 5 mile race, earning an age grade of 86.22%. Next Jogger home was the ultra-consistent Mark Hayward (27:17, 23rd, 4th in M40), with an all-time PB by 19 seconds. Then came Paul Holley (27:34, 25th, 1st of 40 in M55) in great form, with an age group trophy and an exceptional age grade of 91.78%. He was followed closely by the fast-improving Joey Bendall (27:49, 28th, 18th of 85 in U40), who achieved a fine PB by 58 seconds. The other Joggers to finish all managed their best times of the Friday 5 series this season and were as follows: Neville Clarke (34:42, 142nd, 2nd of 9 in M65), Greg Davis (36:19, 187th, 17th of 40 in M55), Brian Munns (37:41, 215th, 21st in M55), Jim Withers (44:47, 346th, 6th in M65), Kate Warboys F50 (50:44, 133rd F), Jackie Henley F55 (55:49, 151st F) and Caroline Mcintosh F65 (55:49, 152nd F). An excellent team performance all round.

WMA Championships, Tampere Finland: Elke Hausler travelled with her husband Michael to Tampere in Finland, to compete in the World Masters Athletics Championships, open to athletes over the age of 35. On Thursday 30th June, Elke competed in the 8km XC event against others in her W55-59 age group and came 7th of 15 in a time of 33:42, which represents 76.66% age grade. However, Elke said that the distance was more like 7.2km for some reason, as found by all the participants. On Sunday 3rd July, she ran in the W55 5000m track event and finished 7th of 14 in her age group in a time of 21:18.70, earning 85.95% age grade and a track PB, even though she has matched that time at Storeys Field parkrun this year (21:18). Just shows how good the Storeys Field course is. So, both fine performances by Elke in unusually hot 29°C weather conditions for Finland, though not quite enough to bring home a trophy on this occasion. Michael competed in the Shot Put at M60-64, coming 4th of 21 with a best put of 13.56m, unluckily missing out on a 3rd place trophy.

Apologies that Elke Hausler’s fine 5:43.4 on July 22nd in the 1500m track at the Eastern Masters Athletics Championships in Chelmsford went unreported and was erroneously entered in the tables as 5:48.4. It has now been corrected and puts Elke up at 90.97% age grade in the achievement tables, in Violet club standard alongside Paul Holley. Well done Elke!

Round Up: Aaron Self entered the Outlaw Holkham Half triathlon event on Sunday, 3rd July. He did well to complete a very tough course in 6:45:26. His 1.2 mile swim took 50:16 and he must have enjoyed his ~56.5 mile bike ride, which took him only 3:13:36, including a total climb of 2,350ft. This was then followed by a very hilly half marathon course, which took Aaron 2:33:28 and made it a very hard challenge towards the end for everybody. In triathlon events, the final run is often reasonably flat. Angela Brennan also completed the swim (51:57) and the bike leg (4:14:07); good times by any standard.

Sarah Last took part in the Cambridge Race For Life (in support of Cancer Research UK) and did well to clock 32:41 in this non-competitive 5K event, which started and finished on Jesus Green, taking in scenic views of The Backs along the way.

Helina Salo opted for a weekend stay at a Love Trails Festival on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There was a campsite, meals and music entertainment in the evenings. She went on three non-competitive runs over 3 days, including a 10k trail run, a hilly half marathon loop with 1,593ft elevation and a 11 mile/18km run on the final day.

Above left: Helina Salo’s Trail Half Marathon; right, Sarah Last on Jesus Green after Race For Life. Many thanks for the photos to Helina and Sarah.

On Saturday 2nd July, Jimmy Smith (2:44:09) and Paul Holley (2:44:27) took on the non-competitive Ridley Round, which is a scenic, self-navigated trail run, taking in the Essex Way and Chelmer Valley and conveniently passing by a number of pubs formerly owned by the Ridley Brewery. The distance is normally around 14 miles but something went a little awry with the navigation and they ended up going over 18 miles. Nevertheless, they found all the pubs, which was a good result and it was also good training for the Bury to Clare 18 Challenge, should they wish to do it.

Above: All the fun of the Ridley Round for Paul Holley and Jimmy Smith. Thanks to both of them for the photos.