Biggleswade AC athletes put in a sensational performance at the Doug Anderson 5k in Bedford and came away with an unprecedented haul of individual and team honours.
The annual fixture at Bedford Park is BAC’s designated club championship race over the distance, with many entrants on a blustery evening also competing for Bedfordshire county championship honours.
Leading the way was Jamie Hall, in his BAC debut, and he stunned himself with the outright race win thanks to an astonishing run of 16min 33sec. His delight at victory by five seconds from a member of host club Bedford Harriers was multiplied when he turned at the finish to see his partner Elaine Livera emerge as winner of the ladies’ race with 18:51, good enough for 25th place overall.
Jamie said: “We set off at what felt like a fairly acceptable pace. I felt myself trying to push ahead but kept remembering coach Paul Davies’ advice to stick behind someone and use them as a barrier against the wind.
“Much to my surprise I found myself keeping with the group at the front for the rest of the first lap. I stuck behind the other runners to avoid the worst of the wind coming along the bottom straight.
“When we got to the top of the park a couple of the guys at the front started to pick up the pace so I tried to keep with them.
“Paul had told me the point I should put everything in for the finish and as soon as I hit it, I gritted my teeth and set off. To my astonishment, I got to the line first!”
In between Jamie and Elaine came Paul Cooke for 18th place and Rob Morgan in 24th. As the top three finishers from each club count in the team standings, the first BAC trio’s cumulative placings added up to 43, which ensured BAC took place in the men’s competition. Cooke also took the runners-up spot in the men’s veteran over 40 county championship.
On the women’s side, Hannah Broom retained her female veteran’s over 35 crown with a time of 21:24 and 71st place overall - she also took the FV35 county championship crown as well as second place in the Bedfordshire Female Open standings.
Just behind was Natalie Morgan who took 19th place in the women’s standings and third in the FV40 competition, just one second from the runner’s-up spot.
Elaine, Hannah and Natalie’s performances gave BAC a second place in the team competition, nine seconds faster overall than the winning team but just missing out on the top spot on combined finishing positions.
BAC’s team results were all the more remarkable as the club had 24 finishers on the day, while the hosts - who topped the standings - fielded a whopping 96. Olney Runners, in third, had 29.
Hannah said: “Hearing ‘Biggleswade’ over and over in the prize-giving was amazing. For a small club we certainly pack a mean punch!”
Paul Davies was second in the MV45 rankings and Bev Strong astonished herself in her competitive debut for the club by taking 30 seconds off her PB and and finishing in a superb second in the FV45 county championship standings.
Doug Anderson 5k results: 1 Jamie Hall, 16:33; 18 Paul Cooke, 18:24; 24 Rob Morgan, 18:51; 25 Elaine Livera, 18:51; 27 Paul Davies, 18:58; 47 John Stott, 19:50; 71 Hannah Broom, 21:24; 86 Damien Pitts, 21:57; 93 Natalie Morgan, 22:04; 100 Emma Bailey, 22:22; 109 Gary Baldwin, 22:48; 133 Malcolm Steward, 23:54; 142 Neil Harvey, 24:28; 164 Stuart Goodwin, 25:02; 172 Amy Stamp, 25:15; 180 Ian Grimwood, 25:32; 198 Simon Strong, 26:44; 233 Rachel Hallam Stott, 29:31; 242 Juliet Grimwood, 30:03; 256 Julia Mackay, 31:46; 268 Helen Steward, 33:22; 270 Vikki Vowles, 33:43; 273 Bev Strong, 34:01; 275 Colin Harries, 34:10.