May Day, May Day, records under attack: Biggleswade AC round-up

Euan Dickson-Earle led a hugely successful May Day bank holiday for Biggleswade Athletic Club members with a sensational gold medal and club record at the prestigious BUCS Championships.

The event at Bedford International Athletic Stadium is organised by British Universities & Colleges Sport and showcases the best athletes pursuing higher education around the UK. Euan – competing for Loughborough University – stormed to a time of 14.67sec to earn first place by one hundredth of a second from the despairing dive of Jake Porter, representing Birmingham University.

Euan Dickson-Earle - second left - dips to win the 110mh. Photo by Callum Dickson-Earle
Euan, second left, dips to take the win despite a despairing dive from the runner-up. Photo: Callum Dickson-Earle
Euan’s performance shaved almost three tenths off his own BAC record, and was all the more impressive as competitors were running into a -1.7 metres per second headwind. Earlier in the weekend BAC’s Tom Boggon, running for the University of Bedfordshire, competed in the 400m and came a creditable sixth in a strong heat.

More record-breaking was to come, this time at the Essex County Combined Events Championships in Thurrock, as multi-discipline specialist Daniel Steel assembled a brilliant series of performances to smash the club’s outdoor pentathlon mark by over 300 points. Competing as a guest he amassed what looks – subject to ratification of the results from Essex AA – a new record of 2108 in somewhat windy conditions, with his proudest moment coming in the javelin. Daniel found over five additional metres with his final effort to register 43.09m – a new personal best – which was backed up healthily throughout the afternoon with season’s bests in all of the long jump (5.70m), 200m (26.7sec), discus (22.49m) and 1500m (5:44.7).

Meanwhile the club’s road runners were out in force at events across the region. Rob Morgan took ninth place overall at the Mayor of Huntingdon’s 5 Mile Charity Race, the first of 10 club members in the lineup. The event – starting at Priory Park in the town – took runners across scenic, gently undulating farm tracks on the Lord de Ramsey Estate in the town, and Rob’s time of 32m 11sec also took second place in the Men’s Veteran Age 40 category, a feat matched by his wife Natalie in the FV35 standings, as she took the runners-up spot with 37:24.

Yet both were outdone by BAC’s next finisher, Deb Bryant, who has endured an injury-hit year but showed she was back with a bang in topping the FV45 standings with a great time of 38:47.

Also securing a top-two age category finish was Jan Blake, the second FV55 home with 49:54, while Malcolm Steward (39:44), Richard and Georgia Barker (both 47:26), Corinne Calligan (51:45), Helen Steward (55:44) and Jo Ellary (61:09) rounded out the entries. A breezy day on the course saw runners joined with the mayor himself, and began with the clubmates collaring actor Kieron Richardson, best known for playing the role of Ste Hay in Hollyoaks – for a pre-race photo.

BAC with Kieron Richardson. Photo by Jules Mackay
The BAC bods harass hapless Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson, who started the race. Photo: Jules Mackay
Elsewhere, marathon fever continued in Milton Keynes, as Hannah Broom took on the challenge of 26.2 miles and despite being under the weather left with a great PB of 3:51.12 to become 64th female finisher overall and 32nd in the FV35 category. Charlie Arnold meanwhile showed age is no barrier to kicking on in the sport as he shot round the half-marathon course in a brilliant time of 1:38.51 – good enough for third place in a highly competitive MV60 category, and 200th of over 3000 runners overall.

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Sunshine and silly hats: the Sandy 10 race report

Will Green blazed to his fifth Sandy 10 title last Sunday, on a stunning day for running in the town. Green, from Serpentine Running Club in London, showed he has come back strong from an injury-hit couple of years to hold off strong challengers and reclaim the crown he had previously won from 2011-2013 and 2015.

While many saw in the arrival of British Summer Time recouping the hour of sleep they had lost overnight, hundreds of runners from across the region and beyond arrived early for this popular annual fixture on the roads from Sandy into Everton, organised by Biggleswade Athletic Club.

Marshals, resplendent in a selection of weird and wonderful hats – a tradition established on the race’s 25th anniversary four years ago – ensured smooth and safe running on a sunny yet cool morning in and around the town, as seasoned competitors rubbed shoulders with charity runners and first-timers.

Sandy 10 2017 Marshals - credit Paul Langshaw Photography
Hats and hi-viz for the marshals. Paul Langshaw Photography

Green’s time of 53m09sec was his second best effort on the course, and came despite having competed for his club the day before the race as part of a road relay. He said: “I was a bit unsure if it would leave me a bit heavy-legged but in the end it went very well. I felt really strong throughout and ended up only 10 seconds or so off the fastest time I ran here in 2012.
“The race was great. The weather was beautiful – if a bit windy in parts – and as always the organisation and support by marshals made for a very enjoyable day out.”

Rounding out the top three in the men’s standings were David Hudson of BRJ Running Club (54:44) and Steve Horton, from Bedford Harriers (55:02).

first lady finisher
Rebecca Mayles, No288, topped the women’s standings. Photograph: Julia Mackay

The women’s prize was taken by Rebecca Mayles from the Milton Keynes-based Redway Runners (1:03:49). Mayles, the 29th finisher overall, was tracked throughout by Wendy Webber, from local rivals Milton Keynes AC, who crossed the line 26 seconds behind in 1:04.15. Another Bedford Harriers athlete, Kirstie Sharman, took third in 1:05.01.

Men’s age group prizes went to Gary Blaber (Male veteran over 40, 1:00:06, Milton Keynes AC), Andrew Henderson (MV50, 1:02.35, Cambridge & Coleridge AC), David Frampton (MV60, 1:07.31, North Herts Road Runners) and Jim Fell (MV70, 1:21.55, Werrington Joggers). Riverside Runners took the men’s team prize. The prize for top local finisher, where only runners from SG18 and SG19 postcodes are eligible, went to Jamie Hall (ninth overall, 58:32).

On the women’s side the honours were taken by Christine Lathwell (Ladies veteran over 35, 1:05.48, Stopsley Striders), Paula Downing (LV45, 1:07.51, Mablethorpe Running Club), Nora Haggert (LV55, 1:16.26) and Annette Newton (LV65, 1:22.41, BRJ Running Club). The ladies team prize went to Bedford Harriers, who also took the Erlensee Cup given to the club who enter the most runners – a staggering 80 from the race’s 530 entrants. Elaine Livera (51st overall, 1:08.34) took the local prize.

Overall race winner Green, who now competes in the MV40 category, also ended the day awarded with the Roger Wadeley Trophy for the best overall age-graded performance of the day. Wadeley, who died in 2010 after a battle with cancer, was a Biggleswade AC stalwart for over three decades, and a talented racer who still holds 11 club records, two of which date back to the 1970s. Speaking of the accolade, his first age-graded award at the Sandy 10, Green said: “I was particularly pleased to win Roger’s trophy – I know how important he was to the club.”

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This year’s souvenir technical T-shirt.

All finishers received a souvenir technical T-shirt, featuring the slogan: ‘”Run 10 miles” they said … “It’ll be FUN!” they said.’ Once again the race supports the St John’s – Sue Ryder Hospice in Moggerhanger, who will benefit from the surplus race proceeds – since 2010 the hospice has received £10,750 from race organisers. For its 2017 running the Sandy 10 received vital sponsorship from returning partners Marshalls of Sandy, Tesco Sandy and The Barns Fitness Studios, Potton. Officers from Bedfordshire Police were an invaluable part of the organisation, lending support and a visible source of reassurance to marshals and runners at key points of the route where competitors crossed over open roads. Also on hand were Heart Services, who provided first aid cover.

MP Alistair Burt, himself a keen runner and former Sandy 10 entrant, started this year’s race and handed out the prizes. Afterwards he said the event is “always one of my best days of the year. Superb organisation from a great club.”

Full 2017 results here

More race photos from Paul Langshaw Photography here