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Cross Country Fixtures

Spike, Thomas & Jem win mini-marathon trials 

We paid a price for a magnificent few days of snow running: most of the best-laid plans for weekend races were scotched by cancellations. But to the huge credit of numerous Heathside volunteers the Mini Marathon trials went ahead on Sunday at our Finsbury Park track and saw first places for Spike Blake (u-13), Thomas Archer (u-15) and Jem O’Flaherty (u-17) and a second place for Lily McKay (u-17). And while several half marathons were cancelled, the inaugural Big Half went ahead and saw our Katy Webster, a new mum, cruising home in 79 minutes to beat all our men. One more to survive the cut was the Thames Riverside 20, which saw Louisa Pointon and Liz Drake brave the 8am start to come ninth and 13th respectively.

The Big Half, London, Sunday March 4

Katy Webster led at least 13 Heathsiders home (I might have missed some) at the inaugural Big Half on Sunday – one of the few halves that survived the snow. Katy’s time was an impressive 1:19:1, putting her 10th making her the 18th woman (and 10th in her age group). She was followed by Ash Abrha who limped in with a blister-bloodied foot in 1:22:02. Among several Heathsiders who picked up PBs was our second woman, Sara Black (V45)  in 1:29:20.

Here’s Dominic Jackson’s report: “After a week of snow interrupting all training [not all Dom – some of us relished running in the snow!] and countless events being cancelled, as predicted the weather turned to the good overnight and the start of the race was bathed in glorious sunshine. In fact, I would say it was almost perfect conditions. 

“This was the inaugural Big Half, a fairly flat and fast course starting at the iconic Tower Bridge, the first half taking us on a tour of the East End, highlights including the full length of the Limehouse Link tunnel and the wobbly cobbles of Wapping High Street. Back across Tower Bridge, then for a tour of Southwark's finest trunk and back roads, past a few riverside pubs I must visit at some point, a few more cobbles and finishing right next to the iconic clipper ship the Cutty Sark, giving you a target to sprint for at the finish line.”

To which Sara Black added: “Despite the hideous weather leading up to Sunday, the sun shined, the snow stopped and the inaugural Big Half went ahead. Heading to the start at Tower Bridge felt very much like the morning of the VLM - runners with their official drop off bags, tags on shoes ready and look of excitement and trepidation. Very well organised - lots of portaloos. Loved the loos in each of the corrals.  A well supported and organised race.  Would definitely do it again.”

Mini Marathon trials, Finsbury Park

More than 200 junior runners took part despite the previous few days of frozen weather, thanks to Dave Walton, Adrian Essex and their team of volunteers who shovelled the snow off the track, among many other tasks.

This branch of the trials featured juniors representing boroughs of Haringey (some of our lot), Hackney (others of our lot), Islington, Camden and City of London. Spike Black was first out of 48 among the under-13 boys in a time of 9:31, Thomas Archer was first among the 27 under-15s in 8:54, and Jake Evans third, and Jem O’Flaherty was first out of nine among the under-17 men in 8.22. Among our girls and young women Lily McKay was the second out of nine under-17s while Mimi Blake, Nell Swinhoe and Evelyn Dumbleton came fifth, eighth and 10th respectively out of 18 in the under-15s.

Thames Riverside 20, London, March 4

Louisa Pointon and Liz Drake ran the Thames Riverside 20 on Sunday, as part of their preparations for the London Marathon. Lou was the ninth senior woman in a time of 2:38:28 and Liz was 13th in 2:40:38 - both promising times for April 22. Lou was mainly upbeat about this Clapham Chasers-run event. "Fabulous goody bag and cake," she began, although she did add: "8am start from Putney and tricky terrain with lots of puddles."


The weather put a stop to most of Saturday’s Parkruns, which meant that only 10 of our runners took part (in seven races). The club results are here.


The Big Half, London, Sunday March 4

Katy Webster 1:19:18

Asmelash Abrha 1:22:02
Paul Beale 1:24:14

Alan Smith 124:41 (PB)
Dominic Jackson 1:25:20
Tony Shearer 1:25:41
Jim Connell 1:28:42
Liam Hazelton 1:29:03 (PB)
Sara Black 1:29:20 (71st woman) (*PB)
Philip McDermott 1:36:32 (PB)
Satu Hietanen 1:36:48 (173rd woman)

Tara Shrestha Carney 1:42.47
Simon Hazel 2:06:06

Mini Marathon trials, Finsbury Park, Sunday March 4

Under-13 boys

1st Spike Blake – 9:31

14th Arthur Reed – 10:24

Under-15 boys

1st Thomas Archer -8:54

3rd Jake Evans – 9:05

14th Oliver O’Connor – 10:08

16th Stan Brown – 10:14

17th William Crawford – 10:17

Under-17 men

1st Jem O’Flaherty – 8.22

Under-15 girls

5th Mimi Blake – 10:18

8th Nell Swinhoe – 10:30

10th Evelyn Dumbleton – 10:54

Under-17 women

2nd Lily McKay – 10:41.

Thames Riverside 20, London, March 4

Louisa Pointon - 2:38:28 (9th senior woman)

Elizabeth Drake - 2:40:38 (13th senior woman)

 Report by Gavin Evans, with thanks to Dominic Jackson, Sara Black, John Driscoll (pics) and Russell Weston.

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