Alton Runners had a busy weekend on May 14 and 15 when members took part in the Emsworth to Cliddesden Relay and the Netley 10k.
The relay is organised by the Basingstoke Relay Charity Challenge and this year raised funds for two town-based charities.
The Café Project helps and supports young adults with learning disabilities, and The Viables Memory Club organises activities for people with early dementia.
The relay race takes place mainly on public footpaths and trails on a 70km route across Hampshire. This year, as well as the challenging course, the runners had to survive the hot sunny weather which would have been great for sitting on the beach or in a pub garden, but not for running.
Alton Runners entered five teams in the race and their men’s A team James Bonding finished first overall in a time of 4hr 44min, just two minutes ahead of the second-placed team captained by David Reid of Liss Runners.
The James Bonding team captain and team co-ordinator Alex Hall said: “I’d been looking forward to taking part in this event for more than two years.
“All the recognisance runs that we did were well worth the effort and enabled us to achieve our first-place finish. I was pleased with the efforts and achievements of all five Alton Runners teams.”
Other members of the winning team were James Perrett, Chris Birch, Alistair Morey and Sam Larcombe.
In third place overall was the ironically-named Top Winning Alton Team captained by Richard Taylor, who said: “Eighteen legs, five men, one mission – sounds like the opening sequence of a good thriller, and this year’s Emsworth Relay was exactly that!
“My job was to captain the men’s second team, and to secure our place as the top-winning Alton team – even in the likely event we didn’t finish on top.
“Well, that was part of the irony for choosing that team name.
“Thanks to splendid teamwork and intense physical training leading up to the race, we completed the 70km course in an impressive 5hr 9min.”
The rest of his team were Alistair Smith, Joe Murrell, Oliver Steele-Perkins and Neil Kinder.
Alton Aces, captained by Jim Armitage, finished in ninth place in a time of 6hr 23min. “Not bad at all,” said Jim, “especially as the average age of our team was almost 60.
“We worked well as a team reccying the course and supporting each other during the race.”
His team consisted of Ian Jackson, Philip Scrase, Richard Bacon and David Hayles.
The Alton Runners ladies’ team Cirque du Sore Legs captained by Emily Parker finished 16th overall and third-place ladies’ team in a time of seven hours.
Emily thought the team had done really well and was pleased with the third-place finish. The rest of her team were Diane Byrne, Claire Hill, Jane Scrase, Jane Law and Pippa Perrett.
The fifth-placed Alton team Endeavour were all first-time participants in the relay, taking part to enjoy the day. They finished in 23rd position in a time of 9hr 28min.
Team captain Jonathan Cooke said: “We loved the event – it was a great day out and we worked together as a team, supporting each other and cheering our fellow team members on through a very long day.
“Seeing our final leg come to an end was a wonderful sight to behold, knowing we have managed to work as a team to accomplish something so great!”
The rest of Team Endeavour were Erin McGreavey, Karen Eckworth , Millie Wilson, Carly Eeles and Darren Morrish.
The following day 18 members of Alton Runners represented the club in the Hampshire Road Race League at the Netley 10k, near Southampton.
Eleven of the team had already run in the relay the previous day but were happy to take part in another event. The weather was a complete contrast as the day started off sunny but about half-hour into the run it started to rain heavily.
This wasn’t too bad for the lead runners but those finishing further down the field got soaked.
This included founder member Hugh Bethel who became the first octogenarian to represent the club in a 10k road race.
Kathryn Powell was pleased with her run, saying: “This was my first Netley 10k – it’s my least favourite distance to run but I was really pleased to get under the hour.
“Arriving in glorious sunshine and then having the heavens opening was a shock – the course became so wet, so quickly!
“I had rain dripping off every part of me and could barely see at times but the very worst thing was running through puddles in my brand-new trainers! It was wonderful to do the event with the club for the first time, too.”
Men’s club captain James Perrett was first over the line for Alton. Having run in the relay race the previous day, he had to call on his reserve strength to complete the race but said: “I’m glad we did it – winning a trophy in the relay and gaining valuable points in the Hampshire Road Race League gave us all a feeling of satisfaction.”
The full complement of Alton Runners at Netley were James Perrett (35.44), Alex Hall (36.50), Alistair Smith (38.35), Andrew Hook (41.41), Rachel Walsh (41.59), Andrew Tarrant (44.24), Richard Taylor (44.57), Abbie Tarrant (47.35), Richard Bacon (48.40), Philip Scrase (50.52), Diane Byrne (51.49), Tim Fagg (51.52), Jim Armitage (54.41), Hugh Bethel (56.21), Kathryn Powell (57.39), Richard Scrase (59.47), Emily Parker (60.45) and Jane Scrase (61.21).
By Jim Armitage