Bright blue skies and brilliant Autumn sunshine greeted the seventh running of this race over a classic British road racing distance on the quiet, pretty country lanes on the Hampshire/Berkshire borders. The weather made for ideal conditions for the 161 athletes, a mix of club members and unattached runners, who took part.
The mens’ race was won by a margin of a full 3 minutes by the apparently unbeatable Matthew King, an unattached runner from Winchester, in 55:42. Congratulations to Matthew on winning this event for the 6th consecutive year. There was a close tussle for 2nd and 3rd places, Andrew Griggs IUnattached) just getting the better of James Craggs (Newbury AC) by 4 seconds. The Vets prizes were won by Robert Storey (Eynsham RR, M40, 62.01), Michael Hickey (Unattached, M50, 69.22) and Trevor Hooker (M60, Unattached, 70.27).
The ladies’ race was closer than it might have been as the winner, Elizabeth Smith of Westbury Harriers, went off course just after 8 miles and ran about half a mile over the distance! Nevertheless, she got back on track to pip Jackie Perrin of Reading Roadrunners by 2 places and 7 seconds in 65.22 – a great performance. The 3rd lady, also of Reading Roadrunners, was Lesley Whiley in 68.35. The ladies’ Vet prizes were won by Denise Bridges (Eynsham RR, F35, 71.02), Kay Trinder (Woking AC, F45, 68.57) and Kate Williamson (Eynsham RR, F55, 75.26).
The team event was comfortably won by local club Reading Roadrunners, their team of Andy Blenkinsop, Alex Harris and Jackie Perrin finishing 7th, 9th, and 13th for a total score of 29.
The event was generously sponsored by Alton Sports who provided goody-bags, winners’ prizes and spot prizes, Griffins Business Advisers, who provided race entry forms, and Fyffes, who donated bananas to go in the goody-bags. Alton Sports also set up a stall selling sports goods – we hope they did some business. We guess they did as they expressed their intent to sponsor our next event – the Xmas XC on 2 Dec 2012. Excellent on-site catering was provided by Tim Shaw of Cafe2U.
We have had lots of positive feedback praising the organisation, venue, facilities, course, marshalling etc so we hope that many (or all) of this year’s participants will be back. We also hope that reading this report will encourage others to try out this friendly local event organised by runners for runners.