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On what was a relatively quiet weekend for races there were still the usual gritty performances from a few of the club’s members who were willing to travel.

At the Canterbury Riverside 10k Cris Francis broke his way into the top 10 overall with 10th place and a speedy time of 44:14. Alison Waters wasn’t far behind as she battled the muddy, waterlogged course and finished with a time of 46:18.

Becky Hodgson, well known for her love of endurance events, ran the difficult challenge of the virtual Phoenix P12. Taking place over 12 hours, Becky ran a 1.1 mile loop on the hour, every hour, covering 13.5 miles in a total time of 2:49:58.

Slightly further afield in Gravesend Rik Holden completed a double marathon weekend by running the Whingeathon Marathon in 3:46:15 on Saturday followed by the Orc Rampage Marathon in a time of 3:55:05 on no doubt slightly tired legs on Sunday. Over 52 miles and 7.5+ hours of running in a single weekend made for a very impressive achievement indeed.

Those who chose to make the longest trip west to Eastbourne for the Beachy Head Marathon were met with overcast skies and strong, blustery winds for the 26.2 mile trail route awaiting them. First home for the club there was Gary Sage who enjoyed his 4:02:39. A short while later, after running the route together, the pair of Paul Ridley and James Booth finished their marathon in 4:24:11 and 4:25:11 respectively. Not far behind was Mark Attenborough who thoroughly enjoyed his race and finished in four hours, forty six minutes and thirty one seconds. Steve Hickman continues to impose the marathon treatment on his body and ran his race in 5:39:11 and just managed to beat Massah Cooper over her favourite distance whose time was 5:41:37. Lucy Johnstone worked hard for her medal and brought things home for the club after 6 hrs, 43 mins and 16 secs.

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Keeping the A&D racing flame alight this week, was Paul Moses.  Down, along the sea front, racing from Herne Bay to Whitstable, Paul battled the wind in the undulating Saxon Shore Half Marathon and crossed the line in an impressive 1:28:17.   Not only did he finish 13th overall but was also first in age category.  A true A&D Superstar.

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As Storm Alex lashed parts of England over the weekend plenty of hardy club members braved the elements and strode forth to race success.

The delayed Kent Spring Marathon offered full and half distances over a tough undulating course, beginning in Charing and taking in an off-road section of the Pilgrims Way before looping back through Westwell to complete its 13-mile loop. The course included slippery mud, plenty of climbs and a mojo sapping dogleg where a strange man in a black BMW lurked while snapping photos of people in lycra (thanks for the support, Scotty). Leading the A&D charge was Robert Latala who skipped around the challenging 26.2-mile course in a fantastic time of 2:50:30 to finish second place overall and steak an early claim for a repeat of his Club Mens Marathon Champion title for 2020 . After running the first 22 miles together, second finisher for the club and ninth on the day was Paul Ridley who clocked 3:14:19 closely followed home by the eleventh place overall James Booth registering 3:18:48 and thereby obliterating his PB with a massive 14 minute improvement. Andrew ‘Headband’ Noble finished in 3:30:27 in his first marathon since Berlin 2019. Next home was Mr. Consistent himself Rick Holden running a solid time of 3:34:07 with his young padawan Linda Delport registering a strong run of 3:39:19 and bringing things home first out of the A&D women. Next finisher was Mark Attenborough beginning a long period of racing by running a time of 3:53:19. Lesley Clancy, in her first ever attempt at the marathon distance, completed the race in a respectable 3:57:15 and achieved the notable milestone of a sub-4 time. Cris Francis was our next athlete home after running 4:07:34 before Tracey Calnan conquered the course in 4:13:13 and Jayne Fryer a mere six seconds behind with a time of 4:13:19. Helped along by her famous marathon-length training runs Massah Cooper managed 4:24:47 to round off the full marathoner results.

In the half marathon distance at the same event Alison Waters showed her class in blustery conditions to run 1:52:28, with Keith Lynn hot on her heels to finish in 2:02:55. Next A&D finisher was Ricky Yates running 2:16:13 with Lucy Johnstone not far behind with her time of 2:25:32.

Running laps of a lake was the order of the day for Alice Cook who spent exactly three hours and forty seven minutes admiring the scenery of Dorney Lake in her marathon. At the same time Steve Hickman ran only his 165th marathon in an excellent and palindromic time of 4:34:33 at the equally wet, windy and hilly Isle of Wight Marathon.

There was also a 10k race along the Hastings seafront which Aaron and Sarah Homewood enjoyed. The lovestruck couple finished in 48:37 and 58:47 respectively.

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A weekend of frantic winds and pouring rain saw a handful of hardy A&D members braving the elements to take part in some tough half marathon challenges.

First up and closest to home was the Folkestone Half Marathon.  Here, despite coastal headwinds, Hugh Scarlin crossed the line in an impressive PB time of 1.54.49.  Next home were Sarah Taylor (2.30.37) and Lesley Moody (2.30.42), who both showed strong determination and finished with seconds between them, with Moody also posting a PB over the distance.

 

Still coast bound but this time in Deal, the 4 Castles Challenge saw Paul Brasington take on this hilly, wet and windy race, and finish strongly in a remarkable 1.50.51.  Next home for the club and not to be deterred by the climbing trails and winds, was was Sue Reader (2.27.00), followed closely by Trevor Sparkes with a PB of 2.31.57, Rachel Jenkins (2.32.02) and Lucy Johnstone (2.32.03).

 

Such amazing performances all round, where not even the weather could dampen enthusiasm and determination.

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Ashford and District runners posted a series of excellent times around scenic Bewl Water this weekend.
Never to miss the opportunity to run a marathon, Rik Holden posted a time of 3:41:56. When Rik describes the event as ‘tough’ we knew that this was not an easy day’s work.
Linda Jean Delport’s battle with injury did not prevent a 4:25 run. An impressive run for a trails marathon and a reflection of the hard work Linda has been putting in.
To celebrate her birthday weekend Ingvild Drake ran a personal best of 4:34:14. A tremendous reward for the hours of training from someone who runs in Kings Wood so much must know most of the tree’s personally.
Ricky Yates has showed a massive improvement by running the half marathon in 2:45:17. A great achievement by Ricky who has only recently joined A&D but has been a regular throughout the recent Tuesday and Thursday training sessions.

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Thanks to the hard work of race organisers to ensure safe and COVID secure events, A&D RRC members were able to showcase yet another successful weekend of racing.

Keeping it local, Anne Fidge and John Fidge put on a remarkable performance at the Wingham 10k.  This undulating, mixed terrain course, in warm and windy conditions, saw them show determination and endurance as they crossed the line in 1:01:07 and 57:03 respectively.

Flying the A&D flag further afield, Rhian Shrimplin and Anthony Brown took part in the Kew Gardens 10k.  Putting her remarkable training schedule to the test, Shrimplin absolutely blazed round the course in a speedy 42:59, beating her previous PB by over 3 minutes and finishing 24th lady out of a field of 802.  Brown also impressed and crossed the finish line in 48:50.

Meanwhile, James Booth ran the 10km leg of the Channel Triathlon, which helped his team claim 2nd place overall.  Despite the heat and headwind, he completed the hilly 10km course in the 2nd fastest time of the day (38:39).

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On Friday 4th September and kicking off the race week was Rik Holden, impressing yet again with another marathon effort at the Cyclopark for the SVN 20 in 20 series. Showing true determination and running form, he stormed round the hilly trail course in an incredible 3:38:53.

Sunday 6th September saw a hardy A&D trio tackling the Chatham Maritime 10k.  First home for the club and claiming a PB over the distance was Adrian Beresford (43:31), he was closely followed by Adrian Moody (44:12) and Simon Jackson (49:28), who also claimed a PB.

Meanwhile down on the coast, dynamic duo Tracey Calnan and Ailis Goddard took on the Folkestone 10k. Sunny skies and and steely determination saw  Calnan finish strong in 47:37, with Goddard crossing the line in a respectable 54:26.

Travelling to Rye, Lesley Taylor (22:01) and Andrew Noble (20:05) both showed speedy form at The Rye Summer Classic 5k by coming first in the ladies and men’s Vet 55 age category respectively.

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Despite races being a bit slow to kick off, Thursday 27th August saw marathon regular, Rik Holden complete his second 26.2 miler for the month.  Here as part of the SVN 20 in 20 series at Cyclopark, Rik was the top finisher over the distance on this hilly trail course, finishing in an impressive time of 3.39.06.

 

 

 

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“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.

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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.