Biggleswade AC converged on Millennium Country Park to take individual and team prizes, and a host of personal bests, at the always-lively and runner-friendly Marston 5k on Friday.
BAC’s ladies took the team prize – based on results for each club’s first three runners across the line – while the men were just beaten into second by Dunstable Road Runners.
Individually, Hannah Broom was first female finisher aged 35 or over, while the evergreen Charlie Arnold was first male runner over 60, while Richard Bevan was fourth finisher overall and Elaine Livera third in the overall ladies standings.
The latest setting for Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers tri-series of races consisting of a 5k, lap and a bit, round a lake, woodlands, and wetlands reserve. Formerly part of the extensive Stewartby Brickworks, some 61 square miles has been transformed into a community forest.
The weather conditions were almost perfect – a calm, sunny and a balmy evening enticing a full turnout of almost 400 runners from around the region including 16 from Biggleswade.
A huge blast of the starter’s horn at 7.30pm heralded a mass charge along tarmac before a sharp right on to a gravel surface. There then followed a short downhill section into the trees, and a flattish middle section, slippery in places with the odd pothole hazard.
The ground, parched in parts, created further hazards in the form of clouds of dust churned up by the front runners, while low-hanging tree branches occasionally offered a cruel whip to the side of the head.
A straight, fast, section, followed by a tight left-hander and the athletes were at the 3km point, time to repeat the mantra “maintain breathing, maintain breathing, keep posture up!”. Two right-hand turns later and through a chicane gate, the seemingly endless final kilometre arrived. Suddenly a right-hand turn brought the runners to within sight of the finishing line.
Bevan’s fourth-placed finish came in a superb personal best of 17m 15sec, followed in short measure by Paul Cooke (17th overall, 18:40), who headed a run of four BAC athletes in 19 seconds, featuring Paul Davies (21st, 18:49), Nick Haworth (22nd, 18:53) and John Stott (18:59). Stott was another to earn a fine PB, his first time under 19 minutes.
Hot on their heels, Livera – roaring straight back into form after injury – headed up the ladies’ team challenge in 19:11 (29th overall) (third lady), followed afterwards by Hannah Broom, another to earn a benchmark PB on the night with her first ever sub-20min run (37th overall, 5th lady, 19:39) and Emma Bailey, who cracked 21 mins to set a best time of her own (59th, 8th lady, 20:55). Kathryn Juty (138th, 28th lady, 24:14) and Simon Strong’s 24:41 (146th, 114th male finisher) were others to earn brilliant PBs on the night.
Marston 5k Results (Overall, Gender position, Name, Time):
4, 4, Richard Bevan, 17:15; 17, 16, Paul Cooke, 18:40; 21, 20, Paul Davies, 18:49; 22, 21, Nick Haworth, 18:53; 25, 24, John Stott, 18:59; 29, 3, Elaine Livera, 19:11; 37, 5, Hannah Broom, 19:39; 48, 42, Charlie Arnold, 20:26; 59, 8, Emma Bailey, 20:55; 67, 12, Natalie Morgan, 21:26; 68, 56, Rob Morgan, 21:26; 138, 28, Kathryn Juty, 24:14; 146, 114, Simon Strong, 24:41; 148, 116, Stephen Atkins, 24:48; 164, 127, Clark Skerratt, 25:26; 330, 146, Shani Giddings, 36:09.
Elsewhere, two BAC athletes took part in the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championships at Bedford International Stadium. Euan Dickson-Earle, who won the 110m hurdles title for Loughborough University last year, has been hampered by a hip niggle this season, and he was fourth in his heat with a time of 15.32.
In the javelin, Alex Ingham, competing for Nottingham, threw 55.37m in the preliminary round to qualify for the final. There he was unable to match the earlier distance, but his best mark of 49.97m was still good enough for a fine top 10 finish.
BAC were thrilled that club stalwart competitor, coach and official David Brown was recognised at Central Beds Council’s Cheering Volunteering Awards.
Brown, who has coached athletes to county, national and international standard, as well as officiating at a host of levels across the region, finished third in the Sports Volunteer of the Year category,