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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

A&D Celebrate Successful Cross-country Season

The final cross-country of the season was held at Norman Park Bromley on Saturday. A strong turnout from the club on a sunny and still day was rewarded with a tremendous set of results. The success of the team, in only it’s third season in the league, is a tribute to the hard work of all the runners who have taken part and the coaching and mentoring by cross country captain Adrian Moody. The efforts of Adrian Moody and Scott Lynch in ensuring the runners were provided with a shelter at every race provided a boost to the team and this hospitality was extended to club runners from other squads, enhancing the reputation of A&D.

The day started well with an inspirational performance from Michael Davies. He completed the clean sweep, winning all of the seasons races in the V70 category taking the overall first place.

The flat and fast course gave the ladies team an opportunity to battle with the best athletics clubs in Kent, and the ladies team accepted the challenge.

Becky Macey ran a strong race to finish 19th. This guaranteed Becky 11th overall in the senior Women’s competition and a well earned 2nd place in the W35 category.

Once again Chris Costiff showed her dominance in the W55 group. Finishing 38th on the day meant the Chris finished in first place for the season. Gill O’Connor in 60th place was rewarded with her consistency over the season with 2nd overall W55.

Tremendous team performances from Essen Larsen in 39th, Tracey Calnan 45th with Rhian Shrimplin close behind in 46th, Jill Crofton Martin 49th, Massah Cooper 68th and 5th overall in the W35 category in her first season, and Ailis Goddard 71st contributed to 5th place on the day for the 3 to score team competition and an amazing 3rd place in the 6 to score.

Strong team performances throughout the season placed the ladies 7th overall in the 3 to score and 6th in the 6 to score leagues.

Some tricky sections through muddy woodland ensured that by the third lap of the 10Km race the A&D men were pleased to see the finish line. Unfortunately club coach and specialist for the challenging event, Jon Pearce had to pull out on the first lap due to a calf strain.

Lawrence Teeling led the team home in 54th place overall. Julius Samson looked very strong and finished in 76th place. Andrew Noble in 79th and impressive 6th overall V50  and Scott Lynch 92nd and 8th overall V50, gave A&D 8th place on the day in the 4 to score league. Paul Ridley was the next finisher in 111th. Good teamwork and inter-club battles made for some competitive races throughout the race. Dan Green and Paul Moses finished 119th and 121st just 1 second apart with Moses finishing the season in 14th in V50’s. Tom Preece and James Booth separated by 2 seconds in 123rd and 125th with James having to deal with a thorn piercing his foot during the race. Adrian Moody ran a strong and steady captains race to finish 140th. Mark Harrison and Carl Ireland provided a sprint finish for 151st and 152nd with Keith Haynes in 174th and Adrian Beresford in 175th split by just 1 second. A solid run from Neil Woodham in 200th ensured the club were good for 6th place in the 12 to score competition.

The efforts throughout the season gave the men’s team 9th overall in the 4 to score league and 6th in the 12 to score.

Storm Ciara hit Sunday’s events hard with all races cancelled leaving for very frustrated runners and a host of challenging training runs through the day.


Mike Davis put in a stellar performance at the Chichester 10K on Sunday, finishing 3rd V70 with a time of 43min 37sec and earning an invitation to represent England at the Age Group Masters in the Spring.  Andrew Noble completed the course in 38.45. In her debut run for the club, Lesley Taylor crossed the finish line in PB time of 44.02, finishing 9th in her age group.




Also marking her A&D debut, Naomi Attenborough finished the Girlings Solicitors A&D 10K well within the top 30 ladies, with a time of 51.49. A&D were out in force to support the race: marshals cheered runners around the course and provided hospitality at Race HQ, whilst lead cyclist Paul Moses saw the front runners across the finish line. In its 31st year, the event proved as popular as ever, with over 450 runners taking part.

Off-road, an A&D quartet represented the club at the hilly Bedgebury Forest 10 Mile. Christine Costiff (1.20.19) and Gill O’Connor (1.25.38) finished 1st and 2nd V55, respectively. Hot on their heels, Ingvild Drake then crossed the finish line in 1.25.46. Together, the trio won the Ladies Team Prize. Keith Lynn was next home for the club in 1.34.32.

On the Isle of Wight, Steve Hickman completed the Ryde 10 in 1.38.04.  Described as a “brute”, the single-lap, undulating course took runners along the north east coast of the Island.

Ashford’s Parkrun saw Dan Green (19.42), Paul Moses (20.06) and Scott Lynch (20.15) finish 6th, 8th and 9th, respectively. Tom Preece crossed the finish line in 20.35, followed by Pat Butler (23.44) and Terry Sellen (24.41). Trevor Sparkes (26.35), Ailis Goddard (26.42) and John Fidge (27.00) then finished in quick succession, followed by Laura Segust (27.35), Alison Waters (28.05) and Cris Francis (28.13). Returning from injury, Ann Fidge (32.25) was next, followed by Emma Jenkins (34.51) and Becky Hodgson (36.17).

A&D Take on Parliament Hill

Ashford and District took strong squads to the South East Athletics Association County Championships. The course did not disappoint and proved to be exceptionally challenging with muddy conditions calling for heroic performances from the runners.

The flags and banners of the clubs taking part in the event lining the side of Parliament Hill and the noisy support made for quite a spectacle and provided tremendous inspiration for the runners.

Ailis Goddard was disappointed not to finish but was injured while attempting to avoid a fallen runner, she will be back next year to finish the job.

Becky Macey’s first visit to this iconic cross country venue was rewarded with a creditable 180th place in 36:59. Chris Costiff battled through a back injury to be next home for the club in 358th with a time of 41:43. It was also Rhian Shrimplin’s first time at Parliament Hill and was 3rd home for the club with a time of 43:42 and 411th overall. Massah Cooper, having a great cross country season finished in 459th with 44:34. Gill O’Connor also nursing a back injury was 482nd with 45:23. Lucy Johnstone was 660th in 55:57. This gave the ladies team 51st place overall.

The men’s race followed took in over 3 laps and 12 kilometres of the quagmire prepared by the previous races. The clubs strongest cross country runners Jon Pearce and Jon Wells led the team home in 472nd with 1:00:28 and 566th with 1:04:31 respectively. Andrew Noble showing great form and experience finished in 627th and a time of 1:05:36. James Booth finished 801st with 1:09:55. Adrian Moody always well prepared for whatever the conditions present finished in 814th and 1:10:14. Tom Preece chose this event as a test for fitness on return from a long layoff due to injury coming in at 915th place in 1:13:29. Keith Haynes has shown tremendous determination throughout the cross country season and has been a stalwart for the club finished in 944th place with a time of 1:14:37.

The popular Canterbury 10 mile had a large turnout of Ashford and District runners. Trevor Kay was first home for the club in 26th place with a time of 1:02:19. Paul Ridley taking advantage of his marathon training posted a personal best time of 1:05:45 and looked strong for his 70th place. Club veterans Paul Moses and Scotty Lynch battled it out throughout the race with Moses coming off better this time with a time of 1:06:38 in 83rd place with Lynch 86th with a time of 1:06:49, placing 8th and 9th in the V50 category. Carl Ireland also ran a personal best for 10 miles in 1:11:12. On a good day for PB’s John Beale and Adrian Beresford were 264th and 286th in 1:14:22 and 1:15:04. Next home was Kevin Tutt in 286th with 1:15:20 then Stu Nunn in 414th and 1:19:45. Darren Fagg was 452nd in 1:21:12. Keith Lynn also with a PB finished in 1:29:56. Michael Teale was 677th and a time of 1:29:08. Hugh Scarlin proved the conditions were good for PB’s with 1:34:04 and 887th place.

A strong ladies representation were led home by Linda Jean Delport with a time of 1:13:23, followed by Essen Larsen in 1:16:37. Tracey Calnan ran a personal best time of 1:20:41. Aurelie Morris completed the course in 1:23:11. Showing the benefit of marathon trading Sandi Mortimer ran a PB time of 1:23:24. Jacklyn Kay completed the 10 miles in 1:30:43. Completing the days tally of PB’s was Karine Reid with a time of 1:48:11. Lucy Johnstone posted a time of 1:48:11, particularly impressive when considering Lucy competed in the cross-country on Saturday. Sarah Taylor finished in 1:53:57.