Muddy fun and a world record!
Please see this week’s update for Kent AC members – 11/02/24–
KENT AC NEWS BULLETIN
11 February 2024
The last Surrey league cross country race of the season was a true classic, ankle deep mud slowing but not demoralising Kent runners, with 32 men and 11 women plus several juniors making the trip to West Horsley and ending with some personal achievements and solid team performances in the absence of some key runners. Full report below.
For some people, age is just a number. For others, it’s an opportunity to step up an age grade and break records. The remarkable Clare Elms set a World record and a British record, and nearly another World record, all in a week! See the full report of her achievements below.
On a less superhuman level, two of our juniors travelled up to Sheffield for the National Junior Indoor Championships, and had highly creditable performances. Tess Hepple ran the U15 60m hurdles, and came 3rd in her heat, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the final – she would have come 2nd and qualified in another heat. She ran a PB of 9.32s, and gained excellent experience. Jack Jones competed in the U17 long jump and came 6th in the final with a PB jump of 6.35m. Congratulations to both, and to their coaches, Miguel and Dan Eliasson.
Closer to home, a few Kent runners (and lots of support) ran the Victoria Park 10k this morning. Lisa Jane Day and Jemma Day ran just outside 40 minutes (1st and 2nd VW35), while Ivona Gongolova ran a PB of 43:38 (1st VW40)
As cross country season comes towards a close, with only the nationals in Telford remaining, and the road season starts up, we have a small semi-regular feature on non-club road races you may be interested in running.
There’s also notification of the summer track athletics league fixtures, and notice that our men’s track manager, Ian Ellwood, is stepping down, creating a vacancy. If you’re interested, please get in touch.
We have a couple of parkrun takeovers coming up – at Hilly Fields next week, please come and run or volunteer, and at Dulwich on 2nd March, where we’re taking on pacing duties. It was a big success last year, do sign up if you can make it.
Plus a reminder that the 2024 annual track pass is available to purchase on the sumsup shop.
Will Pitt won the January sweepstake with the bonus ball of 46.
SURREY LEAGUE #4 WEST HORSLEY
With many of the men’s regular all stars out of action we all knew it was going to take a momentous effort to cling onto their 3rd place standing in the league. But firstly a huge shoutout all 32 men, who each individually ran out their skin for the team yesterday in tough conditions close off the Surrey League in style.
Returning to form, it was Owen Hind leading the men’s team out with a season’s best placing of 22nd. Rob Sesemann, Matt Speed, Kurt Wilkinson and Ben Clarke closely followed, packing tightly and pushing each other forward through the mud, returning in 24th, 35th, 38th and 44th respectively. James Boustead and Jonathan Tipper continued their season’s XC battle, crossing the line in 54th and 59th but it was always going to be the final few scorers who’d decide the teams fate and final positioning in the league…
…and in true testament to this club’s outstanding strength in depth they demonstrated. Neil Phillips and Joe Vis tenaciously battled through the sludge, returning home in 80th and 84th. But it was Sam Dames who exhibited his mud pedigree to make the scoring 10 for the first time with a monumental effort, closing in 85th and cementing the teams 4th place on the day and 3rd place in the final league standings!
Other notable call-outs go to Ian Ellwood finishing in a season’s best SL position of 91st (jumping nearly 100 places from the previous fixture), Benjamin Parker for his SL debut and special mentions to both Jon Tipper and Tom Sloan for their 2nd place overall finishes in the final v40 and v50 individual standings – seriously impressive results in one of the country’s most competitive leagues.
With the women’s team also taking a big hit by illness, our regular A team were all unwell/injured/competing indoors. Despite this, we still managed to field 2 teams, with the A team finishing in 18th and B team finishing in 27th.
The women’s A team featured a number of debutants: First home for Kent was birthday girl Parris Williams in 69th, next was Sally Urquhart in 92nd, third was Nicola Cartlidge in 108th, fourth home for Kent was Sydney Nunamaker in 111th and closing out the A team was our co-President Victoria Buck in 117th.
The B scoring team was finished out with Zoe Gaffen in 183rd and Annabelle Hadlow closed out the women in 187th.
It was not the strong finish we had hoped for, after entering the season with high hopes of a medal but it shows the strength and depth of Kent AC women that we fielded at least 2 teams for every fixture. We will look onwards and upwards for next season of league cross country racing and hope to have more consistency across all events and age groups to return to the medal battle next season.
Senior report by Sarah Crichton
The Kent AC juniors rounded off a consistent Surrey League Season with great improvement from the early races and previous years.
Alice Hales was the first to grace the mud. She finished off her first Surrey League season as an U15 in style by fending off a late attack from u17 Belgrave runner to finish 53rd.
The u15 boys were up next. George Searle rounded off his best ever cross-country country season by being first home. He has made remarkable strides since the turn of the year. He was closely followed by Dylan Sandhu. Both scored their highest finishes of the year in 29th and 31st. Stalwarts Lukas Stickland and Harry Clough followed in 58th and 69th.
Junior report by Ian Ellwood
WORLD CLASS CLARE!
The formidable Clare Elms has had quite a start to the year.
On 28 January she ran the 3000m indoors in Sheffield in 10:48.14, missing the W60 world record by 0.01s.
A few days later on 2 February she ran the Ealing mile in 5:33, which beat the British W60 road mile record. She now holds the British age group records for the mile at W45, W50, W55 and W60 (plus the 5 miles at W55) Masters road records
Then on 7 February at Lee Valley she broke the W60 world record for the indoor mile with 5:30.89s, smashing the previous record by almost 13 seconds. She also holds indoor world age group records at the 1500m (W50) and the 3000m (W55) Athletics Weekly report
Clare battling with an athlete 47 years her junior (pic credit Mark Hookway)
Truly inspirational to us all, young and old!
SUMMER FIXTURES AND A JOB VACANCY
The club has a vacancy for the men’s track manager.
Ian Ellwood has decided to step down from the post. He has done a superb job, (along with Vic, then Liv and now Sofia) to develop our Southern Athletics League team. To steer it through covid, a promotion, a steady mid table position, bringing in new talented and young athletes, and leaving a springboard to great things. He will stay involved as competitor, coach, motivator, talent spotter and entertainer.
The focus of the job is the SAL team and the work is shared with the women’s manager, Sofia. The job is a mix of publicity, encouragement, team selection, entries, declarations, travel, on the day choreography and juggling, checking results and praise. It’s also a committee position, representing the world of t&f and the chance of shaping club policy and direction more generally.
This is a role open to all club members, so if you’re interested in taking this on, please contact Phil Marsden, our club sec, with the name of a proposer and seconder by 29 Feb. The response will be reviewed at the March committee meeting and an appointment or contest arranged.
The fixtures for the SAL and KYAL are
Southern Athletics League
May 18 Dartford
June 15 Thurrock
July 14 St Albans
August 17 Ware
Kent Young Athletes league
May 5 Norman Park
June 22 Medway
July 28 Norman Park
August 10 Dartford
ROAD RACES WE LIKE
Have you ever seen a roundup of races and considered that you might have liked to have run it, if you’d known? Club entry races are well trailed, but there are plenty of road races that are popular with Kent athletes, at which you may find some friendly faces to run and travel with. Many of these are used as part of training of April marathons
25 February – Brighton Half – half a dozen Kent runners did this last year. Can be windy, but fun!
3 March – Paddock Wood Half – very popular with Kent runners every year, last year 26 travelled down.
3 March – Cambridge Half – there are a few Kent runners headed to this one this year.
Finding races that bridge the gap between the half and full marathons isn’t easy, so here are a few 20 milers that Kent runners have enjoyed:
10 March – Oundle 20
24 March – Hillingdon 20 – well established 20 miler
24 March – Thames Riverside 20 – popular
In addition to the above, there is the Milton Keynes Festival of Running on 24 March. There are 5k, 10k, HM and 20 mile races being staged, and several Kent runners are planning to travel up there.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, there are of course lots of other events at this time of year.
We will try to update you throughout the year of upcoming events that we know Kent runners like to enter, such as the North Downs run in June.
Our co-President Len Reilly has floated an idea for a couple of challenges for the summer, if we can get enough participants.
Welsh 3000’ peaks in a day.
This is a tough day out taking in all 15 summits over 3000’ in Snowdonia (Eryri as it is now). Its 24 miles summit-to-summit and maybe 30 road to road, with about 4000m of up and down, some of it over rough rocky steep loose terrain, and no guarantee of good weather.
I’m already committed to this on weekend 29/30 June.
I have inexpensive characterful basic bunkhouse accommodation for up 13 people and perfectly located for this. It’ll need cars to get there and a couple of supporters to take people to the start and to minister supplies at the road crossings.
More here: https://www.welsh3000s.co.uk/
London Loop in 24 hours
The London Loop is a 150 mile (poorly) signposted walk starting (or finishing) in Erith and finishing (or starting) in Purfleet and following paths roughly inside the M25. It breaks down into anything between 16 and 24 sections, their ends reachable by public transport, mostly trains. The challenge would be to do it as a relay in a single 24 hour push. A quick calculation gives an average moving speed of 10 min miles and my experience of doing bits of it shows that’s not easy, and that’s in daylight and for some of the time knowing where I am. It’ll need good planning, good navigation, extensive use of Oyster cards, a short night and occasional use of headtorches. And maybe some route reccing before.
We would need to start in the middle of the day to take advantage of the 24 hour trains that serve west London and the easy night time navigation along the canals.
Weekends of 22/23 June or13/14 or 27/28 July are possibilities, or even midweek.
If there were lots of interest we could have one squad going clockwise and the other the other way.
JOIN THE CREW
17th February – a volunteering take-over of Hilly Fields parkrun. Pink hi-vis is the new navy blue.
2nd March – pacing at Dulwich parkrun to reap a raft of PBs.
If you’re happy to volunteer and/or pace, could you please complete this sheet with your name, email, and parkrun barcode number.
For the pacing please add the fastest and slowest times you’d be happy to pace – they’re looking for a wide range of abilities (down to around 36 minutes), so more the merrier!
For more information, contact Richard Giles.
RACE DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
A summary of dates for your diary
24 – National XC Champs – Weston Park, Shropshire
16 – British Masters XC Champs – Corwen, N Wales
24 – Southern Relays – Milton Keynes
6 – National Road Relays – Sutton Coldfield
21 – London Marathon
5 – KYAL Norman Park
18 – Southern Athletics League – Dartford
15 – Southern Athletics League – Thurrock
22 – KYAL – Medway
14 – Southern Athletics League – St Albans
28 – KYAL – Norman Park
3- 10k Sri Chimnoy Battersea Park (club champs)
10 – KYAL – Dartford
17 – Southern Athletics League – Ware
1 – Big Half (club champs)
LET’S MAKE IT OFFICIAL
Athletics needs more officials, and volunteering in this way is a wonderful way to give back to the club.
This is a great opportunity to help get club events’ results on Power of 10. And it’s fun.
Our SAL performances not only need athletes, but also qualified officials – so you can directly contribute to our success! Every qualification counts!
It’s a straightforward process that the club will pay for, with more detail on available courses here.
There will be in person training for officials at Medway Park on March 24, to take people from beginner to level 1. Several kent members are likely to travel to this. More details to come.
Please contact Jacqueline Francis for more info.
It would be great to see a few more people put their names down to help out!
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To be added to the rota simply email Jacqueline or Laurie
We only need each track attendee to volunteer a couple of times a year to spread the responsibility fairly.
T&Cs for the track pass draw:
All volunteers for the current month will be added into the hat for a draw each month.
The winner will win a free pass for the next calendar month.
Names will be automatically drawn from https://namepicker.net/ (or similar alternative)
The winner can either chose to:
use their free pass within a calendar year
allow their free pass to roll down to another volunteer
annual pass holders can nominate another club member if they cannot make use of the pass themselves
No refunds/discounts will be provided in place of the free monthly pass.
Volunteers will only be eligible to win a pass once every three months.
TRACK, TRACK, TRACK
Buy your track pass here.
The usual track times are:
Tuesday 17:30 – 20:30
Thursday 18:00 – 20:30
Sunday 09:00 – 11:30
Please note that individuals are permitted to do their own sessions during club opening times, but coached group sessions continue to take priority.
Track Pass – Juniors
Please purchase your £5 junior monthly track pass in advance here. When purchasing the track pass can parents/guardians please enter the athlete’s name when completing the transaction
Ladywell Arena now has new opening hours dedicated to the public. While during these times the Kent AC track pass is not valid, members can pay for an individual session.
Session times are:
Monday: 07:00 -15:00
Tuesday – Thursday: 1300 -1700
Friday: 07:00 – 15:00
Saturday – Sunday: 09:00-15:00
Adult resident: £2.70
Adult non resident: £3.00
Junior (U16): £1.30
The Kent AC track pass continues to be required for training on Tues/Thurs evenings and Sunday mornings.
Track staff have encouraged people to double check the opening hours before their training session, as they may occasionally be closed for school sport days and football friendlies. Hours can be checked here. This will likely suit members who can’t make training sessions but would like to train in the morning/lunchtime/evening.
Pay as you go fees can either be paid via cash to the desk or using the Better app (note: staff are working to add the sessions to the app).
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