Kent AC’s 10,000m event



Thanks in no small measure to Adrian Lowther’s planning and organisational skills, Kent AC’s Ladywell 10,000 race promotion on Sunday turned out to be a tremendous success. The event boasted exciting racing – with two men, Paul Martelletti and Nick Torry going under 30 minutes in the “A” race, together with a marvellous run by Katrina Wooton that saw her go comfortably inside the qualifying time for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

In addition, there were a whole host of PBs for runners across the six races. This kind of event has been pioneered by Highgate Harriers, but we like to think that our event will be regarded as a welcome addition to the racing calendar – and of course it has the added spice of being south of the river!

The first race was perhaps aimed at enabling runners to get under 40 minutes. Nobody quite manged that, but the race itself had plenty of interest in the way it developed. Neil Aiken from Croydon led for a considerable period, but was reeled in by the eventual winner, Eric Karsenty from Dulwich, who showed good judgement to lay off the pace and then come through strongly in the latter half of the race. The field contained a number of Kent AC runners, the majority of whom were running their first ever track 10,000-meter race.

There were many strong runs but perhaps a special mention needs to go the serial racer, Jon Barron. Although a V60, John’s made tremendous strides in a relatively short running career. He’s also gained a bit of a reputation for having a go at any distance. In his race he was comfortably inside 43 minutes which I believe is quicker that he’s run on the road for 10K.

The second race was won in 37:18.63 by a Kent AC runner, Ben Cook. Ben got the better of two Serpentine runners who were second and third. There were six other Kent runners in the race – all of whom got inside 40 minutes. Katie Rowland from Kent ran well to record a time of 39:19.73

In the third race everybody was comfortably inside 40 minutes. The winner was Andrew Grigg from Herne Hill. Andrew won with something to spare in a time of 34:49.22. Kent had a number of runners who ran well in this race but perhaps the chief local interest lay in the battle for supremacy between our two V50s in the race, Jules Geevers and Luke Armitage. They ran together for much of the race with Jules pulling away towards the end. He had an eight second margin over Luke at the finish.


The fourth race was won by a V40, Paul Gaimster, from Victoria Park who we know from the Assembly League and Southern League fixtures. Like so many on the night, Paul ran a PB, 33: 16. 03 – a time that will have moved up the V40 rankings. In second was another runner from a club based across the river, Tim Prendergast, from Woodford Green and Essex Ladies.

The penultimate race saw race winner, Kent’s Pete Lighting, record a fabulous PB of 32.01.92 – so very close to getting under 32 minutes. This race also contained lots of Kent AC interest with a number of small personal battles going on.

In a terrific sprint finish Dame Dibaba just got the better of Che Compton. Both were close to going under 33 minutes. The two ran very different races. Dame set off close to the lead group, while Che started more conservatively before carving his way through the field. Che’s pace judgement was really impressive.

A couple of ticks behind Che was Ben Hope, another Kent V40 displaying excellent form ahead of the forthcoming relays.  Our next two runners were in a group together for quite a while – Rob Laing and Phil Sanders. In the latter stages Rob was able to push on and get the better of Phil by just over four seconds. But mention of Rob can’t go by without a reference to his matching outfit – including hat and shoes. His bright lemon look was certainly a talking point. If there’d have been a prize for best turned out runner, Rob was your man. And Phil’s impressive time has pushed him right up the V45 rankings.

Finally, this race contained an epic struggle which saw Stuart Beaney and Dave Morgan run together for almost the entire race before Stuart outsprinted Dave, and displayed a Steve Ovett-type wave as he came down the finishing straight. Post- race, basking in glory, Stuart was heard to mention that the wave was ironic – but there was perhaps a little bit of showmanship in there too.

The final race was great from a spectator’s point of view. A couple of weeks ago at the Hercules Wimbledon 5K event, Nick Torry, Serpentine, but long- time associate of Kent AC, got the better of Paul Martelletti with a finish that Nick has become renowned for. For much of our final 10k race the pair ran together. However, maybe mindful of what happened over 5k, with about a quarter of the race to go, Martelletti put in a surge and created a gap that Nick was unable to bridge.

When it looked as though Nick was clawing the gap back, the Victoria Park man, perhaps responding the news of the slight closure given by commentator Keith Newton and the crowd, pushed on again and was able to sustain his lead. Although he was never going to overhaul Martelletti, Nick did produce his trademark fast finish – a finish that saw him just get inside 30 minutes. Paul Martelletti recorded 29:48.41 with Nick recording 29:58.39. Nick’s was a fantastic time for a V40. It’s a time which apparently sees him go fifth on the all-time list for UK V40 runners. A considerable achievement when you think of the high calibre runners we’ve had over the years.

As mentioned at the outset, Katrina Wooton ran incredibly well, running well inside 32 minutes. Her big PB of 31:45.63 saw her run a time that makes her eligible for Commonwealth Games selection. The quality of the time was highlighted by Athletics Weekly, pointing out that the time she ran was the equivalent of the third European in the recent World Championships.

Kent AC’s Russell Bentley ran superbly to come home in fifth and again record a PB. For almost the entire race Russell ran together with Serpentine’s Jonathan Poole. The Serpentine runner got away near the end of the race and was rewarded with a sub 31 time. Russell just missed out on by a faction on breaking 31 minutes. But his run clearly augurs well for his upcoming Berlin Marathon appearance. I mentioned that the commentator for this race was long term friend of Kent AC, Herne Hill’s Keith Newton. A couple of others had commentated and done a more than competent job – including of course the incorrigible Mr Beaney. But I’m sure they won’t mind me saying that Keith was the consummate professional. He brought the right blend of expert knowledge and humour to the job.

Finally, I think the club should give itself a collective pat on the back for putting on such a successful event. Yes, there were a few glitches but Adrian is already looking ahead to next year with the aim of eliminating the few hitches that did arise. Special praise must go to the pace makers for doing such an excellent job, but also thanks must go to those who helped with the set up and the officiating. And last but not least – the cake makers who produced a variety of cakes worthy of the Bake Off.