Suffolk Winter XC (Cross-Country) League 2022-23, Fixture 4, organised by club Saint Edmund Pacers at Nether Hall, Pakenham, Sunday Feb 12th: It was ideal conditions; dry and relatively mild, with no mud or puddles and hardly any wind in the beautiful, wooded and undulating grounds of the Nether Hall Estate. Newmarket Joggers (NJ) and Sudbury Joggers (SJ) combine forces to form ‘club’ Newmarket & Sudbury (N&S) in this league. Full results are not yet out but we do know many of the overall positions and unofficial times of our team members.
For the N&S men’s team, new NJ member Nathan Brown was in tremendous form and finished 1st of around 300 runners overall, recording a time of 27:23 on his own watch for the ~8km course. That follows his equally impressive debut in last month’s fixture at Haughley Park, Stowmarket, where he finished 2nd overall of 390 runners. As a US national stationed at RAF Mildenhall, Nathan had not tried this type of cross-country running before coming to the UK but has certainly taken to it with alacrity. Not far behind Nathan came Jimmy Smith NJ (28:25, 5th?), Mark Hayward NJ (28:27, 6th), Paul Holley NJ (29:20, 8th), Piotr Bulacz SJ (31:10, 27th), Jonathan Pye NJ (31:51, 35th) and Chris Underwood NJ (33:13, 46th). These named 7 runners are believed to have made up the N&S men’s A team, which was defined as the first 7 N&S male runners to finish.
Above left: Nathan Brown leading the field; right: Jimmy Smith not far behind. Thanks for the Strava photos. Note Nether Hall in the distance.
N&S male B and C team members in rough order of finishing, with own watch times where known: Jem Smith SJ M45, Mark Salisbury SJ SM, Andy Buck SJ M55 (36:30), Phil Blundell NJ M45 (37:40), Marc Drury NJ M45 (39:39), Daniel Tee NJ SM, Neville Clarke NJ M65, Steve Cousins NJ M60 (40:10), Rob Hawkins NJ M55 (42:41), Jeremy Reader NJ M45, Tom Elton NJ M50, Liam Elvidge NJ SM (46:28), Chris Aylmer NJ M70 (53:19) and Brian Munns NJ M55.
Above left: Paul Holley and Mark Hayward attacking the steep incline; right, SJ Piotr Bulacz making good progress. Thanks for the Strava photos.
The women’s N&S A team consisted of talented new member Sarah Osborne NJ (36:26), Elke Hausler NJ F55, Sally Bowen SJ F45 and Belinda Schofield NJ F65 (no watch times available for the latter three team members); a very worthy team of 4 indeed, despite Elke, Sally and Belinda all being in veteran age groups. The N&S women’s B team: Ruth Cowlin SJ F55 (45:05), Sianie Painter NJ F55 (47:28), Sarah Pennock SJ F40 and Nicole Smith NJ F50 (48:39); the C team: Jan Holmes F55 (52:37) and Jo Bouttell F55 (57:02).
Above left: Sarah Osborne NJ, first female for N&S; right: Jo Bouttell accompanied by Brian Munns. Thanks for Strava photos.
Junior U11 Fun Run: Sophie Blundell looked to be running in top form in this ~800m fun run, with a fast finish. Official results will be out soon.
Junior U17 XC: This was over ~3,500m (2 miles according to the course director = 3,220m). Sean Rollinson and Harvey Thomas both competed well in this event, more than holding their own against those of a similar age. Official times will be available soon.
The primary league awards at the end of the season are based on the A-team results, with secondary and tertiary awards for B and C teams. In this fixture we had 21 male and 10 female N&S runners altogether. It was great to see so many N&S runners taking part, which helps increase the team camaraderie and atmosphere. There are high hopes that N&S were best performing men’s A team on the day, as we were at Haughley Park in January. That should mean that we have maintained a top three position in the men’s league competition….fingers crossed. It will be good to have it confirmed. It’s worth noting that Mark Hayward (who is in full training mode for the TCS London Marathon in April) ran 15 miles at ~6:30/mi pace immediately prior to competing faster still in this XC, to make it a 20 mile run altogether. He finished 6th overall, which is some achievement.
Norfolk Gazelles Valentines 10K, west of Norwich, near Bamburgh golf course, Sunday 12th Feb: Three Newmarket Joggers competed in this popular annual race among a total field of 873 runners. First Jogger home was Hannah Pollard (45:51, 43rd F of 381, 15th of 73 in F40), who is making great strides after a protracted period of injury. Then came junior Jogger Cerys Bithell (47:57, 64th F, 27th of 139 in F 15-39), with a top effort at the youngest age allowed in this race (15 yrs), just 14 seconds short of a PB; all her Run Newmarket training is paying dividends. Cerys was followed in by her mother Ellie Bithell (48:56, 75th F, 10th of 50 in F45), who achieved an all-time PB, beating her Bonfire Burn time last year.
Marriotts Way Trail Half Marathon, Whitwell to Aylsham, North Norfolk, Sunday 12th Feb: NJ Gillian Green opted for the Nordic Walking event, which took place alongside the runners, but with an earlier start. She kept a very brisk walking pace of 15:19/mi, to complete the challenge in 3:20:43, 101st of 108 participants (runners + walkers). Positive Steps PT, the organisers of this race, have a thriving Nordic Walking group in East Anglia.