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Half Marathons were the order of the weekend for club runners this week, with Trevor Sparkes heading off to the picturesque Hampton Court to compete on the mixed tarmac and off road course as part of a field of 2000 athletes. His time of 2 hours 11 minutes 27 seconds bagged him a new personal best time, shaving off over 3 and a half minutes off his previous best time.
Sandra Gooding – taking part in her first ever half marathon – took to the streets of Folkestone, a lovely flat course with a notoriously steep hill to finish. She achieved an excellent time of 2 hours 31 minutes 21 seconds.
The return of parkrun events in the UK has given club runners the opportunity to take part in both the local event at Victoria Park and other parkrun events throughout the UK.
At Ashford Keith Haynes had an excellent run, clocking a finish time of 20:57 – a top 20 finish and 3rd in his age category. He was hotly pursued by Simon Jackson, who was surprised at his own speed, crossing the finish line in a new personal best time of 23:50.
Elsewhere Ann and John Fidge travelled to the hot and sunny Isle of Wight and took part in the Medina IOW parkrun at Appleby Park in Ryde. The 1 lap course described as ‘undulating’ was mainly off road with a short section along the promenade, but undeterred by this John crossed the line in 31:23 with Ann shortly behind him in 32:06.
Cris Francis and Alison Waters were also on their travels, at the Lydiard Park parkrun in Swindon. Despite the start being shrouded in a cloud of thick mist the sun soon broke through, unveiling a 2-lap trail course with a long section on damp grass. Despite the challenging conditions, Francis flew round in 19:55, another superb sub-20 minute finish. Waters was not too far behind, finishing in a new PB time of 22:32 and 2nd lady in the rankings.

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Darren Fagg’s Ultra-Impressive Performance
Dedicated training and thorough course reconnaissance meant that Darren Fagg was justly rewarded on his first ultra distance event. Darren was first to cross the line in the 55 mile Cliff Top Challenge running for just over 12 hours.
Club-mate Paul Brasington completed the half marathon distance in 4hrs and 40 minutes.
Meanwhile in East Sussex the popular Rye Ancient trails 30K race was well attended by the A&D distance runners. Paul Ridley showing his experience at running trails finished in 2:26:53 and a very impressive 8th place. In an event he always looks forward to, Mark Attenborough completed the course in 2:50:32, with training partner Richard Baker finishing in 3:24:44. Chris Costiff finished 4th lady and first in her age category with a superb time of 2:57:21. Not to be deterred by a nasty fall leading to a broken collarbone, Gill O’Connor finished 12th lady and 3rd in her category in a time of 3:24:44.
The Great North Run is one of the classic races in the running calendar and the A&D representatives provided outstanding performances. The ever impressive Michael Davies ran the half marathon in a time of 1:35:52, finishing 1st in his age category. A truly stunning run in a world class field. Andrew Noble put in a trademark solid performance in a time just over the 90 minute mark. Dave Chappell made the trip to the north-east worthwhile with a personal best time of 1:42:08. Simon Jackson once again beat the 2 hour mark with 1:51:56. Tremendous efforts all round on a course described by the elite athletes as challenging.
The Wingham 10k is a tough hilly course. This did not deter Adrian Moody who posted a time of 46:29. Not to far behind Adrian was Mark Carlton in a time of 48:24. A gritty run by Trevor Sparks was rewarded with a time of 61:19.
There was club success at the Staplehurst 5k and 10k on Sunday. Stu Nunn took the honours with 4th place overall and 1st V45 with a very satisfying time of 22:14. Verity Dunbar ran a time of 31:49 finishing 20th lady. Lesley Moody opted for the 10k race finishing 10th lady with a time of 1:02:13.
Chris Francis and Alison Waters traveled to Bowood to take part in the Outlaw Half Ironman Triathlon. Chris completed the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and half marathon on 5:47:41, Alison closely following in 6:09:45.
The Brighton Marathon is a must do event for the A&D marathoners. An occasion always well attended by runners and supporters and the 2021 race did not disappoint. A mistake with cone placement led to the course being over 300 metres longer than the recognised marathon distance, an extra challenge in an already challenging race.
Julius Samson justified his decision to run even though he has been struggling with injury and put down a time of 3:13:08. James Booth ran yet another impressive marathon with a time of 3:22:42. As it is the weekend Rik Holden is running a marathon! He took on pacing duties for Linda Jean Delport and was rewarded for his efforts with a pair of ruined running shoes due to a digestive issue from Delport. Not to be beaten by an adverse reaction to a gel Linda Jean crossed the finish line with Rik completing her 10th marathon in 3:49:28.
Mark Harrison beat the 4 hour mark in his first marathon with a time of 3:59:17.
In his first year with A&D and first marathon Richard Boakes was very impressive with his time of 4:01:19. Another newcomer to the club, Matt Hardwick put down a good marker with a time of 4:09:27. Ingvild Drake ran a personal best marathon time of 4:23:14, reward for the long training miles Ingvild puts in. Also running a 4:23 marathon was Massah Cooper. Ed Roger completed the course in 4:32:07.
Steve Hickman running his 168th marathon finished in 4:47:28. Lucy Ellen Johnston building on her solid training miles posted a time of 5:14:01
To underline how challenging the marathon is, club captain Adrain Beresford was unable to complete the marathon. Adrain’s meticulous preparation was scuppered and he required medical attention on the course. We all wish him well and know he will be back stronger and wiser.

Nick Collins Smashes Club Record

The half marathon at Paddock Wood provides a great opportunity to test how themarathon preparations have been going on a fast and competitive course.
Nick Collins, impressive as ever, finished in 28th place and 9th in age category with a new club record in the V40 category with a time of 1:14:14.
Another great run from Alice Cook was good for a top 20 place in the ladies race with a time of 1:47:04. Returning to his old stomping ground, Stu Nunn felt the heat in the second half of the race but still managed a creditable time of 1:49:46.
It was the second running of the Badlesmere 10k on Sunday. An undulating course and a particularly brutal last 1k provides a tough challenge for the competitors.
Paul Moses finished in 3rd place with a time of 42:53. Paul Crisp, running his first race for the club took 6th place and 1st V40 with 44:09. Running on home territory, Adrian Mood finished in 16th with 48:07. But for a mix up at registration, this would have given A&D first place in the men’s teams.

The ladies were led home by Chris Costiff with 49:49 being good for 4th place. Strong runs from Sally Smith in 6th with 51:29 and Emma Hanna, 7th in 51:40 secured A&D the ladies team prize. An impressive run by Holly Cook with a time of 52:59 and 9th place underlined a strong team performance.
The London Summer 10k was another good excuse for Emma Jenkins to make a trip to the capital. Emma completed the 10k in 82:04.

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Distance running was the main focus for club members this week, and while many are piling on the pre-marathon miles, a few hardy souls turned their training miles into races.
Linda-Jean Delport took on the SVN Zodiac Challenge at Gravesend Cyclopark on Friday 27th August, completing the 8 laps needed to achieve the Marathon distance in 4 hours 17 minutes 41 seconds, and earning herself the Aquarius medal as a reward. Rik Holden and Alison Waters chose Sunday’s Gemini-themed day at the same event; marathon man Holden completing the 26.2 miles in 3 hours 44 and 30 seconds, and Waters completing 16.4 miles over 5 laps in 2:23:40.
The Bank Holiday Monday Canterbury Half Marathon provided plenty of challenging hills for A&D’s athletes to overcome. Keith Haynes was first home for the club in an excellent time of 1:35:59 to finish in 27th place overall and second in his age category. Christine Costiff was close behind in 1:41:24, finishing in a fantastic 6th place for the ladies and 1st in her age category. Peter Buckley ran a new personal best for the distance in 2:12:22 and Trevor Sparkes completed the run in 2:15:03 – also a new personal best for a half marathon.
Keith Haynes also took part in Ashford parkrun on Saturday 28th, finishing 2nd in his age category in a time of 20:50.

Testing Twenty Miles at Lydd

The Lydd 20-mile race is one of the traditional test events for those in the midst of marathon preparation. The conditions on Sunday were quite a contrast to those usually faced when the event is held earlier in the season. The heat built up through the morning and the cooling breeze at the start of the race became a challenging headwind for the finish.
Leading the A&D runners’ home was Nick Collins in 8th pace and 2nd vet 40 in a time of 2:02:47, a tremendous run on a day when the first 2 finishers took the course record. Andrew Noble showing an impressive return to form finished in 29th place and 2nd vet 55 with 2:22:48. Next home was James Booth in 2:29:17 and 43rd, closely followed by Julius Samson in 45th with 2:29:22. A great return to competition for Julius following a series of injuries.
Richard Boakes continues to impress and in his longest race to date finished in 67th place with 2:40:18.
First of the A&D ladies home was Linda-Jean Delport with 2:42:34 finishing 13th lady and 5th in her age category.
Mark Attenborough took a break from his usual trail events to face the crowds of Lydd and was in 91st place with 2:47:41. Club Captain Adrian Beresford showed no ill effects from his daughter’s wedding the day before and topped up his tan with run of 2:50:37 earning him 100th place and 5th in the vet 55’s.
Steve Hodges run was not without drama, the conditions on the day led to dehydration and a tough mental test to reach the finish. Steve was able to beat the three-hour mark with a time of 2:59:34 and a creditable 130th place. Hugh Scarlin placed 189th with 3:18:30. Stu Nunn suffered with a knee injury at the halfway point but was still able to complete the event in a time of 3:33:07.
It was Simon Jackson’s longest race to date and good training mileage was rewarded with a time of 3:36:02.
The A&D team were completed by Massah Cooper, 3:52:25, Lucy Johnstone 3:55:45 and Sarah Taylor 4:14:51.
A trio of runners took the half marathon option at Lydd.
Continuing her series of impressive results was Emma Hanna, 9th lady and 1st in age category with a time of 1:52:00. Paul Moses was placed 18th and 2nd vet 55 with a time of 1:30:24. Richard Baker was offering pacing duties on the day completed the course on 1:59:10.
Chris Costiff was 1st lady at the Tamar Trails 5k with a time of 22:33.
Ashford Park Run saw A&D runners Aiden Gorham and Trevor Kay battle out for 1st and 2nd place. Aiden taking the honours with an impressive fast finish and a time of 17:44, Trevor close behind at 17:49. The club was well represented with Dave Chappell, Ian Grundy, Hazel Turner, Will Whittington, Rachel Jenkins, Jacklyn Kay, Sandra Gooding, Lucy Johnstone, Emma Jenkins, and Julie Foster also running. It was also good to see a number of A&D runners supporting the event by assisting in marshalling duties.

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Holden Marathons in Mordor
Rik Holden competed in the Tolkien trail marathon completing the wet and muddy course around Ashenbank Wood with an impressive time of 3:40:41.
Sarah Taylor took part in the Bedgebury Summer Series 10k and finished in a time of 1:10:39.
Tough weather conditions with torrential rain and strong a head wind presented a challenge to runners at the Twilight Chase with a 6 hour out and back circuit along a very windy Rye Harbour. Aaron Homewood covered 30.8 miles in the 6 hours. Sarah Homewood certainly tested her injured calf with a half marathon distance covered in 2:29:40. Lucy Johnstone was second lady covering 22 miles in 4:23:32. Steve Hickman encouraging Lucy over the distance covered 22.65 miles.
The Mount Ephraim 10k offered a testing run for the A&D runners on Sunday. Scotty Lynch ran a personal best on the course in 40:00 with 5th place. Made even more impressive as this followed a 19:07 park run on Saturday. Next home for the club in 8th place overall with a time of 41:26 was Paul Moses. The trio of veterans was completed by Adrian Moody in 22nd place with a time of 47:01.

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A&D RUNNERS FEATURE AT EAST PECKHAM 10K
It proved to be a good day for A&D runners at the East Peckham 10k. Club new boy Richard Boa kes broke the 40 minute barrier with 39:39 being good for 17th place. Reward for the intense racing schedule and training put in by Richard.
Michael Davies ran an impressive time of 42:49 finishing 34th overall, and 1st in his age category on the Southern Counties VAC championships.
The Vanguard Way Trail Marathon is a tough and hilly course running in the North Downs between Croydon and Westerham. This was a challenge taken on by Chris Costiff and Gill O’Connor finishing 1st and 2nd in their age categories with time of just over 5 hours.
Rather than the usual ice and cold winds for the Canterbury 10 mile, hot and humid conditions were the order of the day. A good turnout from Ashford and District saw Trevor Kay first home in 10th place overall with a personal best for the course in a time of 1:01:40. Next over the line was Scotty Lynch with his fastest time for 5 years, 27th overall and 2nd in his age category with a time of1:05:32. A strong run by Linda Jean Delport was rewarded with a time of 1:13:21 and 2nd in her category in a very strong field.
Hugh Scarlin continuing his great run of form finished in 86th place with a time of 1:17:25, closely followed by Adrian Moody, 97th in 1:18:29 and Dave Chappell 104th with a time of 1:19:07. Sophie Edmonds put in another impressive race finishing in 4th place in her category with a time of 1:22:25.
Stu Nunn continues to improve and put in a determined run to post a time of 1:24:48. Sarah Taylor ran well to beat the 2 hour mark with a time of 1:56:02.
The club was well represented at the London Landmarks Half Marathon. Adam Clegg broke his personal best for the distance by over 4 minutes with a time of 1:44:42. Next home was Claire Williams in 2:14, followed by Will Whittington in 2:21:03, Peter Buckley in 2:23:57 and Emma Jenkins in 3:14:21.
Steve Hickman travelled to the Summer Running Festival in Dorset. Steve was 2nd in his age category on a hilly 10 mile trail course with a time of 2:06:56. Following this up with a fancy dress 8 mile race in 1:47:43.

SAXON SHORE SCORCHER

The hottest day of the year so far saw a large contingent of Ashford and District runners head to the seaside for the Saxon Shore Half Marathon. The course was unforgiving, undulating, extremely dry, offered no shade and gave a cruel uphill finish.

Trevor Kay was the first A&D runner home with an remarkable personal best time of 1:21:49 and second place on the day. An amazing run in the conditions.

Paul Ridley continuing with his good form ran an impressive 1:25:17, finishing in 6th place.

Just outside the top 10 in 12th place and 1st V50 was Scott Lynch with strong and consistent running posted a time of 1:27:27. In 16th and 3rd V50 with 1:29:49 was Paul Moses. A solid run, as ever, saw Adrian Moody finish in 1:48:29 placing him in 97th place and 10th V50.

Hugh Scarlin continues to impress, putting a marker down with a time of 1:53:51, finishing in 131st. A reward for the hard work at the Tuesday night training sessions and the solid mileage he has been running. Not far behind Hugh was Matt Hardwick with a time of 1:56:48 and 144th place.

It was Stu Nunn’s 6th consecutive weekend of competition a determined run saw Stu finish in a time of 1:58:05 and 154th place.

Aaron Homewood made a welcome return to club colours topping up his tan with a time of 2:21:42 and 248th place.

The 4th placed lady and 3rd in her age category was distance specialist Linda-Jean Delport with a time of 1:43:28. Another top quality run from Chris Costiff placed her 9th overall and 2nd in her age category in 1:46:09.

Carrying on with her recuperation from injury, Lesley Taylor completed the course in 1:55:24, good for 20th place and impressive 3rd in age category.

Commenting on the challenge the course offered in 22nd place was Emma Hanna with a time of 1:56:54, giving Emma 9th in her age group.

Massa Cooper was running her first event for quite a while. Lack of racing did not stop Massa from finishing in a creditable 74th place with a time of 2:12:13. Lucy Johnstone’s regular trail mileage faired her well for a time of 2:25:32 and 125th place.

In conditions better suited for sitting on the beach eating ice-cream Sarah Homewood stuck to the task in hand and finished in 166th place with a time of 2:31:42. Lesley Moody was not to far behind with a time of 2:38:17 and 193rd place. Sarah Taylor keeps building on the hard work at the club training nights and finished in 231st with a time of 2:46:36.

A straightforward marathon was not enough for Rik Holden. To add to the heat the Punk Run Trail marathon also offered brambles to battle through, crouching under obstacles and low trees. This makes the time of 3:55:38 even more impressive.

Gil O’Connor took part in the Downey Lakes 10K and her time of 50:51 was good for 2nd in her age category.

Becky Hodgson competed in the Runbelievable Gothic Challenge half marathon over a mix of undulating bike paths and trails completing the event in 3:39:39.

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Once again A&D RRC have been donning their blues and hitting the roads in a plethora of races in and around Kent.

In the first instance we are jumping into our time machine and revisiting the not so distant past of 23/05/2021.   Not deterred by rain, mud or mountainous undulations, Adrian Beresford, Adrian. Moody and Jill Croftin-Martin took on the trail Tough Runner event at Eridge Park.  Bravely tackling the mud fest half marathon distance, the two Adrian’s gritted down with Moody crossing the line in 1.59.49 and Beresford joining him minutes later in 2.03.24.   Jill Crofton-Martin zoomed round the equally tough 10km distance and impressed with a time of 1.00.27, which also awarded her a first in category finish.

Sticking with the undulatory theme of the day, another determined bunch ran the rollercoaster route that was the Rye 10 miler.  Storming round in an impressive 1.11.08, first home for the club was Keith Haynes.  Next to finish and bringing it home for the ladies and claiming first in age, was Christine Costiff in 1.16.07.  Hugh Scarlin was next in 1.18.02, knocking 6 mins off his previous PB, closely followed by  Linda Delport in 1.18.23.   Sophie Edmonds, who also grabbed a first in age, cruised across the line in 1.23.46.  Keeping the flow of blue shirts coming, there were more strong finishes from Mark Carlton (1.24.42), Stuart Nunn (1.25.34), Simon Jackson (1.29.40), Sarah Homewood (1.42.06), Rachel Jenkins (1.44.15) and Lesley Moody (1.50.27).

Kicking off June with a midweek trail run and bringing with them the promise of better weather, Bedgebury Summer Series 10k saw Christine Costiff once again impressing with a first in age finish in a time of 46.25.  Hugh Scarlin was close behind in 50.48.  Keith Lynn and Sarah Taylor followed in 56.43 and 1.10.01 respectively.  Gill O’Connor sped round the 5k route in 25.01and claimed  2nd lady finisher overall and first in age.

Weekend sunshine on Sunday 6th June bought with it more A&D hot ‘n hilly running action.

First off and completing his 6th marathon since April was our very own marathon running legend, Rik Holden.   Storming round the SVN D Day Marathon route at Betteshanger, Rik finished the 26.2 miles in an impressive 3.47.22 and was the first finisher overall for the distance.

Setting his sights on a challenging trail run, Stephen Hickman ran the hot and hilly High Elms 10k in a fantastic 1.03.32.

Rounding up the scorcher of a weekend, there was a flurry of A&D entrants at the local Tenterden 10k.  The father and 2 son trio were the first 3 members home, with all three claiming a top 10 finish.  Jack Hodges finished 7th in his first ever race in 43.57, with his brother, Kieran Hodges also debuting, close behind in 9th place (45.39).  Steve Hodges came in 10th and first in age, completing the family round up in 46.09.  Next across the line  was A&D men’s captain, Adrian Beresford, who nabbed 11th place in 46.43.  Weekly racing regular, Stu Nunn finished in a determined 50.40, with James Philips (51.04) hot on his heels.  Simon Jackson followed in 53.38 and was swiftly chased down by Sue Reader, who led the ladies home in 56.30.  Peter Buckley (59.32), Lucy Johnstone (1.07.54), Trevor Sparkes (1.13.07) and Emma Jenkins (1.22.08) all finished strong and completed the impressive A&D line up for the day.

All this hot and sweaty running action has definitely produced some amazing results.

Well done to an awesome team!

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Following the recent period of unpredictable weather last weekend brought warm and breezy weather to the Kent coast just in time for the 10th anniversary of the Folkestone Coastal 10k. And when the sun shone, so did Ashford & District’s finest! The fast, flat course made for excellent times heading away from Folkestone but upon turning to make their way back runners were met by a challenging zephyr.

Fastest over the distance was club whippet Aiden Gorham in a blistering time of 35:55 who wasn’t to see another member until the marathoner duo of Paul Ridley and James Booth finished only 18 seconds apart in their respective times of 38:40 and 38:58. Paul Moses ran at his usual impressive pace and clocked 40:08 with Daniel Head hot on his trail, fighting through the wind in 41:57. Richard Boakes ran a solid 42:27 and was followed in by Keith Haynes whose 42:40 left him in 93rd place overall. Next home and feeling the heat was men’s captain Adrian Beresford in 45:09. Enjoying the tailwind on his way to the 5k point Adam Clegg finished in 46:44 with Stuart Nunn continuing his journey back to form with 48:33. Competing well despite the summer temperature was Matt Hardwick who ran 48:56, shortly followed over the crowded finish line by Emma Hanna whose time of 50:03 made her first female for the club. A mere 20 seconds later Ailis Goddard crossed the line after 50 minutes and 23 seconds of quality running. Sophie Edmonds produced another consistent performance with her time of 51:36 before Trevor Sparkes annihilated his previous best by 24 seconds to set a new official PB of 56:25. Peter Buckley and Sophie Cooper arrived just ten seconds apart in 57:35 and 57:45 respectively and Lesley Moody clocked 1:00:58 on the out-and-back course. Sandra Gooding completed her 10k in 1:03:55 with Sarah Taylor rounding the club’s entries off with a solid 1:04:38.

On the same day the Fidges competed in the Isle Of Wight Running Festival Duver Dash, finishing the fun run-style undulating 5k route in their incredibly exact times of 29:00 for John and 31:00 for Ann. Earlier in the week Cris Francis and Alison Waters tackled Race 2 of the floodlit 5k series at Gravesend with Alison finishing in 22:17 and Cris snapping at her heels in a crisp 22:27.