Farnham Runners repeated their successful team results at the Alton 10 the following week at the Netley 10k, organised by Southampton AC.
There is one race to go in the series, the Alresford 10k, but all the Farnham club’s A and B teams already look set to remain in the top divisions.
It was a long journey with an early start yet 27 members made the effort to support their team.
Nik Darlington was the only one to squeeze in his finish before the heavens opened and the rest were soaked in a continuous heavy deluge.
As usual for the Netley 10k, the finishing memento, as well as a medal, was a towel – never more needed!
Nik was in a very strong leading pack for the first half before finishing in a splendid time of 34.25. This gave him fifth place of the 537 finishers and was a new personal best.
Next was James Clarke, getting back to his full fitness in an excellent 36.14.
Neil Ambrose was just over 40 minutes in 40.05, while Chris Raby, improving with every race, was delighted with his PB of 41.24. His effort was rewarded with the final place in the A team, and he was also third M60 in the race. This team came fifth on the day and they lie fifth of the ten clubs in the top division.
Justin Clarke in 41.51 headed a close-packed B team with Luke Smith in a PB 41.54, Ivan Chunnett in a PB 42.06 and Tony Jones in 43.06. They came sixth in B Division One.
The C team came out top of B Division Two, bringing them up to eighth of 19 clubs in that division. They were Terry Copeland, sixth M60 in 43.29, Steve Bailey in 44.16, James Goodwin in 44.37 (PB) and Mike Smith in 46.18.
Tony Hollands competed in his first road race in Farnham colours in 51.42 and Clive Frostick came in a minute later in 52.51. Douglas Blyth was pleased to be back racing after an injury and to record a chip time of 1:10.15.
The first four Farnham Runners ladies were all delighted to record new personal-best times for a 10km and they clinched a second team place in the top A division on the day, securing a slot in the top flight for next season.
Kayleigh Copeland almost cracked her 40-minute target in a fine 40.21, to be tenth lady and fourth in the senior category. Louise Granell recorded a PB of 42.07.
Linda Tyler, having gained a new personal best of 45.18 in the recent Vitality London 10km, went on to deduct another 41 seconds in 44.43 and was first F60. Emma Patton impressed in her first race for Farnham in 44.50.
The B team were fourth on the day and lie fifth in B Division One. Bella Weetch took four minutes from her PB in 48.47, while Sue Taylor ran her first 10km race in 50.26. Kay Copeland was sixth F60 in 52.25 and Georgina Anderson deducted more than two minutes from her PB in 52.27.
The four in the C team that placed second in their division and lie second were Gill Iffland in 52.15, Jane Georghiou in 52.40, Carol Dare in 55.34 and Clair Bailey in 56.45.
On the same day was the Woodland Woggle, one of the local running highlights of the year.
This one-lap 10km trail race starts and finishes on the beautiful Hampton estate and takes runners on a challenging course across Puttenham Common with undulating hills, great views, bluebell woods and pine forests.
This year, 381 runners took part with 19 representing Farnham Runners.
The Woggle is superbly organised by the Blackwater Valley Runners, with support from the 2nd Farnham (Hale) Scouts and by kind permission of the Estate owners Bridget and Bill Beddell.
Runners raise money for local charities Disability Challengers and Phyllis Tuckwell and are rewarded with medals, bacon sandwiches and hot drinks at the finish.
Race director Dave Porter invited Farnham Runner and GB Paralympian Rachel Morris to start the race, which she did before completing the course herself – the first wheelchair runner to do so.
Farnham Runners fielded a strong team with Chris Matthews taking third place overall while third M40.
Emma Pearson was seventh lady and second F40 and Ali Falkiner was 11th lady and fifth F40. Other runners who braved the wet weather and conquered the hills were Peter Callow, Chris Jackson, Becky Martin, Kate Townsend, Bridgid Walters, Sarah Wilkinson, Sally Kerr, Catherine Crawford, Jackie Wilkinson, Susan Mackenzie, Penny Schnabel, Jacquie Browne, Jonathan Salomon, Rachel Morris, Catherine Crow and Carolyn Wickham.
After completing the race, Emma Pearson, the first Farnham Runners lady finisher, said: “The Woodland Woggle is one of the most scenic 10ks around, with breathtaking views – but also a lot of hills!
“It’s so well organised with amazing marshals – and a bacon roll at the end makes it one of my favourite races.”
Two weeks later Linda Tyler and Nik Darlington tackled the Edinburgh marathon in perfect weather.
Linda found the course tougher than she expected and yet she finished an excellent second F60 out of 35 in the category in 3:44.28. She enjoyed the support of the crowd and members of the Tyler family.
Nik had kept up a rigorous training plan of up to 90 miles per week.
He said: “Marathons are unpredictable. You train for at least three or four months and it can all be undone on the day by weather, conditions, or the fickle nature of the human body. It is vital to the success of any marathon to set a realistic and broad goal.
“Based on how my training block had gone, I went into the Edinburgh marathon confident that 2hr 36min was a rational upper target.
“We always aspire to a PB, so 2:42 was the logical base target.
“Aiming a bit higher and 2:40 isn’t just a nice milestone, but the qualification time for a championship entry to the London Marathon.
“So 2:36 to 2:39 – and 59 seconds! – seemed a target broad enough, ambitious enough, yet definitely achievable.
“In terms of average splits that’s 5min 57sec to 6min 6sec per mile, which is pretty large in marathon terms.
“That large spread would prove to be crucial because the race didn’t go to plan and yet I came out of it happy having achieved my goal. Too narrow a target and if disaster strikes, you have less of a window to aim for.
“This was a lifesaver when cramp struck the sole of my left foot about 18 or 19 miles in on a dusty, loose gravel path – as I later found out it did for others, too.
“At that point I was on track for the upper end of my target, but I knew immediately that was no longer on the cards. With the sole of your foot cramping your stride needs to adapt, becoming much shorter and less fluid.
“Diminishing your running form at this stage of a marathon puts everything else out of kilter so I soon found my calves started to cramp as well.
“Some mental arithmetic told me if I could just about cling on to 6.30 splits or thereabouts for the rest of the race, the lower end of my target was still in reach. At this point, just having anything to aim for is vital.
“So approaching the finish line I looked up at the clock, reading 2hr, 39min and 58 sec.
“After four months of training, more than 2½ hours of running, it all came down to two seconds!”