After a few weeks without much racing the action came thick and fast this weekend.
Matt Frost travelled up to his homeland in the north-east on Sunday to join the 60,000+ runners of the Great North Run. The half marathon, which starts in Newcastle and finishes in South Shields, is the biggest and most famous of the Great Run series and, on Sunday, Mo Farah chose it as his final (final) retirement event. It also includes, weather permitting, a spectacular display from the famous Red Arrows.
The race was won by Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola in 59:50 with Mo Farah finishing fourth. Just behind them 544thplace was Matt Frost in an impressive 1:27.16. He said he found it tough but the highlight was a ‘high five’ from Newcastle manager, and race starter, Eddie Howe.
AVR women centre-stage in Somerset
Starting at Taunton racecourse, the Blackdown Half- Marathon was mainly trail with some quiet country roads and plenty of challenging climbs, including up to the highest point in the Blackdown Hills. On Sunday runners faced first thunderstorms then heat and humidity during the event, which was actually closer to 14 miles!
It was an all-female contingent for AVR on Sunday with first AVR home Kerry Board in a brilliant 2.03.07 to take second female and 25th overall. Dawn Currah finished in an impressive 2.23.13, first F60. Ragnhild Richards finished in 2.35.13; Kelly Giles in 2.37.21; and Rachel Hiscock in 3.08.38.
New Forest Half
Mark Spraggs headed over to the New Forest for the Garmin organised half-marathon. A stunning multi-terrain course running through the heart of the New Forest with a blend of forest enclosures, open roads, far reaching views and of course, the famous New Forest Ponies. With more than 1100 finishers, Mark finished in an impressive 200th place in 1:47.54 on the fast, flat course.
Bosun and CapTEN
The capTEN and its partner the Bosun are run over the glorious Golden Cap in Dorset. The capTEN is actually now 11 miles with the organisers generously adding an extra mile to take in both Golden Cap and Thorncombe Beacon, the crown jewels of the Jurassic Course, over the two-lap course.
Eleanor Wood was first F60 and an excellent 13th overall, from 43 finishers, in 2:17.25 run in the soaring September temperatures and over the tough course with more than 3200 feet of elevation, equivalent to climbing Scafell Pike!
The Bosun is the one-lap, 5.5 mile race, still challenging with 1500 feet of elevation. Kevin Feeney was sixth MV60 and 33rd overall finishing in 1:17.11 with 61 completing the race.
Wye Valley Half
Last Saturday Julia Teague took part in the Wye Valley Half Trail Race. The race was 14 miles, so just over a half marathon, with plenty of challenging elevation. Starting from Chepstow Racecourse with 200 runners, the route was stunning, crossing from England into Wales and back again, some technical parts, some woodland, some field, passing through picturesque villages, and even went through a cave! In Julia’s view there was never a dull moment, it was a super friendly event with a really lovely medal and goodie-bag and one she recommends to AVRs in the future. Julia was happy with her 3 hours finish in her first race for a while.
Adrian Strawbridge and David Cull were the only 2 AVRs at the Yeovilton Town Road Running Club 5k series, penultimate race last Wednesday evening. Gutsy runs from both in unreasonably hot and sticky conditions, with another solid run from Adrian in at 20:25 and David shaving more time off with a shiny PB of 18:37, finishing 8th and 25th respectively (2nd and 7th M40).
With the series finishing next week there is still the opportunity for AVRs to log their best summer 5k. Head over to the AVR facebook page for details on entry, car-sharing and a potential drink afterwards.
AVR dominate Seaton parkrun
AVRs placed two out of three in male, female and age-grade positions at Seaton parkrun on Saturday. In perfect running conditions, Debbie Whiston was first female finisher in 20.17 with Karen Eyre, third in 22.55; Ritchie Durrant was second male in 17.06 with Joel Seward third in 17.24; and Carol Austin placed second on age-grade in 80.3% for 24:09 and Ron Seward 79% for 22.52. There was a PB for Ann-Louise Gridley in 29.40, paced superbly by Keith Agland.
Over at Stopline Way junior parkrun Vicki Wraight reached her 100th volunteer milestone; an excellent achievement.
AVRs continue to enjoy their parkrun tourism with Tim and Amie Sibley scooping an I for the alphabet challenge at Isabel Trail parkrun and Mandy Harris enjoying her first ever away day parkrun at Polkemmet Country parkrun, near Bathgate, Scotland.