Successful and enjoyable climax to BMAF 2021 road championships.
With a 30:17 10km clocking to his credit this year, Ben Kruze (M35, MMAC) made the journey down from Stratford-upon-Avon to Gravesend for a purpose. That was, to add the BMAF 10km to his string of road successes this year. He spearheaded the field on the first of the four laps of the 4.2km undulating, traffic-free circuit. He did not, however, have it all his own way, as he was relentlessly pursued by Anthony Webb (M45) from the local Medway Club, and a chasing group some metres behind. Kruze drew away to a 31:57 victory over Webb in 32:27, and Richard Price (SCVAC) leading the M40 field home 7 seconds adrift, in 3rd place.
“It was a brilliant surface to run on with no potholes or lose stones; thanks to everyone involved in the organisation”Ben Kruze
Kruze was not the only happy competitor, as quite a few commented that it was their fastest time this year despite a nip in the air and a slight breeze. Brian Brett from Eastern Masters (4th) and Tom Collins (6th) closed in for the other M35 medals.
Sullivan Smith, (5th, 2nd M45), added to the EMAC medal tally with the bronze going to William Levett (8th) from nearby Tunbridge Wells Harriers. The latter club turned out in force in both men’s and women’s races taking away the first of a great medal haul.
Tunbridge Wells Harriers
It was an early rise for Gary O’Brien, up from the SWVAC, to take the M50 race in 34:26 and 13th overall in the 220-plus strong field. Ben Reynolds, leading M55, ran off the shoulder of this younger age group, holding off O’Brien by 4 second at the line. Neil Danby made it a 1-2 for VAC in the M55s, but it was a photo-finish dash between Steven Watmough from the Northern Masters Club, 34:44, and VAC’s Steven Male 34:45 for 3rd M55 with Watmough getting the nod by 1 second.
Just 2 seconds decided the fate of the M60 race; finally going East to Paul Mingay as Welshman Ifan Lloyd raced him to the line 34:54 to 34:56. Jonathan Haynes (EMAC) remained secure throughout as leading M65, but the 11-strong M70 resulted in a great challenge with SWVAC’s Mike Chipping and Peter Young holding off Tim Newton (EMAC), all finishing within 60 seconds of each other. Just behind and 4th yet again was our IT man Peter Kennedy; too much data-work and not enough time for training, and with Desmond Michael coming in 5th, this was a very competitive race. EMAC also took the M75 title as Ron McCullough, 110th overall, ran a remarkable 45:10. Equally meritorious was the lone M80 finisher, Michael Conway (SCVAC), well up in 152nd place in 52:03.
Some of the women found themselves running a little isolated, but with a 4.2km circuit there was always some quarry just ahead. Nicola Lilly (W40) led the charge home in 38:37, 46th overall and well clear of Nicola Evans (W35) from Tonbridge AC and Maggi Skinner (EMAC). Maree Jesson from Corby was delighted with her W45 victory ahead of Lisa Knight from the local club and Helen Pool (VAC). Maria Heslop (Tonbridge) and Caroline Wood (Arena80) bagged the W50/55 crowns.
Monica Williamson (W60, MMAC) had another amazing run to finish high up in the field, 60th overall, in the good time of 39:36. Barbara Ockendon (W65, SCVAC) crested the tape in 52:14 ahead of Maggi Statham-Berry who came in well warmed up after volunteering at the check-in desk from early morning, with the bronze medal going to Avril Riddell (VAC). Penny Forse (SCVAC) got the W70 title from Annie Ross (VAC).
The final BMAF race of the year was a thoroughly enjoyable one, promoted by Walter Hill and organised by NiceWork.