Once again Biggleswade AC had a number of athletes running in the London Marathon last weekend.
Giles Hawthorne, Andy Hedley and Cat Marriott were the lucky(?) winners of the draw for the three club places, with Paul Davies, Paul Cooke, Chris Clarke, Gary Albon and Nigel Pavitt securing their places via the public ballot and the charities.
Fortunately the warm, spring weather that most of the country had been experiencing lately, did not materialise and the conditions could be described as perfect for running 26.2 miles. The same couldn’t be said for the teams of club supporters who had to endure light rain and cool winds as they waited for their club mates to appear.
First past the small group of club supporters at mile 13, was Paul Davies with Paul Cooke a few minutes behind him. Behind them Giles was running at a blistering pace but still managed a smile as he headed passed his very enthusiastic club colleagues on Narrow Street. At around mile 21 Chris Clarke, in his first marathon for 10 years, was looking as fresh as a daisy. It’s at this point when cramp and fatigue set in, and the temptation to stop and chat is overwhelming, but when Andy Hedley trotted past he had no time for his club mates and headed on towards The Thames Embankment, Westminster, The Mall and the finish line.
On the day there was some superb, gutsy running from everyone. Paul Davies was actually placed 859th out of a total of 38,000 runners overall and marathon woman, Cat Marriott, was 85th in her age category. There were also new personal best times for Paul Cooke and Andy Hedley so all in all a pretty successful day.
It was a busy weekend for Biggleswade Athletic Club’s younger athletes, with the Youth Development League and Eastern Young Athletes Leagues kicking off the track and field season in tandem.
Competition was tough for the under 17 and under 20 squad who had travelled to Horspath, near Oxford, for the Youth Development League match on Saturday 18th April – although they were competing under the ‘Team Bedfordshire’ banner the majority of the athletes were from Biggleswade AC. The distance, however, did not stifle their unstinting enthusiasm as they all produced outstanding performances culminating in a scoresheet of new personal or season’s best results.
For the younger members it was a cold and windy Sunday for their first match of the Eastern Young Athletics League 2015 held at Bedford International Athletic Stadium on 19th April.
A strong squad of youngsters from Biggleswade Athletic Club were ready to do battle against six other clubs. Within the team there were a number of athletes new to competition – Tia Adams, Valerie Snowball, Janice Amber, Katie Leenderts, Rachel Gibb, Abby Keagan, Callum Stokes, Nathan Hardy, Elliot Swinburne, Ethan Ovenden, Irene Kricks, Imogen Sawyer, Caitlin Allen, Jessica Pennington, Ethan Ovenden and Sam Whinney – and they all delivered amazing, gutsy performances producing many personal best results.
The remainder of the squad was made up of regular contributors – Georgia Smith, Jessica Cooke, Emily Day, Jordan Bircumshaw, Pamina Kricks, Morgan Webster, Callum Dickson Earle, Cybil Leobana, Bradley Strong, Cameron and Tristan Rayner, Daniel Hemming, Tom Whinney, Nathan Dodds and Owen Wathen.
Jessica Cooke had a great 100m sprint finish in her 800m, as did Tom Whinney in his 800m. Katie Leenderts cleared every hurdle in her first ever hurdle competition and Callum Dickson Earle achieved the qualifying time for All English Schools in the 100m hurdles. Imogen Sawyer and Rachel Gibb were joined by Leonie Brumming in the high jump competition with the three girls each producing excellent performances.
Team Manager, Mandie Trudgill, was absolutely thrilled with the team’s efforts and would like to thank many of the parents and supporters who helped with officiating duties that day.
Dan Steel was back in action again, this time gaining more competition experience at the Watford Open Graded Meeting on Wednesday 22nd April. And it was another new personal best performance (and 1st place), this time in the 400m. Dan also succeeded in claiming 2nd place in the high jump but missed out on a new PB.
Veteran athlete, Pete Howell, had a storming run in the Stanwick 10K on Easter Monday, finishing in a superb time of 50m 18s and 4th position in his age category.
Pete was also in action again the following Sunday in the Flitwick 10K, and managed to improve on his previous 10K time by 24 seconds. Marcus Davey was first man home for the Biggleswade AC team, in 40m 17s with Fi Wynde just a few seconds behind him, the first Biggleswade lady to cross the finish line seizing 3rd place in her age category. Making a welcome return to racing, after giving birth to her second child just 7 months ago, Julie Balaam had an excellent run to finish 9th in her age group in a new 10K personal best time of 48m 27s.
It was near-perfect running conditions for the 32nd Sandy 10 mile road race last Sunday, hosted by Biggleswade AC. Unfortunately, just minutes before the race was due to start the wind speed increased dramatically, creating a very strong headwind as the 470 runners approached the midway marker.
Once again, the volunteer marshals wore silly hats, a tradition which started on the 25th anniversary of the race and has now become the trademark of this popular event.
The race is a local favourite and also a key fixture for athletes who want to sharpen up their pace before taking part in the London Marathon two weeks later.
Making a welcome return, after missing this event last year though injury, Serpentine Runner, Will Green, led from the start, gradually extending his lead over the trailing pack, to finish in 54m 34s, almost three minutes ahead of Paul Adams (St Albans Striders) in second place, and Adam Mills (Bedford Harriers), who finished a further thirty seconds behind him in a time of 57m 45s.
It was a double for Bedford Harriers in the ladies race, with Gill Fullen a clear winner, finishing in 62m 57s, with last year’s ladies winner, Kirstie Meeten, in second place in a time of 65m 27s, and St Albans Striders, Wendy Walsh, finishing third with a time of 67m 01s.
The ‘Roger Wadeley Trophy’, for the Best Age Graded Performance, was won by Gill Fullen of Bedford Harriers.
The male veteran category prize winners were keenly contested with Grant Ramsey (Fairlands Valley Spartans) winning the MV40, Tony Barnes (Bedford Harriers) the MV50, Barry Osborne (Fairlands Valley Spartans) the MV60 and Ian Milburn (Fenland Running Club) the MV70 category.
The ladies veteran awards were also hotly challenged, with Nicola Bowerman (Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers) winning the LV35, Paula Adams (North Herts Road Runners) the LV 45, Deirdre Heydecker (St Albans Striders) the LV55 and Barbara Reading (Riverside Runners) the LV65 category.
In the team competitions, defending champions, Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers once again took the men’s team prize, and St Albans Striders the women’s. Unsurprisingly, Bedford Harriers retained the Erlensee Cup for the most runners (89 in total) entered in the race.
The two local winners – that is the fastest male and fastest female living within the SG18 and SG19 post code areas – were Ashley Howes and Fiona Montilla.
The club were honoured to have the Mayor of Sandy, Will Jackson, to present the awards, and race organiser, Jan Blake, in this her first year as Race Director, was absolutely delighted with the day having received many positive comments from runners who had enjoyed the event.
Biggleswade AC would like to extend a huge thank you to its sponsors: Advance Performance (Cambridge), Marshalls (Sandy) and Tesco (Sandy), and also a big thank you to the cadets from Bedfordshire Police, the crew from St John’s Ambulance, and the ladies from Sue Ryder St John’s for helping make this year’s event, our most successful race to date.
The proceeds from this year’s Sandy 10 will go to Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice at Moggerhanger.
As the participants in the Sandy 10 road race disappeared into the distance all eyes then turned to the 3K Fun Run.
With 36 competitors of varying ages the runners were buffeted by strong winds as they headed out of the school grounds and around the adjoining football fields before heading back towards the school and finishing with a lap of the athletics track.
All the competitors finished the race in an amazing time of 20m 15s, with the winners receiving a small trophy, from Mayor of Sandy, Will Jackson, as an acknowledgement of their outstanding efforts.
Biggleswade AC athletes Dan Steel and Michael Blunt competed in the Watford Open event on the evening of Wednesday 8th April.
Dan managed to win his 200m race with yet another new personal best time, whilst Michael also managed a podium win in the 800m, and a new season’s best time.
And Elaine Stead travelled to the south coast, last weekend, not to relax by the sea but to participate in the Brighton Marathon. Despite the strong, coastal winds Elaine managed to finish in just under 5hrs (04:56:24).
Biggleswade AC distance runners, Melanie Brooks and Cat Marriott, took on the South Downs Way 50, a 50 mile, self-guided run along the South Downs Way from Hillbarn, in South Croydon, to Eastbourne, on the south coast.
Sadly, Cat didn’t make the cut-off time at the mile 41 checkpoint, but Mel did and pushed on to finish this challenging course in a very respectable time of 10hrs 34mins – 206th out of 500 entrants and 25th lady.