Dawn Robinson. Picture: Tim Smith

ATHLETICS: One of the high-lights of the Ryston Runners year made a welcome return last Thursday when almost 50 members took part in the “Hancock Handicap”.

This is a multi-terrain five-mile event on the roads and tracks around Downham Market and Wimbotsham, culminating in a fish and chip supper at the club’s base at the DTSF in Downham.

After the staggered start, to which handicaps had been applied by Marlene Simmonds, the first back to the finish line was Justin Walker, who covered the course in 35:51, with the first woman, Dawn Robinson, coming in just behind having spent 36:37 out on the course. Two of the club’s more “vintage” runners were next home: Kevin Howlett and Pauline Sparrow.

The fastest time by a woman was 35:51 by Beth Shaw, who finished ninth, two places ahead of the fastest man, club chairman Rob Simmonds, one of only two who broke 30 minutes on the night, his 29:15 heading off the 29:54 run by Warren Armstrong.

The finishers’ list provided a great reflection of the club’s members familiar and new: Owen Hopgood, John Hopgood, Tony Savage, Kirsty Butters, Shaun Hamer, Wendy Fisher, Matthew Thrower, Elaine Lumley, Chris Chapman, Michael Howlett, Nigel Kenny, Ben Keeley, Matty Parker, Pauline Drewery, Jason Hawes, Stephen Lee, Nic Bensley, Eamonn McCusker, Dan Pratt, Martin Ive, John Bowen, Callum Stanforth, Julie Barrow, Mark Fountain, Gill Hart, Will Honeybone, Ben Collison, Gavin Reynolds, Christopher Milnes, Linda Marshall, Andy Simmonds, Maureen Wolfe, Georgina Allen, Jamie Bransgrove, Charlie Wilson and Gareth Hunt.

Organisation was a team effort, and Nic Bensley and Rob Simmonds provided the medals. 

All three Senior members took honours from the 5K race out of 10 runners at the “Dinosaur Dash” held at Lenwade. Darren Easter (11th) won the M45-49 category, Emma Wood was 2nd Senior Woman (24th) and Danny Smith was 3rd Senior Man (5th overall).

The Junior race, over 2.5K, saw Rory and Leo Wood separated by Aidan Howard, 8th, 10th and 11th respectively. Lola Kidman, in 12th place, was first of the Ryston girls, 3rd in category. Evie Clayton (18th), Ruby Smith (31st), Thomas Elsdon (33rd) and Izzy Wood (44th) completed the Ryston contingent.

Up in the Lake District among the large field tackling the Montane Lakeland 50/100, Montane-sponsored athlete, Richard Ebbs completed the 50 mile race in 10 hours, for 23rd place overall, 2nd in the M50 category. His wife Natalie finished the course at about 3.30am, after 14 hours.

On Monday evening, in place of the usual club training sessions, a fun “Olympics” was held for all ages with teams based on the previous six host Olympic nations,.

The ‘GB’ team came away with the win.