Fourteen runners from Biggleswade Athletic Club found themselves facing the dual challenge of hills and searing heat at the challenging Flitwick 10k race last Sunday, and three returned home with top 10 age group placings.
John Stott was the club’s first finisher, 47th overall and one place outside the top 10 in the men’s veteran age 40-49 category with a fine time of 41mins 46sec. Charlie Arnold, who will be helming BAC’s Eastern Masters Track & Field League challenge this season, was next up, fifth in the age 60-69 bracket despite recent injuries and 104th overall in 45:18. Just behind came the 10th female finisher overall Natalie Morgan, with husband Rob in tow, in a superb 45:37, which was also good enough for third in the extremely competitive female 35-44 category. Rob was one second behind.
Neil Harvey was next up for BAC, just outside the 50 minute mark (209th overall, 33rd in M50-59 category, 50:07), and afterwards he admitted to a slightly unwise preparation. “I was happy with my performance having completely overtrained – 11 miles on Thursday night, why? – and playing golf the day before. Still, I was only two minutes outside my time last year. It was a lovely day with great support around the course including our own Ken Prior and Nigel Bush, who strategically kept popping up with support at various points – thanks for that guys!”
Gary Baldwin (233rd, 37th M50-59, 51:34) and Jon Balaam (236th, 67th M40-49, 52:14) were next up, followed by Stephen Atkins (250th, 14th M60-69, 52:37) and – hot on the heels of two consecutive 20-mile races – Clark Skerratt (388th, 23rd M60-69, 58:24).
Amy Stamp (418th, 30th W17-34) put in a tremendous performance in her first outing for the club – the first race she had taken part in for 16 years – dipping comfortably under the hour mark with 59:37. She confirmed the conditions were not for the faint at heart: “It was really hot and really hilly – whoever said it was merely ‘undulating’ was lying – but very enjoyable and with lots of camaraderie from club members. I would’ve liked to have done it a bit faster, but I was pleased I got in under the hour given the conditions.”
Rounding out the BAC entrants were Elissa Mcnamara (462nd, 38th W17-34, 1:01.21), Colin Harries – who came eighth in the M70-79 category (476th, 1:02.17) – followed shortly afterwards by Rachel Hallam-Stott (494th, 49th W35-44, 1:03.16) and Jane Waters (518th, W55-64, 1:04.36). Rachel said of the course: “Many people had said that the second 5k was going to be tougher than the first, due to the hills, but I preferred the second half so much more. Maybe it was the thought of getting back for a cup of tea.”