Two Oceans, South Africa - 27/4/03
"Honeymooning couples too....You'd be surprised at things they do"
When I'm Cleaning Windows, George Formby
Dave and Kate Symons celebrated that start of their marriage at the Two Oceans marathon in South Africa. Dave recorded 3:43:20 for the 56k race, while Kate produced 1:43:40 for the accompanying half marathon. New member Nick Malynn also embarked on this gruelling challenge (the race that is, not marriage) with 4:02:45 for the longer version.
National XC champs - 27/4/03
Michael Johnson reports:
Three elderly members went an astonishing distance (that is, before they started running) to the west coast of Scotland to run in the Vet National X Country Champs. Due entirely to the President coming and running with consummate placing skill learnt over several decades of campaigning, we managed to get second place in the team placing, scoring 202 to Invicta 204 pts. Bingley are astonishingly strong in the V60 category at present - they had 4 home before our first and scored 128 pts. You might have thought that we would get a silver medal for this, but alas we were in Scotland ......Placings for the team events took into account all runners over 50.
Individual placings Peter Honnibal 8th 44.57 Michael Johnson 11th 45.32 El Presidente 17th 55.28
National 12 stage, Birmingham - 26/4/03
As last year, Thames finished 19th at the National 12 Stage relays at Sutton Park. This was a fine effort given that exactly half of the team were still recovering from the London Marathon and that much of the remainder had been called up at late notice.
Ben Reynolds got us of to a blinding start by placing 17th in the opening rush. His exertions at the marathon clearly didnt hinder him as he recorded a time only a few seconds off his best. With other clubs running their stronger legs early we slipped back a few places as Rob Bowyer, Andy Thomas and Jerry Watson followed, until Andy Weir brought us back to 24th on stage 5. From there we inched forward with a short legs from John McFarlane and Andy Howse, and a long one from the Captain, before Andy Lynch took us to our peak position of 16th. Dave Barker did well to keep us there, while Matt Lynas and Ian Harkness held on to bring us home.
4:28.19 B Reynolds (17) 27:14 R Bowyer (27) 16:32 A Thomas (27) 28:37 J Watson (31) 16:41 A Weir (24) 27:36 J McFarlane (22) 15:57 N Altmann (20) 27:48 A Howse (18) 16:07 A Lynch (16) 28:47 D Barker (16) 15:58 M Lynas (18) 30:25 I Harkness (19) 16:37
Thames Takes Gold at the London Marathon - 13/4/03
Thames produced an excellent performance at the London Marathon. A bumper turnout of twenty runners was crowned by victory for the team in the AAA championships.
Thanks to the many spectators who lent much needed support to the competitors all the way round the course, some finding the athleticism and logistical skills to cheer us at four separate vantage points.
Andy Weir and Ben Reynolds set off together, before checking their slightly optimistic pace to allow the Captain to join them at around 8 miles. With the trio sitting comfortably in a largish pack, and three to score in the team, things were already looking good for our championship challenge. From halfway Ben started to steadily but not dramatically lose ground. Meanwhile the Captain continued to operate in an ungallant, some might say round-headed, manner by steadfastly sitting at the back of the pack while Andy and the rest of the pack took the brunt of the wind. Stepping out of the slipstream just before Tower Bridge he finished in 2:24:10 to carve a single second off his previous best, a skill that Paula Radcliffe would do well to develop if she wants further pay days like Sunday. Andy survived a difficult closing couple of miles to dip under 2:25 for the first time. Ben completed the set of personal bests in 2:26:46 to close the team.
Our expected rivals for gold medals were Leeds City, ironically including Thames second claimer Andy Beevers. After a solid first half his and his team challenge faded as digestive difficulties slowed his progress thereafter. This allowed Matt Lynas to come home as next man in 2:34:51, a good run from someone treating it as "speedwork" for forthcoming ultra races. Andy Lynch was home under two minutes later, another to find the second half tough going, as was Alex "blown a gasket" Gaskell who was disappointed with a debut outside 2:50.
Ahead of him came Duncan Clark in 2:42, running for Handy Cross, who has dealt well with a recent lack of training and sleep due to the birth of his first child Fraser. Congratulations to Duncan and Sarah on his arrival. Jerry Watson was first Thames vet home behind him well inside 2:45, while Bill Snelgrove continued his campaign for the "First Man in Tights" to be recognised as an official category, just outside 2:50. Paul Whitlock and Alun Johns both set off at around 3 hours pace, but found the second half to be deceptively longer than the first by about 15 minutes.
Unfortunately Wendy Petty was unable to finish due to the recurrence of a hip injury. Congratulations to Andy Johnson, Colin Price, Alastair Caisley, Simon Leathes, Jeffery Gordon and John Bryant who all completed the course in conditions that become uncomfortably warmer throughout the day. The last word should go to Jan Hildreth who once again finished to maintain his ever-present record into a 23rd year.
Nick Altmann 2:24:10 Andy Weir 2:24:59 Ben Reynolds 2:26:46 Matt Lynas 2:34:51 Andy Lynch 2:36:39 Andy Beevers 2:40:26 - for Leeds AC Duncan Clark 2:42:58 - for Handy Cross Jerry Watson 2:43:28 Bill Snelgrove 2:50:20 Alex Gaskell 2:51:36 Paul Whitlock 3:15:22 Alun Johns 3:16:38 Andy Johnson 3:45:34 Colin Price 4:04:18 Alastair Caisley 4:11:13 Simon Leathes 4:11:59 Jeffery Gordon 4:24:17 John Bryant 4:52:42 Jan Hildreth 5:40:15
Southern 12 Stage - 6/4/03
Thames acquitted themselves well at the Southern 12 Stage at Milton Keynes on Sunday. The first team qualified for the National equivalent in three weeks time by finishing 8th, while the second team moved steadily through the pack to finish 41st and 4th "B" team.
There were plenty of sterling performances throughout the day. Andy Thomas ran a fast time on a very competitive first leg to set us off in 19th. His time of 25:31 represents a club vets record. Frank Dudbridge and captain elect Dave Symons held the fort over the next two legs before Peter Woodburn gained one place on his Thames debut on leg 4. A long leg from Chris Daniels and a fast short leg from Alex Gaskell kept us there. The captain gained a few places on leg 7, but the result flattered him as at least two of these were due to teams not fielding a runner. Dave Barker ran a swift and determined leg 8 before Andy Weir cemented his role as the fastest man in Thames, running a shade over 25 minutes for the next long leg. Matt Lynas brought us into the top 10 on leg 10 with another solid run. In unfamiliar territory by not running first, Ben Reynolds still put in a good performance on leg 11, before relay specialist Andy Lynch ran our the fastest short leg of the day to bring us home.
It was all hands on deck to complete the second team, particular thanks to Craig Lightbody, Al Gibbons and Robin Dickson for coming on board at very short notice. Alun Johns and Dan Pescod ran well measured races to set us on our way before Matt Jones made an encouraging Thames relay debut on leg 3. Much in the way that Paula Radcliff will be paced by men in the London Marathon on Sunday, Al Gibbons strategically slipped into the middle of the ladies 6 stage relay to get a tow on leg 4. The ever dependable Jerry Watson ran well on the next long leg, handing over to Al "Chemical Ali" Irvine who showed that reports of his demise are premature. Andy Howse ran a very quick leg 7 to gain 4 places and gain much ground on the teams ahead, before Robin Dickson and Paul Whitlock did well to maintain our position. Craig Lightbody sported an extraordinarily tight fitting vest on leg 10 while gaining two places. Despite a lack of recent training, and hurting a calf muscle on the course, Ian Harkness repeated the feat on leg 11 (gaining two places that is, not sporting a tight vest).
Full results can be found at here