Grand Prix Race 8 – Tadworth 10

The results are up for the Tadworth 10 and posted below, well done to everyone who completed a very tough course! GP points are available in the downloads section, and there’s a JM write up below, click on read more.

We also managed to finish as 2nd men’s team overall (first three runners for each club scored) and the 1st ladies team overall (Katherine Wilson, Libby Marchant and Julie Chasin). Ann bath has your prizes ladies!

For me, this is a course on which every year I long for a walk break, and feel like I’m only one hitch (did that horse just look at me funny? Can I make that story justify a DNF?) away from pulling out. As Kevin has already said above, “well done” to everyone who was there. The Tadworth 10 is a race that just never lets go of you. Apparently, and this is not an attempt to tap into the current “50 shades” zeitgeist, I’m a masochist, as I’ve run this race 6 times, more than any other. Included in that was a day when the contents of cups at water stations was frozen, and yet I’m not convinced that that day was any harder than the milder, if frosty day we were faced with. It even starts uphill, before allowing you a downhill stretch and even on that runners are spending their time looking for the best line – ploughed field, grass, muddy track? – before the long, long drag up Ebbisham lane. Which gets steeper as you get near to the top, and on the second time round (did I mention it’s laps, so you know you’re seeing every section again?) someone adds an extra corner or two with just a bit more hill than you remember.

All that and yet at this point you’re only a couple of miles in. So particular congratulations to the first-timers (and sorry to any I’ve missed), Alasdair, Kevin Furlong (how have you gone this long?!), Jo Deeks, John Bennett and Nikki De Sousa – the latter a smidge nervous that this might not be the ideal 10miler to start with. John called it “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” though on reflection maybe I missed the preface “tonight will be…” given Andrea’s joy at beating both him and Sue Garnish. If you can beat people on a course that tough you can rest on your laurels, I reckon, no need to beat them on the flat.

To the club race. With 32 of us there on the day almost all had someone in the red, white and blue in sight, prompting some great performances to go along with those who finished slightly disappointed, and those who finished purely glad it was all over. In the women’s race, Katherine Wilson kept up her perfect year, to stand almost uncatchable at the top of both Grand Prix tables. Libby and her bottle were next home; averaging well under 8 minute mile pace she was some way clear of Natalie Coghlan and Zoe Ashcroft, and faster even than Zoe had been last year, though I’m not sure this race has ever seen Zoe fully match fit. Sarah Pettefer did well to finish ahead of the strong-running Jo Deeks, though none of these 6 enjoyed their finish as much as Andrea Bennett, as mentioned above. Andrea – if we offered you a handicap championship or Sunday’s finish ahead of your rivals, which would you take? Sue was next in, and will not feel too vanquished seeing as Andrea was only just over a minute ahead; there are other battles to come yet. Nikki started with Maria but soon found she had underestimated her strength and pushed on, to finish narrowly ahead of a smiling Krystal Newbury, the even-paced Ann Bath and Maria Cenalmor, whose own will had not yet been sapped by the Ikea flatpacks that awaited her at home. The ladies also took the team prize though they were boosted by whoever ran in Julie’s number finishing 13th. Given that we could have taken the men’s prize, it almost feels like karma gave us that honour, but we have technically robbed (I think) Dulwich Runners of it. I’m sure they’ve won plenty over the years.

In the men’s race, Danny Norman will be in Long Ditton during the week for the free course, “Dominic Collier’s lace tying tips for tykes” after a stop in front of the crowds lost him several seconds and a little of his willingness to fight for places on the day. Nevertheless, a fifth place finish brought him a prize and boosted us to 2nd team. He did wonder if Lucy Lace had cost him enough places to drop us down a place in the team race and, well, bad news, we missed 1st by 2 points. However, Danny has improved the team so much that it’s up to the rest of us to up our game if we want team prizes, so no blame attached*. Jack “Ib had a code
bud id buch bedder dow” Holland was a little off form which allowed Luke “thank you Marshal. Good morning, hello dog. Thanks horse riders, oh go on then just a quick Pint” McDonagh to surge away off the hill and me to join him. Luke was as usual chatting to everyone in sight – I’m not sure that swapping full Christmas stories at 4 miles is normal, but I managed to force out a sentence or two – which he says is to relax him, but is surely also borne of great strength and fitness. Behind us Deccy was back on song in club colours and managed, interestingly (yes it is), to equal his time from the Pirie 10. That’s a mighty tough course, and shows how tough Tadworth is. Jack was by now fed up of being beaten by old men and managed to hold off Mark Weight and Rob Hinton, both getting over 70% age-grading.

Alasdair Reisner stayed ahead of Richard Goulder and Neil Parker, who just needs to release fluids on the fly to move up a place or two. And lose friends. John Sweeney showed a return to fitness with a sub 8-minute mile average, ahead of Simon Gerrard. Simon is next on Captain Kev’s “people wot I will pass” list , with just over a minute between them. Ricky Emery may hope to be dragged along with him, timewise at least, not being far behind. Oliver Webb will be pleased with a time comfortably below 1:30, while our 6th (!) men’s team on the day was made up of Greg Whiteman, John Bennett and Kevin Furlong. Javier looked as happy as ever at the finish, with The Major rounding off our scoring, and beating runners up to 25 years younger in the age-graded standings.

Support was very welcome, from Binkie and Nellie on the course and Kevin Parker, Caroline Dawson, Tom and Ros at the halfway/finish mark. There are some great photos that Raf has kindly uploaded, do take a
look. Well done again to you all, next GP is the Perch, 6.25miles, 10.30am on 27th Jan, enter for £13 at Sport Systems

Pos Time Name
5 01:00:07 Danny Norman
20 01:04:07 Luke McDonagh
22 01:04:27 John Matthews
25 01:05:56 Declan Flynn
49 01:08:18 Jack Holland
50 01:08:23 Mark Weight
82 01:10:07 Robert Hinton
92 01:11:20 Katherine Wilson
114 01:13:47 Alasdair Reisner
127 01:14:47 Richard Goulder
130 01:14:55 Neil Parker
164 01:17:30 Libby Marchant
184 01:19:30 John Sweeney
199 01:20:31 Simon Gerrard
221 01:21:35 Kevin Stone
222 01:21:47 Ricky Emery
249 01:24:00 Natalie Coghlan
252 01:24:10 Zoe Ashcroft
263 01:24:36 Sarah Pettefer
266 01:24:42 Joanna Deeks
347 01:28:19 Oliver Webb
375 01:30:18 Greg Whiteman
380 01:30:45 Andrea Bennett
390 01:31:12 John Bennett
400 01:31:56 Sue Garnish
408 01:32:18 Kevin Furlong
422 01:33:09 Javier Fuentes
465 01:36:39 Nikki De Sousa
467 01:36:46 Krystal Newbury
502 01:40:52 Derick Wilkie
505 01:41:15 Ann Bath
511 01:41:45 Maria Cenalmor


* you great *&$*(£$$£”, what the &*”*”*; *shoe laces!*, at your level of *!*”£*** experience. Where’s our **£*”*!* prize?