Back on Thursday 7th September 35 Harriers gathered for the final round of the 2023 handicap series. As ever, the club extends its thanks to Helen Terry for organising the series and sorting the fact from the fiction and the downright lies in people’s handicap entreaties. The full results of the series will remain under wraps until the prize giving at the AGM next week but what is clear is that Roly was found out this year and punished accordingly.
In the final race Tom Langdown managed to get a very dubious handicap past the committee to turn in a suspiciously fast time, showing that he has trained well through the summer for the upcoming marathons in Boston and Chicago. The spreadsheet I saw wouldn’t load properly but it looks like the field was headed by Chris Loake, Alison Scott and Andrea Beattie, great to see the recent Learn to Run graduates taking a full part in the club’s activities.
Back in August the Terry family, Andy and Helen and their children, were on their annual summer holiday in Derbyshire (which was why the “August” round of the handicap didn’t take place until September). They combined their family holiday with the Eyam Fell Race, just over 10k of trails and roads with some steep ups and downs thrown in. Helen said afterwards, “I really enjoyed that, lost at least 4 mins queuing for styles so really happy with the time.” Helen finished in 272nd place in 1:14:55 while Andy finished a few minutes ahead in 1:07:30, in 215th overall position.
There wasn’t much racing action over the weekend of 16th and 17th September but there was the usual sprinkling of Gade Valley Harriers around the various local parkruns. A group of Harriers including Matt Ahsby, Kim Morgan and Roly Kendal posed for a photograph at Gadebridge Park, with Michael Linden providing the commentary: “Well done Matt Ashby setting a new club record at Gadebridge parkrun this morning, 17:35. Well done Kim Morgan, first female and a new PB. Also a PB for Roland Kendall who paced Matt for the first 200 metres.”
Early on Saturday morning Chris Reason set out on the rather grandly named Centurion Chiltern Wonderland 50. This is a 50 mile trail race around some countryside west of Henley on Thames through lots of places that I’ve never heard of that sound like they belong in an unwritten Thomas Hardy novel. Starting near Goring on Thames the route included Gatehampton, Collins End, Tokers Green, Stoners Wood, Mapledurham, Christmas Common and Mongewell Wood before returning to finish in Goring on Thames. Chris completed the 50 miles in a scarcely believable 8:53:42 in 17th overall position.
Perhaps the performance of the last few weeks, however, belonged to Ines Trent. She has been training through the summer for the Tring Ultra (September 23rd) and been improving her fitness and speed steadily. With a couple of weeks to go before her ultra marathon she decided to run the New Forest Marathon on September 10th as her final long training run.
She took the 26.2 miles easily (as easily as it is possible to do so anyway), stopping to take photographs and making sure she enjoyed herself. She said, “It was such a lovely run. New forest is stunning. It was a well organised race and everyone on course was so friendly. Had a bit of a mare getting here due to traffic but I loved the run so it was worth it.” She completed her third marathon in the highly respectable time of 5:45:32, finishing in 670th overall position.