“Brave men are all invertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle”.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
On a humid Sunday morning a trio of soft skinned tough guys toed the socially distanced start line in Peasmarsh to take on a challenging undulating course in the Rye 5 and 10 mile races. Following strict hygiene measures and starting their run in waves of twelve athletes at 5-minute intervals, Trevor Sparkes completed five miles in 48:38 for 28th place. Finishing his ten miles at almost the same time of day, Paul Ridley squeezed into the top-20 with his time of 1:08:02. Aidan Gorham ran his second race in as many weeks completing the same distance three (virtual) places ahead of Ridley in 1:06:57.
The previous week two newer club members ran the University of Kent Canterbury 10k. The flattish course yielded some impressive times with Aiden Gorham romping home in 38:32 to steal fifth place overall. Also running a strong race was Ricky Yates who clocked 1:04:22 and 122nd position.


Many Ashford & District RRC members have shown amazing effort and dedication to their running fitness regime over the past few months by taking part in various virtual runs.  This has resulted in an impressive collection of personal achievements and medals.   However, as the road race calendar slowly begins to open up, A&D members are once again able to start showcasing their running talents and put their lockdown training schedules to the test.

First up, and running his 2nd marathon in as many weeks, is the tenacious Rik Holden.   For this literal marathon effort he travelled to Betteshanger Park in Deal to take part in the SVN Dragon Run.  Here he took on this gruelling, off road, undulating trail route in the unforgiving summer heat to finish in an enviable 3.49.41.


Meanwhile down in Minnis Bay, Daniel Head took on the Smugglers 10k.   Not to be defeated by the heat or coastal headwinds, he raced round the course in an impressive 48.34, grabbing himself a PB over the distance.

A&D Sisters lead the way in The Lockdown League

The final week of our Lockdown League saw A&D sisters Christine Costiff and Gill O’Connor take top spots, whilst runners from Medway & Maidstone claimed the men’s titles.

See the full report here

Well done to all who took part! The League has saved us from a black hole of motivation during lockdown. We can’t wait to run against you all at an event soon!

Lockdown League

A&D RRC are excited to be entering the 7th week of their Lockdown League challenge.  The Lockdown League is a friendly, virtual running competition which is open to members and non members alike. We’ve had results submitted from local runners in Ashford Athletic Club, Ashford Striders and Beginners2Runners, as well as strong representation from further afield in South Kent Harriers, Sittingbourne Striders, Dover Road Runners AC, Medway and Maidstone AC, Maidstone Harriers, Folkestone Running Club, Deal Tri Club and Isle of Wight Road Runners, not to mention lots of unaffiliated runners.

Each week a running distance is posted by A&D member and Lockdown League creator, Ricky Hickman.  Entrants then have from 00:01 Monday to 18:00 Sunday to submit a time for their run over the specified distance for that week.  Runs can be any route but must start and finish in roughly the same place.  At the end of each week, Ricky then produces detailed results from all the submissions received.  These results are age graded and broken down into gender, age, and team categories to show the current week’s points, as well as a total overview of the competition standings as a whole.

The Lockdown League has proved extremely popular since it started, and has attracted runners from 26 different clubs as well as some unattached individuals.   On average there havebeen 196 competitors taking part each week, including an entrant from Torbay and regular submissions from the Isle of Wight.  Collectively over 3500 miles have been logged by those taking part.

The order of distances covered so far are:  5 miles, 3 miles, 6 miles and 4 miles.  This week there is a bit of a shake up with competitors being asked to see how far they can run in 1 hour.

At a time when social distancing has become a necessity, this virtual, interactive event has proved extremely popular.  It provides friendly competitiveness between the participants and gives a much needed focus and motivation to exercise routines.   Running regulars are keen to post new PB’s and those new to running are able to show impressive progress in their running regimes.  Runs can be saved to Strava and results are posted on the Facebook Lockdown League page.   Both platforms allow interaction between the individuals with many comments of motivation and support being posted.  In addition, floods of gratitude come in each week for Ricky, who set up this Lockdown Challenge and spends valuable time each week to produce the eagerly anticipated weeklyresults.

Full details of the Lockdown League are available on Facebook along with the comprehensive list of current results.  Remember, it is never too late to get involved and become part of this ever growing running community.





Latest Club News…

This week’s club news focuses on the fast growing world of Ultra Running. An ultra-distance event is any race which exceeds the standard marathon of 26.2 miles and they often take participants to remote places and through difficult weather conditions. Distances can range from the most common 50k right up to 1000 miles. Their popularity with runners looking for the next challenge now means hundreds of thousands of people run them every year.
Six A&D runners were interviewed on their ultra running experiences in a rare insight into the inner workings of endurance running.


In a week that rocked the running community with race cancellations across the board, A&D RRC members showed grit and determination with a weekend of awe inspiring racing.

Kicking it all off with an amazing show of stamina and endurance, was Mark Harrison with the Fortitude 10 hour challenge. This event saw him battling weather, terrain and mileage as he completed 6 x 4 mile laps, followed by 3 x 3 mile laps before knocking out a final 4 mile lap to finish. This ultra superhuman effort saw him complete a staggering 37 miles in total.

Taking on this years Thanet 20 (Ricki Savage) a hardy crew braved the wind and hills with an exciting selection of results. First home, and despite having raced 20miles the week before, Adrian Beresford ran an impressive 2.46.33.   Not only was this a PB for him over this distance, but he finished 29th overall and 3rd in his age category.   Massah Cooper (3.19.33) was the club’s first lady to cross the line, swiftly followed by Claire Williams (3.21.10) who completed her furthest running distance to date, and Ailis Goddard (3.21.10) who knocked an impressive 23mins off her previous PB. This trio of ladies also managed to take the ladies 3rd team prize. Next to finish was Hugh Scarlin (3.31.47) in his first official 20mile race, closely followed by Helen Weeden (3.35.15), Sarah Taylor (3.57.34) and Lucy Johnstone (4.03.28).

Anthony Brown and Rhian Shrimplin travelled to Bath to take on this years Half Marathon. Shrimplin showed excellent pace by completing the 13.1 miles in an incredible 1.47.22. Brown, making a comeback from injury, ran an equally impressive 1.56.01.

Dartford Half marathon saw Andrew Noble (1.26.38) and Lesley Taylor (1.39.58) take on yet another 13.1 mile race this month. Both showed excellent form, with Noble finishing 22nd overall and Taylor claiming the 1st in age V55 trophy.

Despite wet conditions, Ashford Parkrun saw a flurry of A&D members tackle the course this week. First home and 7th overall was Paul Moses in an impressive 19.37, he was followed closely by Scotty Lynch (19.39) in 8th position.   Despite having just completed a 20mile training run, the next 3 athletes home, Paul Ridley (20.37), James Booth (20.43), and Julius Samson (20.47) took the 9th, 10th and 11th slots respectively. Gary Sage (21.23) was not far behind in 15th position, and coming in first for the ladies and 19th overall was Linda-Jean Delport (21.37). Not to be out done, Stuart Nunn impressed with his fastest Parkrun in over 3 years, by finishing with a time of 22.05. Next up was William Whittington (25.02), Rod Kessack (25.09), Lesley Moody (33.16), Sarah Taylor (34.55), Hugh Scarlin (34.55) and Emma Jenkins (58.07) who showed great determination in making her first appearance since injury.

A&D also represented well with Parkrun Volunteers with Terry Sellen being this weeks RD, also volunteering were James Booth, Alice Cook, Becky Hodgson, Helen Marshall, Simon Jackson and Keith Lynn.

Taking part in some Parkrun Tourism was Christine Costiff who ran Bedgebury trail Parkrun and finished 16th overall in a time of in 21.46.   Salisbury Parkrun benefited with a visit from Rhian Shrimplin and Anthony Brown who completed the multi-terrain course in 27.55 and 27.56 respectively. Travelling to Cambridge Parkrun, Lesley Taylor and Andrew Noble both ran the course in a time of 23.48

Latest Club News…

Rik Holden kicked off the weekend’s racing on Saturday recording an impressive 3:51:45 over a muddy marathon distance at the SVN Book Day Challenge. This was Rik’s sixth marathon of the year. Helen Weedon also took on the event, covering a solid 17.61 miles in a time of 3:34:51.

On Sunday for the second year in a row A&D’s finest battled the blustery winds of Lydd as they took on the 20 mile and Half Marathon events. The race suited many of the club’s runners targeting Spring marathons with its flat, out-and-back course providing opportunities for steady pacing and a test of training so far. In the 20 mile distance Paul Ridley was first home for the club beating his PB by 6 minutes to finish in 2:16:53, followed by the duo of Julius Samson, also setting a new personal best of 2:19:13, and Andrew Noble chasing him down for 2:19:37. Next home was James Booth whose heart rate training paid off to see him achieve a PB comfortably in 2:21:03 while men’s captain Scotty Lynch finished 63rd overall and 4th Vet50 in 2:21:57. Mark Attenborough used his extensive ultra experience to finish in 2:32:27 and the club’s first lady back was Linda Delport in her longest race so far, stopping the clock at 2:35:44. Cris Francis finished ahead of John Beale, who was also running 20 miles for the first time, in 2:37:44 and 2:38:16 respectively. Keith Haynes edged Adrian Beresford for 10th home for the club in 2:49:45 with Beresford only fifteen seconds behind and running a PB of 2 hours and 50 minutes exactly. The final sub-3 finisher was Essen Larsen in 2:52:18. Sandy Mortimer continued her push for marathon success with a strong first attempt at the distance to finish in 3:02:33 and then five minutes later another experienced member of A&D, Mark Carlton, finished strongly despite the strong headwind to chalk up 3:07:49. Aaron Homewood continued the club’s strong showing to finish in a respectable 3:08:26. Running a 3:18:35 long-distance specialist Eddie Rodger arrived home looking fresh and was followed by Karine Reid and Nick Erskine rounding off the club’s entries to both PB the distance in their times of 3:26:32 and 3:26:42.


In the Half Marathon distance Johnny Wells once again proved his stamina taking on the distance in 1:27:24 to grab 17th place overall. Christine Costiff finished 4th lady and won her age category in 1:40:54, followed closely by Carl Ireland who ran a strong race to record 1:41:47. Stuart Nunn overcame the windy conditions to finish in 1:47:41 before Massah Cooper’s weekly marathon training runs brought her over the line in 1:58:25. The pair of Ailis Goddard and Claire Williams ran the distance together, encouraging each other to a double PB of 2:01:53 and 2:01:54 respectively. Rounding out the Half distance racers was Lucy Johnstone who battled the wind for the final 3 miles to clock 2:19:48. 

At Ashford Parkrun a lone A&D participant in Alison Waters completed the 5k around Victoria Park in a rapid 24:14.

At the SVN Funky Pants Challenge several members braved the slippery mud of King’s Wood, Challock. Lesley Moody finished the Half Marathon distance first in 3:04:15 and was followed in by Sarah Taylor in 3:14:11. Next to complete the muddy course in 3:28:25 was Becky Hodgson and later Rachel Jenkins ended her day having covered 17.5 miles in 4:21:41.

Latest Club News…

Kicking off the A&D RRC run week was Rik Holden, marathon runner extraordinaire, who decided that why run one marathon in a week, when you can run two?   His first 26.2mile outing was the Marathon Day Marathon (26.2 miles on 26th February) and despite the challenging windy conditions, he completed the distance in an impressive 3:33.22. Undeterred, 4 days later he then ran the Olympic Challenge Marathon, where he conquered the mud, wind and hills in an equally impressive 3:49.44.

On Saturday 29th February, despite a torrential downpour, wind and copious amounts of mud courtesy of Storm Jorge, Cris Francis, Alison Waters and Becky Hodgson decided to brave the SVN Leap Year Challenge.   Hodgson ran an impressive 13.1miles in 3:15.18, while Francis (2:53:45) and Waters (2:55:59) completed 17.5miles, coming first and second respectively in the 4 lap category.

Sunday 1st March saw Simon Jackson and Will Whittington travelling to London to take part in the Vitality Big Half. Here Jackson absolutely smashed his own half marathon PB by completing the distance in an amazing 1:53:53, with Will Whittington crossing the line shortly after in a very accomplished time of 2:03:11.

Taking part in this years hilly and muddy Steyning Stinger Trail Marathon was Stephen Hickman (5.49.01) and Keith Lynn (06.04.04). Hickman has now clocked up an impressive 18 of these marathons in a row and raises his total of completed marathons to a staggering 164.

Meanwhile, Jacklyn Kay (2:00:34) and Ricky Yates (2:18:33) both took part in the rescheduled windy Deal Half Marathon, which was completed over a 6.5 lap circuit at Betteshanger Country Park.

Keeping it coast bound, Andrew Noble (1.29.20) and Lesley Clancy (1.41.20) showed determination and pace at the Eastbourne Half Marathon by setting excellent times over the gruelling 13.1 mile distance.

Further afield, Alice Cook took part in the very hilly Berkhamsted Half Marathon, and completed the hilly course in an unofficial PB time of 1.43.19.

Latest Club News…

A powerful squad of six represented A&D at the English Cross Country National Championships at Wollaton Park, Nottingham, on Saturday. The scenic course around the lakes and grounds of Wollaton House was described  as “one of the toughest” Men’s Captain Scotty Lynch had ever run. Waterlogged ground, with knee-high mud at points, made the races a true test of mettle and strength against thousands of the nation’s finest.

Despite the soggy conditions underfoot, ladies Massah Cooper (633rd; 52min 19sec) and Lucy Johnstone (860th; 1.03.57) ran their 8K race with aplomb. With ground and groundwater freshly churned by the ladies, A&D’s men finished their “cruel” 12K course in quick succession. Andrew Noble (929th) lead the men home in 1.01.25, followed by Tom Preece (987th; 1.02.13) in his best run of the season. Scotty Lynch (1053rd) was next home for the club in 1.03.21, followed by Adrian Moody (1087th) in 1.03.55.

Sunday saw Ingvild Drake hit the trails for the Lenham Cross Winter Marathon. Starting and finishing in Detling, the course featured treacherous descents and steps. Drake finished 4th lady, with a time of 5.27.00.

Three A&D runners contended with Sunday’s strong winds to represent the club at the Brighton Half Marathon. Marking a five-year PB streak on the course, James Booth achieved a PB of 1.27.00, more than 27 minutes faster than his time in 2016. Gill O’Connor placed 212nd in a field of 3431 women, with a time of 1.46.16. Reaping the benefits of focused and disciplined training, Julie Foster crossed the finish line in 3.03.20. Meanwhile, James Phillips flew the A&D flag down under at the Melbourne Half Marathon; in scorching 30C heat, Phillips crossed the finish line in 1.51.37.

Back on the trails, A&D duo Rhian Shrimplin and Anthony Brown took on the Trosley Park 10k, near Rochester. The pair showed their trail-running prowess along the muddy woodland course, as well as nimbly climbing a total of 174 steps during the race. Shrimplin was 4th lady over the finish line, with a time of 54.34; Brown finished in 57.11.

Fresh from an impressive performance at the Cross Country Nationals, Andrew Noble rounded off the weekend in the East Midlands by racing the Stilton 7 alongside Lesley Taylor.

A&D Runners Beat Storm Dennis

The threat of Storm Dennis did not deter the hardy souls of Ashford and District over the weekend.

The weekend started at Betteshanger and the SVN Heroes and Villains Challenge. Ever the master of understatement in conditions he described as being ‘nasty’, Rik Holden completed the marathon distance in 3:42:30 and a heroic third place. Lucy Johnstone and Becky Hodgson ran the half marathon distance in 2:43:30 and 3:17:00. The only villains on the day being the wet and windy weather.


Headcorn half marathon saw an impressive turnout of 19 runners from the club. First home for A&D was Julius Samson in 13th overall and 3rd V50 in a time of 1:26:48. Next home was Paul Moses, 17th overall and 4th V50 in 1:30:02. Scotty Lynch was hot on Pauls heels in 18th and 5th V50 in a time of 1:30:28. With Linda-Jean Delport finishing 3rd lady and 2nd V45 in 1:39:23, this gave A&D the team prize. Mark Harrison showing tremendous form completed his first half marathon in 1:34:21 and 26th place. Richard Baker 33rd, 1:38:21, John Beale 35th, 1:39:04, Chris Francis 39th 1:40:10 and Adrian Beresford in 40th, 1:40:42 surfed their way round the waterlogged course to give Ashford 9 runners in the top 40 finishers.

Don Dewer, 85th in 1:49:48, was closely followed in by Ian Grundy taking the V60 prize with a time of 1:51:53.

Sandi Mortimer was next home and was 18th lady finisher in 1:53:12. Alison Waters ran a personal best time of 1:53:52, placing her 22nd lady. Ed Rodger would not be deterred by a splash of rain finished 113th and 1:53:03. Simon Jackson targeted a sub two hour time and his determination was rewarded with a personal best time of 1:58:13 and 138th place. Ailis Goddard suffered with stomach cramps from early in the race but fought through to a time of 2:01:26 and 38th lady. Helen Weeden finished in 2:05:58, 46th lady, and Sarah Homewood returning from injury was 78th lady in a time of 2:21:57.

Lucy Johnstone heroically completed her second half marathon on a treacherous weekend in a time of 2:42:21 and 89th lady.


In her first half marathon for quite a while,the  Tunbridge Wells half saw Lesley Taylor take the ladies V55 prize with an impressive time of 1:41:43. Andrew Noble finished in an excellent time of 1:27:58. Rhian Shrimplin posted a superb time of 1:55:05 over a challenging course and unpleasant conditions.



A successful weekend for A&D was capped with Chris Costiff taking the 1st lady prize at the Tenterden 5 mile.