Biggleswade Athletic Club athletes enjoyed a successful day on the streets of Peterborough, as several runners returned from the Perkins Great Eastern Run with personal best times.
Renowned as one of the flattest half marathons within easy reach of the club’s base in Sandy, the race starts and finishes in the town centre before taking a tour around residential areas. Jamie Hall – in only his second attempt at the distance – was among those to reap the benefits, and up against high-quality opposition he crossed the line in a superb 18th place, with a time of 1:14.06 indicating that Roger Wadeley’s club record 1:11.15 (set back in 1988) could soon be under threat.
Jamie said: “It was a perfect day for it, the sun was shining and the air was very still. The race started well enough, I managed to stay pretty consistent but found myself isolated between two groups of runners. Fortunately at about mile three I was joined by a couple of others who I ended up sticking with for most of the race.”
“It was all going quite well – it felt tough but not unbearable. I was just counting down the time until the next marker. That was until I managed to misread the mile 8 marker as a 9. Seeing the 9 marker come up again when I was expecting the 10 really set me back, I was really looking forward to only having 5k left to go! It was a real ‘should have gone to a well known high street chain of opticians’ moment.
From this point onward it was a real struggle to keep going. Were it not for the locals who had come out in force to cheer the runners on, it would have been easy to just shuffle the last few miles. I knocked three minutes off my only other half marathon time from earlier in the year, set just before I joined the club. All thanks to the fantastic support from the coaches and all the members of BAC!”
Next home was Marcus Davey, who had arrived on the start line hopeful of finding the kind of consistency that would reward him with a PB. Yet the outcome, after finishing 151st, was somewhat unusual. He said: “I set myself to run each mile of the race at 6min 20sec. For the first 10 miles I hit the goal with beautiful regularity and was feeling fine until the heart started going in to overdrive. As usual I picked up my legs for the final 100s, always looking to overtake someone in an attempt to find some glory on the line. And my finishing glory and final time? I was gobsmacked – I exactly matched my PB from last year’s race!”
Elaine Livera was 14th female finisher, 231nd overall, and first BAC lady home in 1:27.57, and she was joined in the sub-90 minute club by John Stott, who subjected himself to a “self-beasting” on his way to 258th in a brilliant PB of 1:28.50.
The evergreen Charlie Arnold, competing in the over 60s age category, arrived aiming to repeat a performance earlier in the year when he broke the 100 mins barrier (1hr 40). He said: “With the Peterborough race hailed as a ‘flat, good for PB’ course, the pressure was on to improve on my May run. More great coaching and track work through the summer with a great team of athletes at BAC, and the work was done.
“The support was magnificent from young and old alike and although I was very much in the zone, I could appreciate the cheering and, even better, the calling of my name which I had on the front of my vest. As the end approached and I could start counting down the metres, I checked my watch and calculated I was on for that new PB.” Charlie’s 1:37.18 was also good enough for third spot in the over-60 rankings. Running alongside him in the early stages, Aaron Ball – in his BAC race debut – acquitted himself superbly and finished just six seconds back in a PB 1:37.24.
On the day 25 BAC runners took the start line, but Paul Cooke and Helen Steward were forced out mid-race with injuries. However, Helen’s husband Malcolm helped himself to a huge PB of 1:54.00, while Amy Stamp hailed the “great atmosphere” and was delighted with her debut at the distance, finishing just outside two hours in 2:00.28.
Rachel Stott joined husband John in the PB stakes with a 2:14.06, and she paid tribute to her clubmates for helping her overcome race day nerves. “Everything was going well and we were sticking to our pace … until mile 10,” she said. “The wheels started to wobble and fall off slightly. I so, so wanted to stick to the plan but things were not going accordingly. It is great thanks to Vicky Berry who got me through the last 3 miles and more importantly through the last 400m, where I was seriously wanting to fall in a heap.” Vicky joined her across the line in the same time.
In the MBNA Chester Marathon, Nick Haworth finished in an excellent 2:57.22, while Rob Morgan agonisingly missed out on breaking the three-hour barrier, but his 3:00.18 is still an outstanding achievement, over 24 minutes faster than his last outing over the distance.
Meanwhile, in the Wimpole Hoohaah races, Deb Bryant and Julie Balaam were in hilly and muddy 10 mile and half-marathon action respectively. Deb was sixth in the V40 age group, and ninth lady overall, in the shorter race with a fine 1:21.06, while Julie overcame shoe-related adversity to take second place in the V40 category and seventh place in the ladies standings with an excellent 1:44.32. “The poor girl stepped out of her car and her trainer lace broke,” Deb said. “She managed to buy one off a stall but wouldn’t fit through so she tied it all the way around her trainer – very Blue Peter, but it lasted!” Julie added: “Thanks to Deb for keeping me calm. It was a fantastic course – hilly, muddy, with beautiful autumn views – and good training for the forthcoming cross-country season.”
The Three Counties cross-country league kicks off on Sunday in Wellingborough for the notoriously muddy Croyland Park race, and then on 19 November BAC athletes will take their distance running exploits to St Neots for the final club championship race of the season – the Riverside Half Marathon.
Perkins Great Eastern Run 2017 results
gun position | name | chip time
18 Jamie Hall 1:14.06
151 Marcus Davey 1:23.58
231 Elaine Livera 1:27.57
258 John Stott 1:28.50
541 Charlie Arnold 1:37.18
574 Aaron Ball 1:37.24
775 Andy Bruce 1:40.31
778 Hannah Broom 1:42.25
1552 Malcolm Steward 1:54.00
1555 Clark Skerratt 1:56.32
1722 Neil Harvey 1:56.06
1745 Richard Dilley 1:56.19
1759 Kathryn Juty 1:57.37
1916 Amy Stamp 2:00.28
2100 Stephen Atkins 1:58.51 (NB: started further back in field, hence quicker chip time but lower gun placing than Amy)
2359 Nicky Double 2:06.22
2489 Joanne Drummond 2:10.01
2601 Maria Merridan 2:12.12
2603 Giles Hawthorne 2:12.13
2727 Vicky Berry 2:14.06
2728 Rachel Hallam-Stott 2:14.06
3796 Nicola Perrin 2:38.26
4100 Lorraine Emerson 2:58.15