A wet and windy Brands Hatch was the venue for this the Kent Cross Country Championship races on Saturday 8th January, with a strong A&D team out in force to take on not only the challenging conditions but some first class athletes from around the county.
First to go was Jack Hodges representing the club in a strong Under 20s men field, finishing the 6,100 metre course in a very credible 25:10 and claiming a place in the Top 20. Well done Jack!
The Senior Men were next off, with a 12,000 metre course consisting of one short and three unrelenting long laps. Trevor Kay was first home for A&D in 75th place overall with a brilliant time of 51:18. He was followed by Julius Samson with a great run in 109th place (54:08). Hot on his heels with another really strong performance was Paul Crisp in 114th and 45:37. Scott Lynch was just behind in 54:44 claiming 116th place. Next home was James Booth in 119th place (54:59) with the ever-reliable Paul Moses taking the final 6 to score place in 135th in a time of 56:54 – and securing a top 10 spot for the club in the competition.
Alex Francis and Mark Harrison battled it out with Francis taking 140th (57:12) and Harrison in 141st (57:25). Steve Hodges had a great race finishing in 144th in 57:45. Next across the line for A&D was Cris Francis in 151st (58:34) followed by Adrian Beresford (59:37), 157th and Daniel Head (59:34) just one place behind in 158th, completing the places in the 12 to score competition.
Richard Boakes and Michael Stanley both crossed the line in 60:14, with Boakes edging 161st place and Stanley in 162nd. Daniel Green was 166th (60:43) and Peter Buckley completed the team in 198th (75:49).
The Senior Ladies had the worst of the weather and ground conditions setting off for the 8,350 metres in the final race of the day.
Gemma Carter-Collins shook off some strong competition to claim a fantastic 25th place in 39:42 and cross the line first for A&D. Alice Cook and Alison Waters played cat and mouse for most of the race, with Cook finishing strongly to take 56th spot in 42:53 just 6 seconds ahead of Waters who took 57th in 42:59, to ensure a top 10 finish in the 3 to score competition. Tracey Calnan had another strong outing taking 62nd place in 44:13 just ahead of the ever improving Ailis Goddard just 8 seconds back in 44:21, 63rd place. Sally Smith took 67th in 44:59 to give the ladies 6 to score an excellent 5th place overall – a brilliant result against some very strong teams.
Next home was Lesley Taylor in 84th place with a solid time of 47:02. She was followed by Sophie Edmonds in 88th (47:22) and Jill Crofton-Martin close behind in 91st (47:29). Emma Hanna was next to cross the line in 92nd (48:16) with Massah Cooper (50:50) in 102nd, Jaclyn Kay (54:12) in 108th and Lucy Johnstone (57:24) in 110th bringing it home for the club.
Although quiet, the festive break did have a small number of events taking place. Rik Holden completed another marathon to add to his tally, on this occasion the Saxon Shore marathon on 28th December, where he produced another fine time of 3:49:33.
The End of the Year 10 Miler saw a trio of A&D runners compete on a very wet December day, all setting new personal bests for the distance. The course takes in the country lanes of Staplehurst with one sizeable hill at mile 7 to test the legs. Cris Francis was the first home in 29th place overall, setting an excellent time of 1:10:53 and finishing in 10th place in the M40-49 category. Darren Fagg was 51st in a time of 1:16:23 taking 15th in the M40-49 category. Alison Waters was 45th overall and 4th lady in 1:14:28, also taking the 1st place trophy in the VW45-54 category.
Edward Rodger took on the immense challenge of the Country To Capital Ultra Marathon on the 8th January. The 43 mile route took in a mix of muddy trails, hills and tow paths from Aylesbury to London, accompanied by plenty of rain. He finished his epic feat in 9:04:56. Well done Eddie!
A few determined runners took on a variety of parkruns to keep themselves moving over the Christmas and new year period. Steve and Jack Hodges and Trevor Sparkes ran at Ashford on Christmas Day, Jack setting a time of 19:15 in a brilliant 4th place overall with Steve in 15th. Sparkes was not far behind in 27:42.
Emma Jenkins (38:31) and Will Whittington (27:19) took to the flat route at Walmer and Deal on new year’s day, with Jenkins also running at Ashford the following week and improving her time to 36:56. Steve Hodges ran at Folkestone on new year’s day finishing in 21:12 on his first outing at the event.