Wymondham 20M, Norfolk, Sunday March 26th: Mark Hayward (1:56:01, 6th of 481 overall, 1st of 55 in M40-44) set an all-time PB in this 20-mile race, which was the perfect, final preparation for his TCS London Marathon attempt on April 23rd. It’s been a tenacious and relentless 2023 build-up for Hayward, starting with the Wymondham New Year’s Day 10km and continuing with the Great Bentley Half Marathon on Feb 5th, the Tarpley 10M on Feb 26th, the Cambridge Half Marathon on March 5th and the Robert Tomlinson Stowmarket Half Marathon on March 19th. Throughout this period he also put in some big performances over 8km and 10km in the Suffolk XC Championships and Winter XC League. Fully primed for the big London Marathon event, he can now look forward to three weeks of gradual taper, to conserve all the energy and fitness he has built.
Oakley 20M, Bedfordshire, Sunday March 26th: Troi Baxter (2:11:18, 6th of 404 overall, 1st F of 191, 1st of 23 in F18-39) performed at the highest level in her first ever 20-mile race. She must now decide whether to take her place in the TCS London Marathon on April 23rd. She appears to have the perfect build-up for London, with her PB in the Cambridge Half Marathon on March 5th and now this excellent run in the Oakley 20. However, she is also targeting the Berlin Marathon in September. Whatever she decides, we will all be behind her and looking forward to her next race.
Above, top: Troi Baxter in action in the Oakley 20; above, bottom: with her 1st Lady trophy after the race. Thanks to Troi for the great photos.
Also putting in a big effort in this race was Jonathan Ollington (2:38:14, 82nd overall, 3rd of 23 in M55-59). He did his only other known 20-miler in the same race 4 years ago, clocking 2:54:27; so has improved by over 16 minutes, despite moving up an age group.
World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships, Toruń, Poland (26th March to 1st April): Elke Hausler has entered the indoor 800m and 1500m track events, as well as the 8km outdoor cross-country (XC) event, competing in her new age-group status of W60-64. So far, she has completed the XC event and succeeded in helping her team win the bronze medal for Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Hausler finished 2nd of the three team members in a time of 40:37, which represents 77.06% age grade. Ireland won gold with Romania taking the silver. The Championships will conclude on Saturday 1st April, with the 800m and 1500m still to come at the time of writing.
Sheffield Half Marathon, South Yorkshire, Sunday March 26th: Jessica Bird (1:49:15, 1,377th of 4,749 overall, 195th F of 1,627, 148th of 1,019 in F18-39) put in an excellent performance over this very hilly course with over 1,000ft of elevation. The huge number of runners made for a great atmosphere.
Don Morrison Edale Skyline Fell Race, Derbyshire Peak District, Sunday March 26th: Chris Underwood (4:04:27, 113th of 202 overall) bravely took on this ~34km/21 mile, extremely hilly, fell route, with over 4,500 ft of elevation. He beat his time last year by 25 minutes, so has made sound progress.
Suffolk XC Winter League, Sunday, March 26th, final fixture at Horseheath Racecourse organised by Haverhill RC….hold your breath!
The final results and times are not yet out but we do have the positions of our Newmarket Joggers (NJ) & Sudbury Joggers (SJ) team members. Nothing is certain, but it does look very encouraging for our hopes of securing 2nd position in the men’s competition and hopefully a top three place for our combined women’s and men’s teams. We had a good turnout of our best runners, despite the absence of Mark Hayward and Paul Holley due to other commitments. There was a lower than usual total number of runners at approximately 175, which may have worked in our favour, due to the miserable weather and the location of the course, which was on the far western edge of West Suffolk…probably in Cambridgeshire. The latter made for a long journey for many clubs in cold, wet, windy weather. The race was thankfully delayed by 15 minutes due to an incident on the A14, as several of our fastest runners were caught in the hold up. The course was 2 undulating laps of not-too-muddy, grass tracks with a large, icy-cold pond (or was it a small lake?) to splash through on the way.
First seven men to finish for the A team were: Jimmy Smith NJ 5th overall, Dan Hutchison NJ 8th, Joey Bendall NJ 9th, Nathan Brown NJ 10th, Neil Pollard NJ 12th, Piotr Bulacz SJ 20th and Stuart Sowerby NJ 42nd. That must be one of the best position performances all season, helped, no doubt, by the lower overall turnout. First 4 women to finish for the A team were: Sarah Osborne NJ 52nd overall, Sally Bowen SJ 75th, Dina Heggum NJ 114th and Angela Drury NJ 139th.
Men’s B team; Marc Drury NJ 44th, Daniel Tee NJ 65th, Andy Fryatt NJ 69th, Neville Clarke NJ 92nd, Tom Elton NJ 107th, Robert Hawkins NJ 127th and Brian Munns NJ 149th. Women’s B team: Ruth Cowlin SJ 141st, Helen Wass NJ 146th, Sianie Painter NJ 156th and Nicole Smith NJ 157th. Men’s C team: Alan Thornhill NJ 150th, Jim Withers NJ 159th and Chris Aylmer NJ 164th. Women’s C team: Jo Bouttell NJ 170th, Caroline Mcintosh NJ 171st.
All in all, it was a sterling performance by everybody in the team and a challenging but enjoyable course, despite the dull weather. Thankfully, it had more or less stopped raining by the start of the race, so no drowned rats at the end. Some nice cake and other treats had kindly been brought by the team too.