The start of the Marham Flyers’ New Year’s Eve 10K, which ran around the airfield.Pictures: TIM SMITH.

ATHLETICS: The period between Christmas and New Year, ‘Betwixtmas’, was certainly not an idle time as far as the local running scene was concerned, with at least five races in as many days, featuring some 3,000 participants.

Among them were almost 60 Ryston Runners. This was on top of/alongside several hundred more involved in the parkruns and the club’s own Christmas Eve relays at Shouldham Warren.

By far the biggest number of Ryston members were supporting the Marham Flyers New Year’s Eve 10K, where the course around the airfield was, for once, relatively wind free. However, that did not make it any less of a challenge for the near-300 finishers, among whom were more than 50 in Ryston vests.

Second overall in the race was club chairman, Rob Simmonds, running 35.19, with past member Paul Keaney having to give way to him and take third place in 35.43. 

Amy Chapman took the honours for the club in the women’s race, 21st place overall in 40.25. 

In fifth place overall, Oliver Foxwell saw out the year in style with a near-half minute personal best time of 36.23.

Nic Bensley, now an M50, left many younger runners in his wake, finishing seventh in 37.27. There were no age categories applied in the race but, had there been, Ryston Runners would have featured in the top three of many of them, as well as gobbling up any team awards available. 

As it was, everyone was just out to enjoy an excellent end-of-year event and benefit from the generous goodie bags provided at the end. 

One to benefit more than most was Keith Morris who, struggling with a foot problem, ran a much slower time than usual, leading him to end up in one of the spot prize-winning positions.

Another to benefit, making up for a relatively poor run, was Kevin Howlett, whose time at the Sublime Peterborough New Year’s Eve 10k, affected by a post-Christmas cold, was leaving him disappointed and grumpy until it was announced he had won the aforementioned prize. A finish of 148th out of 764 finishers in 47.08 had put him fifth in the M60 category.

Also eschewing the appeal of running around an airfield, Eamonn McCusker went to the Ely New Year’s Eve 10K, where he covered the uncharacteristically un-muddy course in 49.51 for fifth place in the M65 category, 236th out of 597 finishers.

A few club members had got in their post-festivity efforts even earlier, in the Sublime Cambridge 10K. Among another almost 600-strong field, Tristan Langley was first in a Ryston vest to finish, finishing 87th in 45.57. Frances Rayner ran 50.38 for 161st place and was fourth in the W50 category. 

Donna Jeary ran 63.54 to finish 456th, a tad ahead of Richard Wilkins, who came 463rd in 64.40. If there were a prize for consistency, Wilkins would probably get it, as he then ran 64.35 at Marham a few days later, where he was 263rd.

Pete Johnson kept his powder dry until 2020 had arrived, and ran in the Wymondham New Year’s Day 10K, where he finished 168th in a field of more than 650 runners, to bag second place in the M65 category in 46.21

Other Ryston positions and times at Marham. 12 Jason Cooper 39.09, 13 Gavin Reynolds 39.15, 16 Malcolm Tuff 39.47, 19 Stewart Robins 40.15, 20 Ben Foxwell 40.24, 22 Jonny Lambert 40.20, 27 Simon Abel 41.22, 30 Martin Ive 41.29, 34 John Hopgood 41.46, 40 Dan Pratt 42.18, 44 Martin Heeley 42.43, 56 Lesley Robins 43.21, 60 Shaun Hamer 43.54, 61 Gareth Hunt 44.03, 60 Owen Jary 44.27, 68 Barry Smith 44.32, 69 Les Scott 44.35, 72 Graeme Leeson 45.08, 77 Dawn Robinson 45.36, 79 Tiegan Moore 45.38, 81 Anna Smith 45.50, 87 Mark Crook 46.16, 94 Irena Marcinek 46.40, 96 Jason Hawes 47.07, 104 Linda Marshall 47.56, 105 Julia Norman 48.02, 108 Penny Seeger 48.09, 110 John Bowen 48.16, 112 Paul Curson 48.19, 115 Kevin Taylor 48.56, 117 Anna Seaman, 143 Jane Ashby 51.29, 149 Pauline Sparrow 51.37, 152 Sarah Taylor 51.48, 157 Charlotte Smith 52.35, 163 Cheryl Brown 52.54, 184 Wendy Fisher 54.23, 192 Sarah Partridge 55.20, 223 Claire Emery 58.31, 224 Jeremy Navrady 58.34, 225 James Hornigold 58.44, 229 Keith Morris 59.28, 244 Donna Jeary 61.45, 246 Sophie Caudwell 62.10, 267 Charlie Wilson 65.39, 273 Jon Benstead 67.24.

Seasonal races are also not uncommon in Spain, where they tend to be over 5K or thereabouts. Peter and Cath Duhig took part in their local event on New Year’s Eve, in Pilar de la Horadada. Pete’s official gun to tape time was 25.01, which gave him, at 70, 12th place in the M55 category, 105th overall. Cath walked the two-lap course in 31.10 for second place in the W55 category, and 202nd out of almost 300 finishers.

The previous weekend Cath had made a 500-plus kilometre round trip by car to take part in the XXXIV GP de Marcha Atlética Ciudad de Guadix – XV Memorial Manuel Alcalde where she came second in the W45+ category in 31.51.

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