Ryston Runners line up ahead of GEAR. Picture: TONY PAYNE.

ATHLETICS: West Norfolk got into GEAR at last for the Grand East Anglia Run, which was postponed from April.

It attracted almost 70 Ryston Runners for the main 10K event, with several junior members taking part in Mini GEAR. 

Cool, damp conditions made for a pleasant experience for all, with a revised route adding extra interest.

At the sharp end of the race there was an exciting battle between clubmates James O’Neill and Callum Stanforth, with O’Neill grabbing the victory by two seconds, giving him fourth place overall to Stanforth’s fifth. 

However, O’Neill is in the M40 category, which accounted for the top four places in the race overall, leaving the way open for Stanforth to claim the honours as first senior man overall. They ran 34.27 and 34.29 respectively.

Almost as close were the next two Ryston men home, Ben Keeley, 10th in 36.09 (5th SM) and Matthew Thrower, 12th in 36.19 (7th M40). Jay Belham (23rd/37.43) separated these two from Nic Bensley, 33rd overall and winner of the M50 category in 38.26.

Owen Hopgood (48th/39.35) just edged out his dad, John (49th/39.36) ahead of Jason Cooper (50th/39.41) and Martin Sheldrick (55th/39.53/4th M50) to complete the list of those clocking sub-40 minutes.

Emma Wood was first of the Ryston women to finish, 79th overall/5th SW, in 41.33, with Dawn Robinson running a personal best time of 42.46 to claim second spot, 8th SW. 

Debbie James was second in the W50 category in 45.33.

The W70 category featured a win for Jane Ashby, whose time of 51.56 in 490th place overall, represented an 88 per cent age grading. Pauline Sparrow, also W70, was third in 54.35, and, despite having been unable to train properly due to a leg injury, Helen Sewell (1.25.09) was ninth in the same age group to maintain her place in the elite band of those who have completed every GEAR since the event’s inception. That list includes Nic Bensley, Mark Doughty (47.25), Stewart Robins (47.54) and David Lane who, despite a long running battle with injury, jogged/ hobbled/walked round in 72.46 to maintain his record. 

Other PB times reported were posted by Jamie Bransgrove (42.01), Justin Walker (42.31), Caine Burton (45.28), and Alicia Hammond (49.18).

Other Ryston times: Malcolm Tuff 40.16, Stephen Lee 41.28, Gavin Reynolds 41.35, Dan Pratt 41.59, Martin Heeley 43.47, Tony Savage 43.55 (4th M60), Hayley Hawes 44.33 (4thW40) Mark Fountain 44.40, Ian Milburn 44.27, Ian Wiggins 44.58, Kirsty Butters 45.01 (5thW40), Gareth Hunt 45.34, Nigel Kenny 45.27, Dominic Hughes 45.55, Ashish Ashtogi 46.17, Molly Sands 46.29, Shaun Hamer 46.36, Lesley Robins 46.24, Rosie Booth 47.11, Kevin Farquhar 47.40, Jason Hawes 47.20, Tristan Langley 47.34, John Bowen 47.12, Adam Dye 48.42, Julie Williamson 48.37, Jonathan Pentelow 49.16, Juliette Meek 49.16, Linda Marshall 49.39, Elaine Lumley 50.12, Russell Cooper 51.02, Wendy Fisher 52.10, Paul Carter 52.07, Helen Cooper 52.10, Pauline Drewery 53.15, Frances Rayner 53.57, Lisa Harris 55.55, Christopher Mines 58.13, Lindsey Clare 61.32, Liz Blakie 62.28, Martin Blackburn 61.29, Charlie Wilson 65.41, Gill Hart 64.30, Matty Parker 67.39, Laura Brown 69.03, Jon Benstead 71.10, Sue Tuff 71.12, Mick Ennis 72.27, Wendy Farquhar 73.09, Jade Cooper 72.33, Claire Handley 77.41.

λ Owen Jary ran the London Vitality Big Half, raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research, and ran a near-seven minute PB of 1.33.51. Also competing over the London course was Anna Smith, She completed her 13.1 miles in 1.44.16

λ A few members made their way to the third round of the Athletics Norfolk Quadkids event on Sunday.

Dione Britton was the sole representative for the Year 4&5 girls and finished 19th with 115 points. Charley Wheatley, Sarah Wright, Skye Britton, and Abbie Shackloth all competed in the Year 6/7 girls category. Wheatley was second to take a silver medal with 189 points. Wright was 13th with 122 points, Shackloth 15th with 111, and Britton 17th with 72.

λ At the other end of the age scale, Ryston was represented by a handful of competitors at the BMAF Track and Field Championships in Derby. 

Gaye Clarke and Patricia Oakes brought home at least two gold, a silver and a bronze medal between them.