Joggers get off to a good start at Woodbridge, in the first fixture of the Suffolk Winter XC League

After the postponement of the Framlingham Castle XC at the end of October (until 2024, due to waterlogged course), the first fixture of the Suffolk Winter XC League took place on Sunday, 3rd December, at Sutton Heath, near Woodbridge. There were just over 400 participants from clubs all over Suffolk and bordering counties, including some 23 Newmarket Joggers and Sudbury Joggers, who join forces in this league to form Team N&S. The weather was 5°C, drizzly and windy; not particularly nice. The route was an estimated 8.2km (5.1mi) from GPS, with lots of wide, deep puddles along sandy tracks, which had turned to sloppy mud in places. Other parts of the course were over fairly dry heathland, dotted with heather bushes, making for pleasant scenery and kinder running conditions. Phil Blundell and Ellie Bithell were there to give team support.


Official results are not yet out but we know that 4 senior Newmarket Joggers finished in the top 13 overall, which is an excellent outcome for the N&S men’s 1st team, made up of the first 7 male club members to finish. The first 4 runners (with own watch times and positions shown where known) were Jimmy Smith (29:58), Joey Bendall 8th (30:04), Jacob Freeborough 10th (30:08) and Mark Hayward 13th (30:47). The other 3 members of the men’s first team were likely Greg Davis (35:30), Marc Drury (37:44) and Andy Fryatt (38:47), who all had very good runs, though this needs confirmation. Other male N&S runners, with own watch times where known, were: Rob Hawkins (42:24), Tom Elton, Neil Williamson (46:25), Brian Munns, Alan Thornhill (51:20), Jim Withers and Chris Aylmer (1:03:54), with exact order dependent on missing times. Apologies for anyone left out in error.


Some members of the N&S team after the Woodbridge XC; back row from left: Andy Fryatt, Brian Munns and Jim Withers; front row from left: Nicole Smith, Joey Bendall & Jimmy Smith. Thanks for the team photo.


The N&S women’s 1st team was made up of the first 4 female N&S members to finish. Our female runners put in some great efforts. They are shown in approximate order of finishing, with watch times where known: Sally Bowen SJ, Nicole Smith (46:06), Ruth Cowlin SJ (48:12), Angela Brennan (48:48), Angela Drury (50:07), Belinda Schofield and Sianie Painter, with the exact order dependent on the missing times. Apologies, if anyone has been inadvertently left out.

It was great to have 3 Juniors running in the 3.5km U17/U15/U13 race: Sophie Blundell (U13), Cerys Bithell (U17) and Lilian Corbett (U17). Cerys Bithell was going really well but unfortunately had an asthma attack during the race and had to pull out. Sophie Blundell very kindly stopped to give assistance to Cerys and obviously lost ground in the process. Times and positions are not yet known for these runners.


JINGLE JANGLE TRAIL 5km, High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Sunday 3rd December: Sarah Last (34:12) and Gillie Green (44:35) enjoyed this Christmas race, which helped raise funds for the ‘Big C’ cancer charity. All runners were encouraged to dress up festively and were issued with bells to wear round wrists, to mimic the sound of sleigh bells as they ran.


Sarah Last’s Jingle Jangle medal. Many thanks for the photo.


ST EDMUNDS WINTER TRAIL RACES: Ickworth Park, Horringer, near Bury St Edmunds, Sunday, Dec 3rd: There was a choice of Half Marathon, Marathon or 50km Ultra. Keith Williams (6:10:25, 34th overall, 4th M60-69) opted for the Marathon, putting in a big effort in his first known race this year. The hilly terrain and soggy conditions of the grass trails must have made it a tough event. Out of interest, the 50km race formed part of the Positive Steps Grand Slam. The other races will be the Peddars Way Ultra 48mi (20th Jan, 2024) and the Norfolk 100km (1st June, 2024). All three events must be completed in any order in a 12 month period to be awarded the Grand Slam tankard.



PATAGONMAN Xtreme Triathlon, La Patagonia, Chile, Sunday Dec 3rd: Jogger Daniel Tee took on this very tough and hilly triathlon, with 2km swim, 180km bike and 42km (marathon) run. The swim was reduced from an original 3.8km to 2km, due to the cold temperature of the water (8°C). Daniel was generously supported by his wife, Sarah Osborne, who ran the final 13km with him. Official results are not yet out but Daniel’s own elapsed times were 37:40 swim, 7:13:15 ride and 5:24:19 run, for a total time of 13:15:14. The bike section included a staggering 7,900ft (2,400m) of climb, while the run included an equally challenging 3,356ft (1,017m) of uphill. Congratulations to Daniel on this great achievement.



Above top left: Daniel Tee before the Swim; top right: during the Bike; bottom left: during the Run; bottom right, with medal and ‘Tee’ shirt. Many thanks for the photos.