30 Nov 2020 Club Championships Report
As twenty seven of the “Blue & Yellow Army” lined up on the start for a wet and windy Lliswerry 8 on Sunday 26th January, the first Club Championship race of the year, none of us could have predicted how the rest of the 2020 Race Fixture List would pan out. Look at this optimistic lot, excited about the future battles to be fought out in the next few months…..
There were just two more “real races” to be run before it all went pear-shaped in March; the Ponty Reverse 10 and Gwent XC League Race 4, held at picturesque Blaise Castle in Bristol.
Our Club Champs are usually based on 15 races spread across the year, with the rules being your best 8 count, and you need to complete 4 races to be considered for a podium place. So the Committee had to be “ultra-inventive” in March when lockdown was announced, and come up with as many ‘virtual’ challenges as they could. Luckily they were helped by Cardiff Running Events and Welsh Athletics offering various opportunities from 1 mile right up to Half Marathon…so the Champs were saved! The cherry on top was our own 10k Road Champs in Penarth last weekend…a huge success with a bumper turnout and almost certainly sure to be repeated in future years.
So who are the 2020 Champions and podium placers?
This was pretty much a two horse race between Bethan Apglyn and Catherine Barker, although they were chased at a distance by resurgent(s) Lisa Cleary and Debbie Warburton. Beth stole an early march with strong runs at Lliswerry, Ponty and the early virtual races, but Cath got into her stride with the 3m/4m/10k races in the height of summer, as Beth struggled a bit with hay fever. Both ladies finished on 157 points, with just 40 seconds between them at the final 10k. Normally a tie is resolved by a countback system that looks at the results of head-to-head competition between those involved. It fell in favour of Cath, but lovely person she is, she messaged me and stated she wanted to share the Overall Title, as 2020 has been such an usual year. What a wonderful gesture…sums up the qualities of the special people who are members of this club.
Bethan shares the Overall Title, so passes on this one…..but no other members had the required 4 races to qualify for podium.
Veteran Women 35
Worthy winner of the title this year is Louise Hunt (8 races), followed in by Sophie Gott (7 races)…both of them keen XC devotees and and regularly supporting the virtual time trials.
Veteran Women 45
It was really great to see the re-emergence of Debbie Warburton (8 races) this year…a huge talent, but sidelined in recent times by some fairly horrendous injuries. Debbie had major surgery on her foot about a year ago, and has patiently, meticulously built back her fitness and is now coming back into a rich vein of form…just need some local W50 races to validate great recent training and TT outings!
Clear in 2nd place was the hugely consistent Julie Broughton (9 races), and then in 3rd we had another tie! Arabella Calder (10 races) and Mandy Barrington (8 races) both scored 132 points. This was one on the most competitive age categories, with Emma Healy, Kath Petersen and Jan Frost all vying for that final podium spot.
Veteran Women 55
Lisa Cleary (11 races) romped home with a “full house” score of 160 points, but it was lovely to see her mate Debbie Rees (8 races) nabbing the Silver spot. Judy Maragna (6 races) was a model of consistency in the virtual challenges and was rewarded with the Bronze.
The Overall Men’s Title was all about the total domination by one individual…Ian Southwell. Ian was the only Club member to complete all 12 Championship races, and he cleaned up in the Overall and Senior Men’s Categories (but see below) with a full-house 160 points. The only races where he was beaten by another member were the CRE 1 mile (Mike Morgan) and Club 5k Challenge (Nathan Christoforato & Dave Mathews). Awesome running all year Ian, well done mate! 2nd and 3rd in the Overall were Nathan and Andy Pearce, who rather aptly were the two runners who finished behind Ian at the final 10k last weekend.
With Ian out of the reckoning, Nathan Christoforato (9 races) stepped up to take this age category. He was followed in by one of the revelations of the year, Joe Turner (8 races). Joe trains with a maturity beyond his years, a superbly measured balance between hard and easy sessions, and it’s paid off for him this year, with big improvements in his 5k time. In 3rd spot was “Mr Consistency” Kit Lambert (9 races), who now moves up to the V40 ranks to cause mischief and mayhem.
Veteran Men 40
This was a category that went right up to the wire, but was eventually claimed by strong performances from Jon Ely (8 races). He was challenged by Steven Barker (8 races), who did remarkably well in a year somewhat beset by injury issues. Another very consistent performer was rewarded with the Bronze spot, Gareth Davies (9 races).
Veteran Men 50
This category was an out and out “punch up” between two regulars at Barry Island parkrun! Andy Pearce (9 races) just snook in with 159 points, but he had Kevin Chalke (11 races) & 157 points breathing down his neck all year. After tying for 3rd last year with Peter Trott, this year Nigel Adams (7 races) had the Bronze spot all to himself….but not before seeing off a spirited challenge from Richard Jackson, who was just 4 points adrift.
Veteran Men 60
The Editor’s favourite category! 😂😉 After a couple of injury-strewn years in the wilderness, Simon Williamson (11 races) finally got his act together for 2020, and managed to creep in ahead of “Mr Evergreen” Malcolm Bradley (11 races) and Chris Nellins (10 races). These lads (all retired it should be mentioned…) managed to just stay ahead of Brian Law, who scored maximum points in the 7 races he completed…and who knows what damage Frank Atherton would have caused if he hadn’t been “otherwise-engaged” this year?
Finally, big kudos to all members of Penarth and Runners who turned out to support our Club Championships during this strange year….an amazing EIGHTY runners, comprising 49 Men and 31 Women, which out of total membership of 110 at the beginning of the year is absolutely brilliant! And massive thanks to Malcolm Bradley for collating the results and keeping the tables up-to-date. Full results can be found here (**Please note: Several photos courtesy of Robert Gale and Paul Stillman, thanks chaps)