SOUTH OF THE THAMES SENIOR RACE, ALDERSHOT, DEC 16 2017
KENT AC WOMEN STRIKE GOLD AGAIN AND THERE’S A VINTAGE PERFORMANCE FROM JOHN GILBERT
Following on from their win in the Junior South of the Thames race last month, Kent AC women did the double and secured victory in the Senior race at Aldershot on Saturday. The men, facing very stiff opposition on this occasion, couldn’t match their victory in the Junior race. Nevertheless, the team secured bronze medals, and there was an outstanding run from John Gilbert in the men’s race.
For those like me who’ve watched many of John’s races, this was reminiscent of his running of a few years ago when he was such a dominant force over the country. He won the race in never say die style. Pushing the pace in unrelenting fashion, almost from the word go. I say almost, as at the start spectators were treated to the sight of Dame Dibaba haring off at an incredible pace. There had been pre- race rumours that perhaps Dame might have a more restrained, conservative start. However, the rumours were clearly misplaced as on the day he shot off almost quicker than ever. After around 400 metres Dame nearly veered off course but got back on track when he was joined by John and a group of around five other runners. Soon afterwards though John took control of the race. He forced an early lead, and pushed on to have a significant gap between him and the chasers for almost the entire race. And it should be said that in the chasing pack there were some class acts, including the likes of Aldershot’s Johnny Hay and Tonbridge’s George Duggan.
As mentioned, in the team stakes the men faced extremely strong opposition. Jordan Weaver, sporting a cap for the duration of the race, (he can get away with it) was our next man in after John. Reportedly, Jordan hadn’t really trained since the disappointment of going up to Telford the previous week, only to have the weather force the race cancellation. He was just outside the top twenty in this quality field.
As sometimes happens with Dame, after the fast and furious start he can go backwards -only to surge back up the field. There was a bit of that in this race, but he had the added problem of experiencing a stitch. It forced him to stop briefly and perform his own brand of calisthenics for a while.
The prospect of a Kent AC runner passing him spurred him on and he went on to finish twenty fifth in the race. Not far behind Dame were our fourth and fifth scorers in the six to score, Pete Lighting (28th) and Neil Phillips (29th). Pete, who now has some impressive marathon times to his name, looks to be getting stronger on the country these days. While it was pleasing to see Neil, who had such a great season last year, having an improved run and feeling more positive post-race. Then just outside the top thirty, (31) was Ben Harding. Having six runners in by 31 is pretty good scoring. However, as mentioned earlier, Tonbridge, but in particular Aldershot had really strong teams out. Having said that, we again showed the strength in depth of the club as we had a ‘B’ team that finished seventh and a ‘C’ team, tenth, out of the eighteen clubs that closed in. Moreover, we were also second in the 12 to score.
Our women created another little piece of Kent AC history. To do the double, that is winning both Junior and Senior race is quite an achievement. But the significant thing here was that composition of the team at Aldershot was so different from the one that won at Beckenham. To win races with quite different teams clearly demonstrates the growing strength in depth of the club. Continuing her come back, Amy led the way with a strong fourth place in the women’s race. Looks like she’s getting fitter as she was closer to Georgie Bruinvels, the Aldershot international, than she was at Beckenham. Our next three scorers were all inside the top twenty. Sarah Hanley ran strongly to come home in 15th spot. Not far behind Sarah was Catherine Kandie (17th) having another fine run. Then Victoria Buck (19th), who showed her versatility in the summer covering numerous track events, proved again that she’s no slouch at cross country. The final counters for the team were Eliza Grant (24th) and Claire Sutton (35th). One of the interesting facets of this race is that like the 5- mile team race, men and women run together. This can lead to little personal duels like the one Eliza had on the last lap with fellow Kent AC runner, Paul Crompton. Eliza may have just lost out to Paul but her 24th place in the Women’s race was to be commended. As was the run of Claire Sutton who had a terrific run and closed the team in.
Finally, incorporated into the usual Kent AC post- race celebrations was a stag do for the estimable Tim Lawrence. A number of the party had donned specially commissioned T-shirts with a picture of a youthful Tim embossed on the front. Fair to say the suggestions as to the various people he resembled in the youthful pic were less than flattering. But then I guess many of us would have pictures from those early years that induce a bit of mirth.
Your correspondent has semi- retired from serious boozing, as well as serious running, so didn’t get very far on the pub run. I’ve no doubt people can catch up on social media.
Next up on the running front is the Kent County and then we do battle in the Surrey League again.
SOT Senior Aldershot
South of Thames Senior Championship
at Aldershot on Sat 16th December 2017
1st John Gilbert 36 58
21st Jordan Weaver 39 40
25th Dame Dibaba 40 12 Teams : 6 to score
28th Peter Lighting 40 18 1st Aldershot Farnham & D 53
29th Neil Phillips 40 25 2nd Tonbridge 107
31st Ben Harding 40 29 3rd KENT AC 135
39th Jonathan Tipper 41 25 32nd Dave Morgan 40 31 – non scorer
42nd James Bowler 41 34
45th Daniel Pettit 41 45 Teams : 12 to score
48th Phil Sanders 41 50 1st Aldershot Farnham & D 293
54th Tim Lawrence 42 24 2nd KENT AC 422
59th Ben Cook 43 11
64th Stuart Beaney 43 21
65th Calum Fraser 43 25
68th Daniel Ansell 43 59
85th Ian Ellwood 46 08
102nd Tim Sharp 48 17
107th Roger Beardsworth 48 46
131th Paul Crompton 52 26
MORE SUCCESS FOR KENT AC ATHLETES AT THE WEEKEND
There were some tremendous individual performances from Kent AC athletes
at the weekend. Some of you will have seen the tweet on our site where there
is a YouTube clip of Sean Fitzpatrick winning the San Remo Marathon. Sean
recorded a time of 2:42:39. By the looks of it conditions were tough. The clip
indicated it was wet and miserable. Also venturing abroad – but to Lanzarote
was Che Compton. Che, a member of the previous week's gold winning team at
the Kent Masters, was second in the Lanzarote marathon in an impressive 2:
36:27. Meanwhile back on home soil, Ben Hope, who had such an exciting race
when he came third at the Kent Masters, was third in the South of England
Masters Championships, at Horspath, Oxford. We've previously had great
success in this race with Chris Greenwood winning back in 2015.Unfortunately
on this occasion there was no team to back Ben up. To get an individual medal
in this race is quite an achievement. The two runners ahead of Ben are high
quality athletes, Howard Bristow and Chris Smith, who won the race.
This weekend sees a contingent of Kent AC runners heading for Aldershot –
this time for the longer, Senior South of the Thames race. A report on the race
will be posted next week.
Photo by Barry Cornelius.
KENT COUNTY VETERANS’ CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, CENTRAL PARK DARTFORD, 2 DECEMBER 2017
Kent AC men and women came away from the Kent County Veterans Championships with a record haul of medals. At this year’s Championships, held for the second year running in Central Park, Dartford, we had both individual and team winners.
On a crisp cold day, on an almost bone dry course, the men’s V 50s started proceedings. At the front end of this race there was real quality. Fresh from his recent victory at the Master’s international race, Tonbridge’s Ben Reynolds strode imperiously to victory. Unlike last year, however, it wasn’t a Tonbridge one two as Darrell Smith of Sevenoaks got the better of another of Tonbridge’s international runners, Graham Saker.
Although we weren’t going to be able to compete with the likes of Tonbridge for the gold medals, hopes were high that we might claim a team medal of another description and we did – it was bronze for third team. Old maestro Len Reilly, who always seems to run well in these events, was our first runner home in tenth.
Our second scorer was Jules Gevers. A few weeks back when Jules was running some impressive Parkrun times it looked as though he might have been our first scorer. However, Jules, who finished 16th, was clearly suffering in the latter stages. It seems his reported sinus infection was taking its toll and he did well to finish as high as he did.
The third scorer for the team, despite a nasty fall, was the reliable Luke Armitage (18th). Post- race Luke gave a detailed description and site visit to the offending rabbit hole – the cause of his nasty tumble. Also running well for the club in this race were Mick Barlow, Paul Crompton and Neil Gordon Orr.
The second race of the day again saw a big field that comprised of the seriously old men and the various categories of veteran women. Unlike the men, at these championships the women have a V35-44 race so it meant just turned 35 Amy Clements was running. Although it was only her second come back race it was perhaps unsurprising that Amy ran out the winner. Amy was ably assisted by Jen Smith (4th) and Victoria Buck (11th). Their scoring meant they secured gold medals.
In the next category – the women’s 45-54 – we were again to medal, but this time it was bronze. Ali Farrell came in fourth in this section and was well backed up by Kate Williams (17th), and Sarah Dowling (23rd). Then just as in the younger women’s race, in the 55-64 category we had both the winner and the winning team. Nicky Hayes was a fine winner of the race and was joined in the winning team by Carol Grady and Annabelle Hadlow. In recent years Annabelle’s been a great servant to the club, turning out in countless races, so it was great to see her get a ‘proper’ medal.
Also running in this combined race were the V60 men. Unfortunately, the competitive performances of Julian Spencer Wood and Bernie Hutchinson were undermined somewhat in the team stakes by Andy Gardiner’s (your reporter’s) rather miserable run. A cold, but more likely a distinct lack of training, led to the rather feeble run. Still at least we had a team out and so managed to have a team in all the age categories.
From a spectator’s point of view, the final race – the V40’s – was definitely the race of the day. A really absorbing contest at the front end. Even without the mighty Greenwood, we knew we were going to be strong in the team race. The big question for many of us though was could we still have a winner in Chris Greenwood’s absence. For much of the race it looked as though we could, as Ben Hope ran a superb race. He looked calm and confident for most of the race, but in a dramatic run-in, he was edged out into third. For the majority of the race Ben was leading and seemingly pushing the pace. Julian Rendall, of Tonbridge, the eventual winner was by his side for much of the race and occasionally he would also put in a testing burst.
Also with them, but often a few metres further back, was last year’s winner, Blackheath’s Alex Gibbins. In the exciting finale, Julian Rendall just managed to get a slight lead over Ben and then put in a surge that got him a bit more distance. But then, just as it looked as though Ben would have to settle for second, Alex Gibbins produced an incredible finishing burst that saw him go by Ben and nearly catch Rendall. However, as well as a very hard-earned bronze medal, Ben also helped secure a convincing team victory. His three fellow scorers were Rob Laing (7th), Che Compton (8th) and Phil Sanders (9th). It made great spectating to see our three guys fight it out to see who could come out on top. In the closing stages it looked as though Rob was going to come in sixth. He’d had a bit of a battle on the last lap with a very strong Thanet runner. However, similar to Gibbins, the Thanet runner possessed a formidable finish that squeezed out Rob. There was also a really noteworthy run from Will Pitt, now a V45. Will was nineteenth in a quality field.
As well as the medallists, and others mentioned, it should also be said that there were host of other fine runs from Kent AC runners who turned out in force for this race. Full details can be found on the Kent County Athletics site
So it was another excellent day for the club, rounded off for many of those at the Championships by a trip later in the day to Kent AC Christmas party. This was another record in terms of attendance. As always, a big thank you must go to Ted Aston for the work he puts into making this such a successful event.
Kent Vets Champs 2017
Pauls Flickr Photos: