The Claygate Country Five continues to be a popular race with 26.2 club members, as was proved this year with what must be a record turn-out of 46 club members. Personally this is one of my favourite races on our calendar as the locality of the race and the 10:30am start allow time for a lie-in AND a leisurely breakfast. The course is an interesting mix of mostly forest trails, some suburban streets, and a few undulations. The race also has a nice “village fete” style atmosphere with it attracting more local fun runners than runners in club vests. GP points now updated.
The race starts and finishes on Claygate Recreation Ground with 500+ runners sprinting 100 metres to try and be first through the Recreation Ground gates before the inevitable concertina effect slows everyone down to a walk as the field gets compressed. With an added 90 degree turn onto the road and the small children burning off their initial enthusiasm by keeping up with Jack Holland it’s certainly a challenging start. Quite why they don’t start everyone on the road, stop the traffic for a few minutes and then get everyone to run a lap of the Recreation Ground at the end is beyond me, but it gives me something to write about in the race report.
After negotiating the early chicane the first quarter of a mile is on suburban streets before heading off on forest trails around Arbrook Common. An early puddle gave Grant Davison the opportunity to splash Kevin Stone, although evidently most of the water hit another runner who didn’t see the funny side. Had she known what was to come she probably wouldn’t have complained quite so much.
With the course being about 80% on trails also used by horse riders, the race usually either seems to be “muddy” or “dusty” depending on the type of summer we’re having. After the recent rain it was no surprise that this year’s course was definitely at the top end of the muddy scale, with huge ankle deep puddles and lots of squelchy mud. In the first mile the runners in my vicinity seemed more concerned with keeping their shoes clean than running a fast time, so there was lots of tip-toeing around puddles that didn’t help the already congested field on the narrow trails. After seeing an Epsom Allsorts runner take a dive into the mud from a puddle’s edge, ploughing through the middle seemed the best tactic and was less slippery. I also had an interesting moment where I was in mid air leaping over a puddle before I realised the lady in front of me had slowed to a walk, so it was too late to do anything except land on top of her. She didn’t seem too impressed, but it was her own fault and at least I didn’t knock her face first into the pile of mud that had slowed her up!
Although I wasn’t pushing myself too hard I found myself overtaking loads of runners in the first two miles before everyone else caught on that they were going to get a shoe full of water no matter what they did. I managed to stay on Sue Garnish’s shoulder for the first couple of miles until I foolishly told her she was going to get muddy anyway and she was losing time trying to dodge the puddles, after which she pulled away and left me in her dust (mud) trail (note to self: must work harder on race tactics).
At about the 4 mile mark the course goes up a steady hill on a narrow trail between two fields then exits onto a hump backed railway bridge, at which point in my race it also started raining which was actually quite pleasant and hopefully washed off some of the mud. The runner I’d been tailing for the last mile decided to walk at this point so I got her moving again by telling her “it was all down-hill from here!” . I wasn’t entirely telling the truth but it did get her going again, unfortunately only until she asked me how far to go at 4.25 miles and promptly stopped again. Maybe I should just be honest next time. The last mile of the race is through suburban streets with one non-tarmacced private road giving me the opportunity to step into an ankle deep puddle one last time before the finish back in Claygate Recreation Ground.
This seemed to be a bit of “Marmite” race with people either loving or hating it. Personally I hate cross country but I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a race as much as this one.
Jack Holland was first home for the club and in third place overall, with Katherine Wilson being the first lady home for the club also winning trophies for first lady overall in the race and first lady in her age category – well done to both! John Matthews and Luke McDonagh continued their recent good form by finishing 6th and 9th respectively, meaning there were three 26.2 runners in the top ten finishers.
Full results from Sports Systems website are as follows. Please let me know if anyone ran but was not listed as “26.2 RRC” and I will add them.
|3||00:30:19||Jack Holland||Senior Men (16-39)||35||70.73|
|6||00:30:47||John Matthews||Senior Men (16-39)||143||71.61|
|9||00:31:13||Luke McDonagh||Senior Men (16-39)||40||68.71|
|14||00:32:13||Chris Coghlan||Senior Men (16-39)||213||66.57|
|15||00:32:17||Kevin Parker||Senior Men (16-39)||161||66.88|
|20||00:32:30||Steve Watkins||Senior Men (16-39)||439||67.83|
|22||00:32:42||Robert Hinton||Male Vets (40-54)||237||71.48|
|27||00:33:20||Jason Blair||Senior Men (16-39)||447||64.34|
|31||00:33:24||Joseph Chang||Senior Men (16-39)||149||64.22|
|35||00:34:00||Katherine Wilson||Female Seniors (16-34)||136||69.98|
|37||00:34:16||James Thurston||Senior Men (16-39)||508||62.58|
|38||00:34:16||Richard Goulder||Male Vets (40-54)||160||65.24|
|43||00:35:09||Moustafa Fawzy||Senior Men (16-39)||82||61.02|
|47||00:35:17||Neil Parker||Senior Men (16-39)||309||60.79|
|66||00:36:59||Peter Grecian||Male Vets (40-54)||91||63.7|
|71||00:37:15||Simon Gerrard||Male Vets (40-54)||63||60.02|
|76||00:37:41||Patrick Tiernan||Male Vets (40-54)||434||64.02|
|89||00:38:30||Grant Davison||Senior Men (16-39)||288||56.47|
|92||00:38:37||Greg Whiteman||Male Vets (40-54)||43||59.17|
|99||00:39:01||Matthew Pritchard||Senior Men (16-39)||36||55.33|
|100||00:39:04||Libby Marchant||Female Seniors (16-34)||141||60.91|
|101||00:39:07||Graham Ashby||Male Vets (40-54)||548||59.3|
|119||00:39:41||Joanna Deeks||Female Vets (35-49)||310||61.21|
|123||00:39:45||Fiona McDonnell||Female Vets (35-49)||53||62.59|
|128||00:39:59||Natalie Coghlan||Female Seniors (16-34)||212||59.52|
|141||00:40:42||Kevin Stone||Male Vets (40-54)||235||56.14|
|143||00:40:48||David Pearce||Senior Men (16-39)||77||52.57|
|148||00:40:59||Zoe Ashcroft||Female Vets (35-49)||243||59.26|
|163||00:41:29||Oliver Webb||Male Vets (40-54)||231||54.29|
|176||00:42:24||Sue Garnish||Female Vets (35-49)||197||59.66|
|185||00:42:46||Kevin Furlong||Male Vets (40-54)||159||53.83|
|214||00:43:57||Nikki De Sousa||Female Vets (35-49)||74||57.07|
|225||00:44:26||Linda Grossmann||Female Seniors (16-34)||50||53.55|
|237||00:44:52||John Bennet||Male Vets (40-54)||468||52.49|
|251||00:45:33||Caroline Dawson||Female Vets (35-49)||171||59.02|
|254||00:45:36||Elaine Dodds||Female Super Vets (50 & o||154||62.41|
|267||00:46:19||Krystal Newbury||Female Seniors (16-34)||485||51.38|
|269||00:46:36||Bianka Elisabeth Ochs-Fawzy||Female Vets (35-49)||216||51.71|
|271||00:46:42||Peter Tozer||Male Super Vets (55 & ove||271||59.38|
|272||00:46:49||Amanda Waaler||Female Vets (35-49)||163||55.91|
|285||00:47:10||Natalie Warren||Female Seniors (16-34)||289||50.45|
|286||00:47:11||Mike Gray||Male Super Vets (55 & ove||135||52.85|
|308||00:47:53||Derick Wilkie||Male Super Vets (55 & ove||44||57.91|
|318||00:48:32||Amy Tomlins||Female Seniors (16-34)||533||49.03|
|334||00:49:25||Andrea Bennett||Female Vets (35-49)||81||53.43|
|382||00:53:03||Irene Rowe||Female Super Vets (50 & o||150||53.13|
Grand Prix Tables
are now up to date and available in the downloads section. Top 6 shown below.