Biggleswade Athletic Club athletes lined up to take one another on at two recent races, with the Fen 10 in Wisbech and St Neots Half Marathon doubling up as club championship events and yielding four different names for the trophy engraver.
Finishing times for club championships are recalibrated based on age-gradings, which serve to level the playing field across the various age groups, and in some cases seeing some enormous leaps up the standings for those in the veterans’ categories. As a result, despite Rob Morgan being first BAC finisher at the Fen 10 in a superb 1:03:36 (22nd overall), he is young enough to be Charlie Arnold’s son, and so the evergreen Arnold (59th overall) saw his finish time of 1:10:02 heaved down to an age-graded mark of 55:29, meaning he took the title by over two minutes. In fact Marcus Davey (24th overall), who finished 10 seconds behind Rob, was also promoted ahead of him due to his comparative lack of youth.
The Morgan household had plenty of cause to cheer in the women’s standings however as Natalie was first BAC female home, finishing in 89th position overall and taking a new personal best of 1:14:02. She said: “This race was a new one for me. I had heard from other club members who had experience of the race previously the course was a fast, flat one but quite open and could be quite blustery. The first few miles I took steady, working on maintaining my pace and conscious to keep a bit in reserve for the last potentially windy section.
“I made good progress throughout and for the most part felt reasonably comfortable. Before I knew it I was at mile nine and began to up the pace for the finish. Although not still, the weather on the whole was rather kind, with the strong winds never really materialising in the end. As such, a good race with a new PB of 1:13:45 and a finishing position of ninth woman overall.”
Attendance at the 10-mile race was slightly scuppered as it had been a late substitute for the club’s traditional championship race, the Swineshead 10, which announced it would no longer be taking place from 2018. Happily, the club’s 13.1 challenge in St Neots went ahead as planned, though runners would perhaps have preferred a degree or two more on the thermometer and markedly fewer icy crosswinds on the various sections of open landscape.
Despite feeling under the weather, Hannah Broom backed up her stunning recent form from the Great Eastern Half-Marathon, where she took 13 minutes off her personal best to break the much-desired 1:30 barrier by nearly three-and-a-half minutes. In St Neots, she was just 17 seconds outside her new PB, and took the title of club champion.
Though unable to overhaul Hannah, Natalie was thrilled with her showing, as 1:35:30 marked her own milestone: “The St Neots Half Marathon is most definitely my favourite half, in fact I’d say it’s my favourite race of all the differing distances I’ve taken part in over the years. The course is undulating in parts and I like the challenge it brings, but most of all I like the last three miles – it’s downhill so helps those tired legs! My approach was to simply enjoy it, no pressure and no expectations. Added to this, the weather conditions were perfect and the BAC support crew were on top form, with cheers aplenty.
“All-in-all things really did come together on the day for me, I made sure to keep focused and be strong to the end and, yes, I did come away rather enjoying it. The icing on the cake – bettering my PB from 10 years ago by over two minutes with a finish time of 1:35:30!”
Davey took the men’s crown, his 1:23:02 leapfrogging first BAC finisher Steven Baldwin’s 1:18:56 once age was factored in, while Arnold was unlucky not to double up on 10-mile and half-marathon titles as his grading took him just 16 seconds outside Marcus’s.
Green Thumb Fen 10 results
Position | Name | Time (Age-graded result)
22 | Robert Morgan | 01:03:36 (00:59:45)
24 | Marcus Davey | 01:03:46 (00:57:34)
45 | John Stott | 01:08:21 (01:02:42)
59 | Charles Arnold | 01:10:02 (00:55:29) Male Club Champion
89 | Natalie Morgan | 01:14:02 (01:10:43) Lady Club Champion
173 | Clark Skerratt | 01:21:53 (01:01:15)
197 | Ian Grimwood | 01:24:14 (01:04:15)
287 | Maria Merridan | 01:35:19 (01:26:10)
303 | Juliet Grimwood | 01:38:44 (01:22:51)
(359 finishers in total)
St Neots Half Marathon results
Position | Name | Time (Age-graded result)
23 | Steven Baldwin | 01:18:56 (01:18:56)
53 | Marcus Davey | 01:23:02 (01:15:19) Male Club Champion
71 | Paul Cooke | 01:24:16 (01:19:37)
82 | Nick Haworth | 01:25:42 (01:20:58)
92 | Hannah Broom | 01:26:50 (01:23:59) Lady Club Champion
120 | John Stott | 01:28:52 (01:19:16)
186 | Chris Watson | 01:33:14 (01:21:03)
217 | Charles Arnold | 01:35:12 (01:15:35)
227 | Natalie Morgan | 01:35:30 (01:31:13)
228 | Robert Morgan | 01:35:31 (01:30:15)
420 | Malcolm Steward | 01:42:34 (01:36:54)
455 | Damien Pitts | 01:43:42 (01:42:55)
529 | Robin Lewis | 01:46:50 (01:34:29)
547 | Kevin Goody | 01:48:12 (01:27:32)
577 | Neil Harvey | 01:48:37 (01:29:31)
613 | Andrew Bruce | 01:49:52 (01:33:51)
641 | Sarah Geeson-Orsgood | 01:50:56 (01:45:57)
645 | Clark Skerratt | 01:51:45 (01:23:39)
839 | Ian Grimwood | 01:57:15 (01:29:33)
842 | Frank Mcloughlin | 01:57:20 (01:38:28)
850 | Stephen Atkins | 01:57:28 (01:31:29)
898 | Andrew Hedley | 01:59:18 (01:40:07)
986 | Ian Clayton | 02:03:56 (01:47:44)
1013 | Sally Jones | 02:05:08 (01:58:37)
1016 | Juliet Grimwood | 02:05:14 (01:45:06)
1017 | Vicky Berry | 02:05:15 (01:45:07)
1049 | Maria Merridan | 02:07:25 (01:55:11)
1210 | Simon Strong | 02:16:31 (02:02:48)
1246 | Matthew Lewis | 02:19:25 (02:19:21)
1307 | Ros Bodi | 02:26:59 (02:03:21)
(1384 finishers total)