Caution! Imaginary crocodiles … BAC’s Ed slays 145-mile epic

Biggleswade Athletic Club’s endurance expert Ed Jones went more than the extra mile at the gruelling Kennet & Avon Canal Race – a 145-mile slog that’s the rough equivalent of five and a half consecutive marathons.

Having warmed up with June’s Norfolk 100k Ultra Marathon – a relative breeze at 62 miles – Ed arrived for a 6am start in Bristol, with 45 hours to complete the course.

“There are checkpoints with food and water every 15-20 miles,” said Ed, “so you only need to carry enough to get you between these. You are not allowed to be stationary for more than 40 minutes, so while you can sit down for a rest, and possibly a very quick nap.”

And they’re off! Photo courtesy of

Arriving for the start in grey and blustery conditions alongside 75 other starters, Ed went over his gameplan: “I adopted my usual approach of treating it as a nice run in the countryside, and just to focus on getting to the next checkpoint. I settled into a steady comfortable pace, picking off a few slower runners and chatting to a few others.”

Having left the city centre for the more picturesque Avon Valley, after the initial marathon distance of 26.2 miles Ed was well-placed. “It came up in about four hours, and I was surprised to find myself in ninth place – which suggested I was going too fast!

“I went through Checkpoint 2 and then on to the spectacular Caen Hill Locks – where 29 locks raise the canal 237 feet in two miles. Checkpoint 3 brought us into the Vale of Pewsey, with the downs of Wiltshire rising impressively either side of the canal. My pace was beginning to slow now, with more walking breaks, and my knees getting a little sore at the base of the kneecap, but I was through 50 miles in just over 9 hours, and got a bit of a second wind as I went through halfway in under 15 hours.”

The unique nature of the event made for a great sense of camaraderie among the competitors. “Although it is a ‘race’, for everyone except a few at the sharp end of the field the goal is to finish, and positions are really not that important. People therefore tended to hold gates open for each other, call someone back if they’re seen heading the wrong way, and pause for a chat and to check everything is OK.”

“Beyond halfway Saturday evening was starting to draw in and the drizzle was turning into more persistent rain. We were approaching the outskirts of Reading.” The need for camaraderie also became apparent. “The field was really strung out – I would only see one other runner in the next 10 hours – and my mood was starting to dip. Suddenly in the dusk I caught an electric blue flash, and a kingfisher darted from some trees, and flew along the canal. It was a magical moment, gave me a real boost and made me resolve not to give up.”

Having successfully negotiated Reading’s late-night revellers, Ed picked up the Thames Path, where the gravity of the endeavour started to hit home. “A combination of the darkness and fatigue leads to hallucinations. I always see bridges across the canal which turn out just to be overhanging trees. And the usual suspects are branches and logs that look like snakes or crocodiles.”

At Henley, dawn was breaking and with it came a significant milestone – the 100 mile point. “It was nice to get the scenery back, and this was some of the nicest of the whole race as we followed the river with the wooded slopes of the Chilterns rising steeply on either side, interspersed with picture postcard villages and towns. The pain in my knees was making running difficult now, and I was having to work hard to make myself even do short bursts.

“I arrived at Bray, 110 miles, at about 11am on Saturday morning – just as the crew there were cooking some bacon. They offered scrambled eggs as well. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything better.

“I took the opportunity of the food stop to change into some dry shoes and socks, although by now I had pretty much given up on the running. Running wasn’t appreciably faster than my walking pace, hurt a lot, and I was wary of causing more damage – so resigned myself to ‘death marching’ the final marathon and a bit.

Ed Jones at the Kennet & Avon Canal Race (1)
Ed Jones crosses the line after an epic race

“As night fell for the second time in the race we reached Little Venice, and then the right turn into Paddington Basin, and the very low-key finishing line. I summoned a shuffling jog for the last 50 metres, and finally crossed the line at 21:24.”

His finishing time was a superb 39 hours and 24 minutes, and on crossing the line he learned he had come a brilliant 21st, with only 36 completing the gruelling route.

The finishers’ board. Photo courtesy of

Ed added: “Having had a few days to recover, I’m perhaps a touch disappointed to be quite a bit slower than a race over similar distance last year. On the other hand I’ve struggled to fit in enough decent long runs, and I’ve now notched up a PB for ‘time on feet’. I just need to decide what to do next!”

The power of 10: runners go down by the Riverside, plus BAC round-up

Four days after the Doug Anderson 5k, 19 Biggleswade athletes took to St Neots for the Riverside Runners 30th Anniversary 10k, taking place on a tough course, described by organisers as “a summer cross country” with a mix on paths and off-road, plus several bridges traversing the Great Ouse.

Paul Cooke was first BAC runner home, thanks to a brilliant 16th place in 39:09, but further down the field the race marked a special moment for five members in particular, who were taking part in their first 10k race since graduating from the club’s Couch to 5k programmes last year. For Jennifer Emanuel (1:08.01) and Julie Cooke (1:20.44) the race was particularly timely, marking precisely a year since they completed the programme.

Riverside 10k, St Neots - BAC squad. Photo by Bev Strong
BAC squad at the Riverside 10k in St Neots. Photo by Bev Strong

Bev Strong (1:15.34), Joanne Hornby (1:15.34) and Ruth King (1:20.44) were graduates from the second course, which ended in November.

Results – Riverside 30th Anniversary 10k

16 Paul Cooke – 39:09
125 Malcolm Steward – 50:14
213 Andrew Deans – 53:35
218 Neil Harvey – 54:01
225 Sarah-Jane Seaman – 54:23
226 Damien Pitts – 54:23
313 Julian Brunt – 58:35
336 Simon Strong – 59:22
354 Richard Barker – 1:00.20
359 Sally Jones – 1:00.28
362 Georgia Barker – 1:00.33
420 Rachel Hallam Stott – 1:04.16
466 Jennifer Emanuel – 1:08.01
467 Helen Steward – 1:08.02
500 Vikki Vowles – 1:12.09
520 Bev Strong – 1:15.34
521 Joanne Hornby – 1:15.34
537 Ruth King – 1:20.44
538 Julie Cooke – 1:20.44

A week earlier, Philip Housden took the trophy as the brilliant winner of the MV65 competition at the Bedfordshire AAA 10k, thanks to a fine time of 47:56. Richard Bevan was the first of BAC’s four runners in the race, finishing 15th overall in 35:54.

Results – Beds AAA 10k

15 Richard Bevan – 35:54
38 Nick Haworth – 38:47
104 Philip Housden – 47:56
122 Christopher Clarke – 50:40

Elsewhere, Biggleswade’s Sophie Steele performed brilliantly representing Bedfordshire in an inter-county competition at Kingsmeadow Stadium in Kingston-upon-Thames. Her throw of 9.06m smashed the club record and gave her a superb third place. Also wearing her county’s colours was Hannah Brunning, who gained a fine PB of 18.43m in the javelin.

At the latest EYAL fixture in Colchester last weekend, Cameron Rayner broke 12 seconds for the first time and broke the club record with a fine 11.7 in the U15 race. Callum Stokes got a PB too in the U17 equivalent, finishing in 11.9.

Leonie Brunning won the U15 high jump with 1.63m, while her sister Hannah Brunning got a PB 800m (3:08.4). Nathan Dodds took the honours in the U17 discus, winning with 37.80m, and also took the win in the javelin with 45.20m.

Madison Ball got PBs in both the U13 800m (2:58.8) and 100m (15.0), Georgie Smith won the U15 300m with her best time of 44.4, and added another PB in the U15 200m (27.3). BAC newbie Alex Matsukatoval ran his first competitive 800m for the club, finishing a fine fourth in the U15 race in 2:29.9. Tristan Rayner’s 4.98m in the U17 long jump was a season’s best. Full results from Colchester are available here.

Record collectors: Veterans sign off in style at final EMAC fixture in Stevenage

Team captain Charlie Arnold writes …

Unfortunate scheduling meant Biggleswade AC’s veterans were depleted for the final match in the Eastern Masters league series at Stevenage stadium, with many regulars competing in the club championship Doug Anderson 5k in Bedford – taking place at the same time. However, those present performed with admirable effort and enthusiasm, stepping out of their usual events and comfort zones to earn points for the club.

The evening on track kicked off with the 2km walk, which sees male and female competitors lining up together. And it was a phenomenal start for BAC as Helen Middleton was the clear class of the field, coming home a comfortable first overall in 11:29.8. Robin Wynde took fifth place for the men.

EMAC - Helen Middleton and Robin Wynde in 2km walk. Photo by Marcus Davey
Helen Middleton and Robin Wynde in action in the 2km walk. Photo by Marcus Davey

Meanwhile, Charles Arnold was competing in the high jump M50 competition where he finished third, clearing 1.25m and setting a club M60 record.

Jon Fediw doubled up in the M35 high jump and javelin, alternating between each discipline as the rounds progressed. He finished fifth in the high jump, matching Charlie’s 1.25m and setting a club record of his own, while he took fourth in the javelin with a throw of 24.43m. Wynde took fifth place in the M50 javelin at 16.52m while Ian Skerratt was fourth in the M60 standings with 15.61m, another club age group record.

On the other side of the stadium, Kathryn Juty (W45) and Sandra Ingham (W50) were competing in the discus, Kathryn coming fourth with 11.73m and Sandra in third with 13.66m.

After the initial events, the yellow vests of Biggleswade were seen rushing across the field to get registered for the next series. The 100m saw Kathryn claiming third in 16.2sec (another club AG record) and Sandra finishing fourth in 22.0s. For the men, Marcus Davey, usually a middle distance runner, competed in the M35 category and produced a tremendous run of 13.9 to finish fifth in a tight race and add to the age-group records bonanza. Ian Skerratt ran in the M50 race coming fourth in 18.0. Next to the 100m, the men’s triple jump was taking place and Arnold represented Biggleswade in M60 finishing second with a jump of 7.43m – yet another AG record.

The track then saw the mile races with Zoe Luscombe running in the W35 finishing a good fourth in 6:46.3 (another AG record). For the men, Davey was at his preferred distance and took M35 third in an AG time of 5:07.5, with Robin Wynde fourth M50 in 7:29.8 and Arnold third M60 in 6:14.5.

In the field events Ingham became the second BAC winner of the night taking the W50 javelin with a throw of 20.37m, while Luscombe went straight from her efforts in the mile to finish fifth in the W35 javelin with 10.12m. Sandra mimicked Fediw by also competing in the high jump taking fourth W50 with Juty also coming fourth in W45. After her win in the javelin, Ingham went straight over to the triple jump with Kathryn, Sandra finishing fourth in W50 jumping 4.57m (AG club record) and Kathryn a very commendable second with a jump of 6.03m. In the men’s discus Fediw was fifth in M35 with 17.30m, Robin Wynde fifth M50 with 16.13m and Ian Skerratt fifth M60 with 9.67m.

The final individual event of the evening was the 400m and Luscombe stepped up to run in W35 taking third in 76.2. For the men Charles Arnold took fourth in M50 (75.7) and Ian Skerratt second in M60 (81.7). This was then followed by the 1200m varied distance relay and David Brown was able to to take a break from officiating to run a blistering first leg to hand over to Skerratt, then Arnold before Davey produced a fantastic race to finish third, so nearly catching the team ahead.

In the end, the women finished fourth on the night and lifted themselves to a creditable fourth overall. The men finished fifth on the night and slipped to fifth overall, but just 3.5 points behind the hosts who were able to field a strong team. Neither team qualified for the finals, but all the athletes who turned out for the four matches gave commitment, effort and enthusiasm, and most of all, made them fun occasions with some success.

A special mention should also be made for the officials that turned out each time – without them there would be no competition.

Jamie and Elaine, sitting in a tree, W-I-N-N-I-N-G: awards galore for BAC at Doug Anderson 5k

Biggleswade Athletic Club athletes put in a sensational performance at the Doug Anderson 5k in Bedford and came away with an unprecedented haul of individual and team honours. The annual fixture at Bedford Park is BAC’s designated club championship race over the distance, with many entrants on a blustery evening also competing for the Bedfordshire county championship honours.

Leading the way was Jamie Hall, in his BAC debut, and he stunned himself with the outright race win thanks to an astonishing run of 16min 33sec. His delight at victory by five seconds from a member of host club Bedford Harriers was multiplied when he turned at the finish to see his partner Elaine Livera emerge as winner of the ladies’ race with a superb 18:51, good enough for 25th place overall.

Paul Davies, Rob Morgan and Elaine Rivera in action. Photo by Jo Ellary
Paul Davies, Rob Morgan and Elaine Rivera in action. Photo by Jo Ellary

Jamie said: “I got to the park very apprehensive about the whole thing.  We set off at what felt like a fairly acceptable pace. I felt myself trying to push ahead but kept remembering coach Paul Davies’ advice to stick behind someone and use them as a barrier against the wind. Much to my surprise I found myself keeping with the group at the front for the rest of the first lap.  I stuck behind the other runners to avoid the worst of the wind coming along the bottom straight. When we got to the top of the park a couple of the guys at the front started to pick up the pace so I tried to keep with them.

“Paul had told me the point I should put everything in for the finish and as soon as I hit it, I gritted my teeth and set off. To my astonishment, I got to the line first!”

In between Jamie and Elaine came Paul Cooke in 18:24 for 18th place and Rob Morgan in 24th, pipping Elaine despite the same time of 18:51. As the top three finishers from each club count in the team standings, the first BAC trio’s cumulative placings added up to 43, which ensured BAC took second place in the men’s competition. Cooke also took the runners-up spot in the men’s veteran over 40 county championship.

Rob Morgan, Jamie Hall and Paul Cooke helped BAC to second place in the team standings. Photo by Bev Strong
Rob Morgan, Jamie Hall and Paul Cooke helped BAC to second place in the team standings. Photo by Bev Strong

On the women’s side, club secretary Hannah Broom retained her female veteran’s over 35 crown with a time of 21:24 and 71st place overall – she was also sixth female finisher overall,  and took the FV35 county championship crown as well as second place in the Bedfordshire Female Open standings.

Just behind was Natalie Morgan, Rob’s wife, who took 19th place in the women’s standings with 22:04. Natalie was third in the FV40 competition, just one second from the runner’s-up spot, and that agonising deficit also kept her from winning the county championship in her age group. Elaine, Hannah and Natalie’s performances gave BAC a stunning second place in the team competition, nine seconds faster overall than the winning team but just missing out on the top spot on combined finishing positions.

Elaine Rivera, Hannah Broom and Natalie Morgan show off their shield. Photo by Bev Strong
Elaine Rivera, Hannah Broom and Natalie Morgan show off their shield. Photo by Bev Strong

BAC’s team results were all the more remarkable as the club had 24 finishers on the day, while the hosts – who topped the standings – fielded a whopping 96. Olney Runners, back in third, had 29.

Hannah said: “Hearing ‘Biggleswade’ over and over in the prize-giving was amazing. For a small club we certainly pack a mean punch! I’m still buzzing for all my BAC team-mates as it certainly is a team effort.”

The brilliant performances on a challenging course continued throughout the field, with Paul Davies second in the MV45 rankings with 18:58, and Bev Strong astonishing herself in her competitive debut for the club by taking 30 seconds off her PB and and finishing in a superb second place in the FV45 county championship standings.

Doug Anderson 5k - BAC squad. Photo by Andrew Deans
BAC entrants at Doug Anderson 5k. Photo by Andrew Deans

Doug Anderson 5k results (age-graded times in brackets)

1 Jamie Hall – 16:33 (16:33)
18 Paul Cooke – 18:24 (17:23)
24 Rob Morgan – 18:51 (17:41)
25 Elaine Livera – 18:51 (18:51)
27 Paul Davies – 18:58 (16:59)
47 John Stott – 19:50 (17:38)
71 Hannah Broom – 21:24 (21:02)
86 Damien Pitts – 21:57 (21:36)
93 Natalie Morgan – 22:04 (21:13)
100 Emma Bailey – 22:22 (21:12)
109 Gary Baldwin – 22:48 (19:28)
133 Malcolm Steward – 23:54 (22:25)
142 Neil Harvey – 24:28 (20:12)
164 Stuart Goodwin – 25:02 (23:50)
172 Amy Stamp – 25:15 (25:11)
180 Ian Grimwood – 25:32 (19:38)
198 Simon Strong – 26:44 (23:57)
233 Rachel Hallam Stott – 29:31 (28:44)
242 Juliet Grimwood – 30:03 (25:33)
256 Julia Mackay – 31:46 (27:00)
268 Helen Steward – 33:22 (30:48)
270 Vikki Vowles – 33:43 (30:49)
273 Bev Strong – 34:01 (31:42)
275 Colin Harries – 34:10 (25:00)

And rearranged into club championship results – ordered by age-graded results (with chip times in brackets) …

1 Jamie Hall – 16:33 (16:33) Male club championship winner
2 Paul Davies – 16:59 (18:58)
3 Paul Cooke – 17:23 (18:24)
4 John Stott – 17:38 (19:50)
5 Robert Morgan – 17:41 (18:51)
6 Elaine Livera – 18:51 (18:51) Female club championship winner
7 Gary Baldwin – 19:28 (22:48)
8 Ian Grimwood – 19:38 (25:32)
9 Neil Harvey – 20:12 (24:28)
10 Hannah Broom – 21:02 (21:24)
11 Emma Bailey – 21:12 (22:22)
12 Natalie Morgan – 21:13 (22:04)
13 Damien Pitts – 21:36 (21:57)
14 Malcolm Steward – 22:25 (23:54)
15 Stuart Goodwin – 23:50 (25:02)
16 Simon Strong – 23:57 (26:44)
17 Colin Harries – 25:00 (34:10)
18 Amy Stamp – 25:11 (25:15)
19 Juliet Grimwood 25:33 (30:03)
20 Julia Mackay – 27:00 (31:46)
21 Rachel Hallam Stott – 28:44 (29:31)
22 Helen Steward – 30:48 (33:22)
23 Vikki Vowles – 30:49 (33:43)
24 Bev Strong – 31:42 (34:01)

Park life: Biggleswade AC’s huge Couch to 5k class helps breaks record in Bedford

Biggleswade Athletic Club’s third Couch to 5k course was rounded off in sensational style last Saturday, as dozens of new runners crossed the line for their first attempt at the distance. The “graduation” run took place at Bedford Park, at the town’s weekly Saturday morning Parkrun event, which has taken place since June 2011. The 66 BAC C52K graduates on the day ensured the run smashed its attendance record, with 586 recorded finishers an increase of 58 on the previous best.

BAC Couch to 5k graduates, mentors and coaches. Photo by Damien Pitts

A whopping 124 people signed up to the course, and dozens more will be graduating in the coming weeks. The 12-week programme was based at Sandy’s Sunderland Road recreation ground, with weekly Wednesday sessions gradually and manageably ramping up through training in which participants initially ran for one minute at a time, then walking for a minute, repeated 10 times. The amount of running increased each week, with the walking reduced over time to help prepare runners for the 5km (3.1 mile) distance.

Coaches and “mentors” then helped to run two “homework” sessions a week at various locations in the area, to get those involved used to the discipline of running three times a week, a proven way to improve fitness and increase stamina. The improvements in those present were remarkable over the short period that the course took place.

Dave Eggleton was the first graduate over the finish line in Bedford, and said: “I started the course because I needed to get fitter, I wasn’t expecting after a few weeks to actually look forward to putting my running kit on. What started as a 12 week journey to help me get fitter has achieved its goals and made me some good friends along the way.”

Another hugely impressive participant was Sharon Griffiths, who overcame injury problems during the programme to graduate in fine style. She said: “I hated running at school and wasn’t very good at it, but the coaches and mentors have been fantastic with encouragement and praise to everybody. I’m definitely carrying on running now – I love it, which surprises me to say. It’s the best decision I’ve made.”

Andy King, who had “literally never run” before the course, was persuaded to join up by Sharon after mutual friends who took part in one of the previous courses recommended it. “They raved about the support they got,” he said. “The first week was hard and by the third week I was ready to give in. But what kept me going? The constant help from mentors who genuinely understood how you were feeling but would push you just that tiny bit more each session. I’m still astounded I ran 5K on Saturday. My self-esteem is at an all-time high, but without the support of Biggleswade AC, its coaches, mentors, and the other guys running with me, I wouldn’t have come near to finishing the course!”

Karen Soper added: “I needed this because I was so unfit and was not feeling good about myself at all. I feel so much better – I’m liking the way I look and it’s gave me a great feeling about myself. I now get up some morning before work and go for a run which then gives me a fantastic feeling for the rest of the day.”

Another to notice a huge difference is Kirsty Beard, who said: “Twelve weeks ago I was a stone heavier, and couldn’t run when prosecco was on a 2 for 1 deal at the bar 10 feet away! The classes and mentoring sessions inspire you to keep going. You could be the quickest or the slowest on the field, and you got the same encouragement, attention and support – but you also certainly got the same buzz, motivation and ‘can-do’ feeling.”

Many of the graduates have already signed up to Biggleswade AC, sending the club’s membership to an all-time high, and they will benefit from a revamped range of training nights, specifically tailored to help the progression of its freshly minted runners, with sessions taking place on both on the streets of Sandy as well as the recently relaid track. Much more info soon – keep an eye on the club website for more details.

Many thanks to club chairman Damien Pitts for photographs of graduation day

BAC C25k graduate results, Bedford Parkrun, 15 July 2017

David Eggleton 27:06
Brian Woodfield 28:03
Joanne Drummond 28:16
Tanya Edwards 29:56
Sharon Griffiths 30:17
Nick Lester 30:42
John Luff 31:07
Alison Elwood 32:03
Genette Smith 32:06
Tom Greaves 32:07
Jennie Day 32:10
Chris Rowley 32:13
Sarah Gatti 32:17
Tracy Brooks 32:42
Lisa Cobb 32:44
Beverley Ritson 32:53
Sophie Lester 33:00
Julie Spavins 33:16
Christine Crawley 33:31
John Crawley 33:34
Colin Oatley 33:48
Rachel Davies 33:54
Emma Kelly 34:07
Charlotte Larkins 34:08
Karyn Jones 34:17
Sue Whitfield 34:30
Janet Fogg 35:02
Peter Elwood 35:57
Kianna Davis 36:00
Sara Masella 36:05
Louise Oliver 36:05
Karen Soper 36:37
Kirsty Beard 36:38
Laura France 36:39
Sadete Noka 36:57
Katie Bishop 37:43
Polly Swinburne 37:43
Amy Smyth 37:43
Joanne Gray 37:50
Vicky Brettle 38:12
Christine Knowles 38:14
Nicola Summers 38:16
Elaine Oatley Fry 38:43
Kathy Doherty 39:06
Francesca McKiernan 39:08
Alan Shaw 39:39
Graeme Wright 39:39
Vanessa Kaye 40:57
Joanne Bishop 41:03
Nicola Gauge 41:33
James Keane 41:33
Helen Williams 41:33
Nicki Dear 41:57
Faye Eavis 42:00
Sally Burn 42:00
Deborah Cockcroft 43:42
Anita Taylor 45:38
Kirsty Day 46:12
Julie White 46:23
Susan Revels 46:24
Helen Hill 48:20
Sharon Davis 48:24
Timothy Mark Garratt 49:11
Andy King 49:44
Suzanne Chidley 50:27
Michelle Shaw 50:27

Mucking in at Mile End: BAC in SAL action

In round four of the Southern Athletics League, Division Three North, Biggleswade AC took a host of top three placings. In searing conditions – “like a roasting tray”, according to Marcus Davey – several competitors threw themselves into extra events for valuable points. As always at SAL meetings, each team could field two athletes per event, in “A” and “B” strings.

On a typically busy day for multi-event specialist Daniel Steel, he won the 110m hurdles in 19.4sec, and came second in both the pole vault (2.65m) and long jump (5.82m). He also took third in the high jump A string with 1.65m, while Charlie Arnold took third in the B string (1.23m). Charlie added a fine fourth in the B string 800m in 2:29.3, and matched that placing in the B string of the 3000m (11:35.9).

Darren Janssen took second place in the B-strings of both the pole vault (2.05m) and hammer (17.57m), and he added third place in the A-string discus (27.92m) and fourth places in the A shot put (8.60m), javelin (29.40m) and B long jump (4.67m).

BAC new boy John Fedew took third places in the B-string shot (7.63m), javelin (24.44m) and discus (17.70m), and took fourth in the A-string hammer with 19.35m.

In the B string of the 400m, Marcus surprised himself to take fourth in 61.3 – beating Paul Davies’ V45 club record by 4.8secs. He also came fourth in the A-string 1500m with 4:48.9. In the B string of the latter race, Tim Berkery was fourth in 5:30.7. For his part, while Davies was fourth in both the A-string 800m (2:27.1) and 3000m (10:55.3).

Morgan Webster was second in the A-string 400m with 51.7sec and third in the 200m in 23.0. Bradley Strong was fifth in the 100m with 14.5.

In the men’s relays, BAC were fourth in both the 4x100m (54.0) and 4x400m (4:16.9).

On the women’s side, Janice Amber took fourth in both 100m (14.0) and the B string of the 200m (31.4). In the A string of the latter race, Kathryn Juty was fifth with 30.9, and she matched that placing in the 400m with 74.4. Kathryn’s best placing of the day came in the long jump, with second place coming courtesy of a leap of 3.82m.

Hannah Broom took third in the B string of the shot (5.62m), and was sixth in the 800m with 2:47.5. Sandra Ingham took second place in the javelin with 18.67m, and took fourth places in the shot’s A string (6.04m), discus (12.79m) and hammer (9.61m).

Overall, BAC took fifth place on the day with 134 points, and with one fixture remaining of the SAL season they lie in 15th place of 24 clubs.

Thanks to Darren Janssen for photographs

Charlie’s captain’s slog: BAC at EMAC Milton Keynes

Veterans’ team captain Charlie Arnold led the way for BAC on a stunning evening in the sunshine at Milton Keynes. The 61-year-old put in a scintillating performance to win the 300m hurdles. After starting off steadily, he blazed around the bend and cantered through to victory in 61.5sec, fully four seconds clear of his nearest opposition. Charlie then shared first place in the V60 pole vault, clearing 1.70m, alongside an athlete from Cambridge & Coleridge AC.

Charlie Arnold in 300m hurdles. Photo by Roo Goodwin
Charlie in the 300m hurdles. Photo by Roo Goodwin

EMAC debutant Jon “Fedge” Fediw got his veterans’ career off to a sterling start with third place in the V35 hammer in 15.21, while David Brown – balancing officiating and competing duties – took a fine third of his own with third in the V50 400m hurdles.
In the women’s competition, Kathryn Juty took second place in the V35 pole vault with 1.30m, third place in the 200m in 34.8sec and fourth in the long jump in 3.19m.

Throws specialist Sandra Ingham took third in the V50 shot in 7.03m, and fifth in the hammer, and helped another EMAC first-timer, Hannah Broom, have a ball after coaching her to third in the V35 hammer (11.20m). Hannah also took fifth in both the 800m and the shot, and was later beaming at her first experience of veterans’ competition.

Zoe Luscombe also put in a serious shift, taking third place in the 400m in a fine 96.7sec, and going straight from the finish of that event to start the 1 mile walk – still wearing spikes, which adds an extra layer of difficulty to an event where one foot must always be in contact with the track. Tripping and tearing up the track behind her, she took an entertaining fourth place in the B string, treating the Buckinghamshire crowd to some extremely colourful language as she went. In the A string of that race, Helen Kapur finished a fine fifth.

Marcus Davey took fourth in the 800m (2:19.5), fifth in the 200m (28.9sec), and finished his night with a stunning final leg in the 4x400m, timed at 62.3sec.

Marcus Davey in 800m. Photo by Roo Goodwin
Marcus Davey. Photo by Roo Goodwin

On a fruitful night in the long jump, Robin Wynde broke the V55 club record twice in quick succession. Having complained that he all-too-often struggled to judge his run-up and hit the take-off board following his first effort, he proceeded to judge it perfectly with his second, and repeated the feat with his third leap of 3.27m, which added 24cm to John Haines’ mark that had stood since 2012. In the V35 category, Stuart Goodwin earned a personal best of his own with 4.18m to take fifth place in a competition where just 55cm separated first and last place. Helen Kapur, competing in the V50 competition, earlier leaped 2.19m to take both fifth place and a PB.

Robin and Stuart earlier took part in the 1mile walk, each taking fourth places in the A and B string with 10:06.05 and 12:02 respectively. Robin’s busy night also took in the 800m, where he earned fifth place, and the shot put, where he took sixth.

Colin Harries, age 70, was fifth in the V60 shot and sixth in the V50 200m standings. Clark Skerratt took fourth in the V60 800m and fifth in the hammer, while Simon Strong’s 5.98m in the V35 shot earned him fifth place.

Top scoring honours of the night went to Helen Kapur, whose brilliant individual tally of 19 points, accrued in a herculean effort that took in five scoring events, showed what the team competition is all about.

It all ended with the 4x400m relays, and first up the men’s V35s were sent off by an apprehensive Fedge, whose steady leg marked his first foray into one-lap territory since joining the club last month. Upon handing over to Simon Strong, he departed trackside to dry-heave while his unsupportive partner, Hannah Broom, failed to contain her mirth. Simon, eternally recovering from injury, thankfully emerged unscathed and handed off to Stuart Goodwin, who presided over the team being lapped by a very high-quality Bedford & County AC quartet. Goodwin then left the baton with Marcus Davey, whose outstanding final 400m was all the better for having been run almost solo.

The men’s V50+ relay followed, and BAC stormed to third in a club-record time, thanks in no small part to a 65.8sec third leg by David Brown. Captain Arnold, Clark Skerratt and Robin Wynde also played their part.

It was left to the V35 ladies’ squad to close out a busy night of track and field action, and a team of Hannah Broom, Sandra Ingham, Kathryn Juty and Zoe Luscombe took fourth place.

Both teams emerged with superb fourth places out of seven strong teams on the night, with the women extremely unlucky to miss out on third by just four points.