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Viva Valencia

Matt Frost, Ryan Snell and David Cull travelled to Spain for the fast, flat Valencia marathon.  The sun shone and the conditions were perfect for the race which was being targeted as an Olympic qualifier because of its reputation for fast times.

Both David Cull and Matt Frost ran huge personal bests. Matt achieved a negative split and some seriously good pacing to come in 2736th in a tremendous 2:49.49, a six-minute improvement on his PB.

David Cull, paced by Ryan Snell, took a massive 21 minutes of his PB, finishing agonisingly close to sub-3 but still a brilliant 3:00.59, 5650th and 1075th M40 with Ryan given an identical time.  More than 26000 completed the race which was won by Ethiopian Sisay Lemma in a course record of 2:01.46 with the women’s crown going to Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa in 2:15.50.

Jake Smith pacing for sub-2:08 for the first 21k helped some international athletes secure the Olympic qualifying time.  Briton’s Mahamed Mahamed finishing in 2:08.42 and Phil Sesemann 2:08.49 were marginally outside the Q-time.  He then paced another 5k with GB’s Lily Partridge (2:25.12) and Clara Evans (2:25.50) who both achieved huge PBs inside the women’s Olympic qualifying time of 2:26.50.  A great day at the office for Jake supporting others.

Glorious Goodwood

Joel Seward put his disappointing half marathon in Gosport two weeks ago well and truly to bed with a huge run at the Goodwood half-marathon.  Finishing in a magnificent PB of 1:15.23 he came in fourth place from the 3000 runners who completed the 13.1m race around the famous Goodwood motor racing circuit.

Magnificent seven at the Full Monty

Seven AVRs crossed into Somerset for the Full MontyCute on Sunday.  Run in very challenging muddy conditions the 10 mile race started and finished at Ham Hill and featured some ten hills around the grounds of the beautiful Montacute Castle and Hamdon Hill woods.

First AVR home was Sue Hayes in 1:40.41 scooping the first F45 prize.  Also first in age group, Eleanor Wood finished in 1:42.46, first F55.  Andy West was second M60 finishing in 1:43.45.  AVR were placed third mixed team with Sue Hayes, Eleanor Wood, Andy West along with Haydn Boehm, who finished in 1:42.55.  Other AVRs completing the race, which was won by Chard Road Runners and Seaton parkrun favourite, Wayne Loveridge in 1:12.48, were Simon Davey in 1:45.34; Jeremy Larcombe in 2:04.56 and John Larcombe in 2:24.20.

Devon Cross Country

AVR’s James Green, Rich Hardy and Rob Collier represented the club at the Devon Cross Country held in Exeter. A very sticky and muddy 8k course was hard going with four 2k laps.

James Green finished in 31:00 with Rich Hardy in 31:40 and Rob Collier in 34:35. Full results to follow.

Scores on the doors for InStep Devon and England Masters

Following the final race in the InStep Devon series the 2023 results have now been published with overall female winner confirmed as AVR’s Kerry Board with a magnificent 492 points.  The series, which covers a range of races of varying distances and surfaces throughout Devon, consists of 13 races of which five count towards each runner’s final score.

Kerry also retained her F45 crown and joining her as age group winners from AVR are Suzi Blackett, F35; Ron Seward M70 and Eleanor Wood, who was joint F65 winner.  AVR also took third place in both the Men’s and Women’s team competitions.  Prizes are usually awarded at the first event of the InStep Devon calendar next year, likely to be the First Chance 10k in January.

After her Brighton 10k result last month, Carol Austin received confirmation this week of her England Athletics F60 masters selection for the Great Birmingham Run in May 2024.


Seaton parkrun

It was a freezing morning in Seaton but, after an early morning course check, the event was good to go and the 220 finishers included a contingent of students and teachers from Woodroffe School , coordinated by AVR’s Emilie Brock, which was a joy to see.

AVR swept the board with the first three female finishers: Debbie Whiston in 20.42; Lucy Watkinson in 21:48 and Kerry Board in 22:30.  Pam Goddard smashed out a time of 28:35, a PB for the second week running clearly enjoying the extra pebbles caused by a slight course change due to ice patches.  Congratulations to Shirley Salter for her 50th milestone.

Most of all a huge thanks to all the volunteers this week cheering and supporting in those freezing temperatures.

On their travels, Alan Morbey completed Porthcawl parkrun while Aileen and Peter Heal took part in the new Five Arches parkrun in Somerset.

Westdown Wander

A baker’s dozen of AVRs tackled the challenging Westdown Wander approx. 10-mile multi-terrain race on Sunday.  Organised by Exmouth Harriers the race had a different finish with the after-effects of Storm Ciaran still causing problems.  With the recent rain it was also vey muddy as the course left Exmouth on the coastal path up and down at Budleigh and then back inland through Littleham.

First AVR home was Kerry Board who was fourth female in an excellent 1:19.16, also second F45.  Eleanor Wood was just behind in 1:22.09, a brilliant ninth woman and first F65.  Ron Seward picked up first M70 for his 1:29.18, 53rd overall while Ann Coston secured first F55 for her 1:34.38 finish.  The full results are here: with 120 completing the race.

The race was the final event in the InStep Devon series; results to follow next week on this.

Seaton parkrun

It was a very cold but a beautifully sunny day on Saturday; so cold that a slight course amendment was needed to avoid some lethal ice at the Hideaway end of the Esplanade.

First finisher was AVR’s Joel Seward in 17:15 with Rich Hardy in third in 17:54.  Debbie Whiston was second female in 20:40.  The extra pebble sections, added to compensate for the shorter Esplanade route, caused no trouble to Max Richardson or Pam Goddard who both secured shiny PBs in 18:32 and 29:48 respectively.  Rob Collier was second on age-grade with 81% for his 18:43.

Congratulations and a big thanks to Louise Rawlins who reached her 100 volunteer milestone and to Haydn Boehm for his first outing as Run Director, including navigating the course change!

Out and about, Jake Smith was preparing for his pacing duties at Valencia next week with a first finisher place at Cardiff parkrun in 14:32; Tim and Amie Sibley took part in Porthcawl parkrun; Dave Hutton and Sue Chambers ran Clevedon Salthouse parkrun while Jo Orsman visited Sharpham Road Playing Fields parkrun and smashed out a 5k PB of 26:32.

ColyDog supports Children in Need

AVR’s Coly Dog run is now a regular event in the club calendar to raise money for Children in Need, gain extra kudos for impressive Strava art and remember Tim and Amie Sibley’s collie, Rosie.  Run in Friday’s pouring rain it was a very wet affair but was still enjoyed by 30+ AVR members with nearly £300 raised for BBC’s Children in Need.

Blustery Brighton

Carol Austin and Diane Newton battled gusts of more than 40 mph at the Brighton 10k on Sunday.  Starting and finishing in Hove with the route following the Esplanade westwards, runners then turned around and headed back past the start towards Brighton pier.  At just over 5k the route turned again and runners were met with a fearsome headwind through to 9k before a welcome final turn for the home straight.

Finishing in 48:42, Carol Austin was 743rd and fourth F60.  She now awaits to see if this is sufficient for an England Masters 10k place to add to the half marathon place secured already.  Diane Newton was 1978th and tenth F70 in 1:18.57.  More than 2000 runners finished the race.

Gale-force Gosport

Just along the coast, Matt Clist and Joel Seward also battled the high wind in the Gosport Half Marathon with Matt finishing in an excellent 19th place and first M40 in 1:17.02.  Joel struggled in the final few miles but still finished in 1:24.37, 83rd from the 1200 who competed the 13.1 miles around the marina and out and back on the esplanade.

Starcross Shuffle

Organised by Winding Paths and anything but a shuffle this is a looped race where runners can complete distances from 10k to an ultra and beyond.  Georgie Ryan completed three laps (32.27km) in 4.04:38 which is her longest run since she started running a year ago – tremendous progress.

Corey Schultz did five laps of the circuit, which takes in the Exe Estuary, Powderham Castle and Turf Locks, racking-up some 34.05 miles in 6:42:27.

Extra muddy Dirt Half

Angela Kerr returned to her old stomping ground in Leighton Buzzard to complete the Dirt Half, an off-road half marathon that as per its name is known for its muddy terrain but also stunning views, beautiful woods and picturesque canalside paths.  After all this week’s rain it really was a muddy one this year with Angela finishing in 300th place, 2:19.33, second F65.  Some 400 completed the challenge.


Seaton parkrun

Following last week’s seventh birthday celebrations at Seaton parkrun it was a quieter affair this week with just 150 finishers.

AVR took the first three female positions with Debbie Whiston in 20.59, Kerry Board in 22:46 and Lucy Watkinson in 23:13.

On the road, Kevin Feeney and Sarah Shepley celebrated Kevin’s 70th birthday, and new age category, by taking part in Bushy parkrun, their previous home run and, of course, “where it all began”; the first ever parkrun took place there back in 2004.

Tony Smith and Sam Miller took part in Dulwich parkrun, a fast three-lapper illustrated by Tony running his first sub-20 minute 5k since 1999!

Bec Davey completed her name challenge securing the missing V by running Victoria Dock parkrun with Emma Richardson and Sam Tooze.