Haslemere Border athlete sets sights on Ultimate Grand Slam

Monday 20th June 2022 6:00 am
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The social pub run group before heading back to the Prince of Wales
The social pub run group before heading back to the Prince of Wales (Tindle )

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The final weeks of May saw a hive of activity among the Haslemere Border Athletes, with individuals setting themselves extreme challenges and lapping up the sunny temperatures.

Tom Bampton embarked on his second 50-mile Centurion Race, in his quest for the Ultimate Grand Slam which requires runners to complete all four of the challenges at the end of the year.

The race started in Farnham, on the cusp of the North Downs Way, and then took runners on to Guildford, passing through some of the prettiest countryside trails and villages along the way, including Puttenham Common, before finally reaching the end of the race at Knockholt Pound.

The entire race incorporated 5,600ft of elevation and Tom ran a gruelling race, finishing in a time of 12:28.39 – which is an extremely long time on your feet, not to mention keeping the mind focused on task in hand.

Further afield, the Thrudark Keswick Conqueror was taking place in the beautiful valleys and neighbouring surroundings of Borrowdale and Watendlath in the Lake District.

Day one started with a 3.6km swim across Derwentwater, followed by a 25km trail run around the valleys of Borrowdale and Watendlath (2,176ft) and then with time for a little ‘rest bite’ on Saturday night, the next day saw athletes take to their bikes to complete a 72km (3,497ft) cycle ride around the Back O’Skiddaw.

Despite the run and cycle routes being much hillier than expected, club member Cameron McKillop completed the triathlon in an excellent time and celebrated with a few beers as a well-earned reward.

Hackney Half Marathon, with its vibrant atmosphere and colourful streets, always attracts a high number of participants and this year was no different, with 13,000 runners taking part.

The route passed through 12 canals and included a panoramic view of the Olympic Park. Felicity Bull, who has been running exceptionally well, ran another brilliant race to finish eighth in her age category in a time of 1:34.47.

May 22 saw the return of the popular Bognor Prom 10k, a fast and flat course starting in Aldwick and heading out along the prom towards Felpham, before heading back along the promenade.

In glorious sunshine and temperatures much higher than expected, all runners found the going difficult.

First home for Haslemere Border AC was head coach Daniel Allaway in 36.34, followed by Sarah Smith (46.49), Issy Peters (46.49), Rosie Dyke (46.57), Dave Bateman (57.08), Sarah Barnett (1:02.31), Jenni Rayner (1:08.22), Yve Guilding (1:09.31), Lorraine Herring (1:11.17), Helen Crainey (1:11.17), Suzy O’Rourke (1:14.17), Rebecca Connor (1:14.17) and Cheryl Stafford Jones (1:14.20).

The excellent results saw Daniel Allaway secure first place in his age category and for Suzy O’Rourke, Cheryl Stafford Jones and Rebecca Connor running their fastest 10k of the season, taking two minutes of their previous time.

The club’s ever-popular social pub run returned on May 26 and saw more than 40 members turn up to take on the trail route set by Dean Kellaway.

Starting at the Prince of Wales in Hammervale, the challenging route took runners out towards Lynchmere Common and Stanley Common, before reaching Danley Farm and the return back through Lynchmere Common.

The evening was finished off with a burger and a drink at The Prince of Wales and the opportunity to catch up with friends and to meet new members.

The evening was a tremendous success and Dean has already planned the next route for June 23.

The popular but gruelling 100-mile South Downs Relay event took place in May, which involves a number of teams taking up the challenge to run the distance from Eastbourne to Winchester.

Haslemere Border had two teams taking part – one men’s team and one ladies’ team – made up of six participants each. There were 18 legs, ranging from between four and eight miles.

Teams were treated to some of the most glorious trails within the South Downs – not to mention the hilliest!

The men finished in 11:28 and the ladies in 14:04, both securing a personal best.

Richie Robinson opted for the Bedfordshire countryside to take part in the Greensands 50k Ultra Marathon race.

The race treated runners to some of the prettiest yet challenging climbs in the Bedfordshire countryside with a total elevation gain of 1,585ft, and Richie ran a superb race, finishing in 5:30.08.

Hesta Gilham and Janet Govan headed to Headley Heath near Leatherhead to take part in the annual Leatherhead Bluebell 10k.

The two-lap course took runners through the heathland with open and woodland paths and with Hesta in exceptional form, it was no surprise to many she once again set a PB and was the fourth lady to finish.

Janet, who is recovering from injury, finished in 1:12 – and is expecting a reprimand from her physio!

Cam McConnachie continues his parkrun tourism before returning to Australia, with runs in May completed in Paris, Karlstejn Czechia and Sale in Manchester.

The return of the Yateley road race series saw a team of 17 members take part in the first of the three races.

In ideal conditions, Philomel Bennett finished in 45.06, followed by Issy Peters (46.59), Steven Taylor (49.36), Nigel Byrnes (51.18), Dudley Walker (51.31), John William Dickinson (51.20), David Bateman (52.39), Peter Varnes (53.36), Nicola Jarrett (53.50), Andy Wise (56.26), Catriona Wiles (56.45), Sam Walker (1:03.17), Andrew Gregory (1:03.49), Ann Varnes (1:09.56) and Dave Card (1:23).

All agreed it was a well-run event, with lots of support from the community. Roll on race two next month.

The Jubilee festivities did not go unnoticed by HBAC, with coach Anna Alexandar leading the weekly Saturday Punchbowl run, which was completed with a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee assortment of cakes and Prosecco.

Others completed the Virtual Platinum Jubilee Virtual 10k, with a trail run across Lynchmere and Marley before finishing at a local ‘royal’ venue, The Prince of Wales at Hammer, where they duly rehydrated.

Ann Varnes

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