February results roundup

With thanks to David Chalfen for writing this up, here's just some of the highlights from the few weeks.  Well done to everyone involved.

If it is the National Cross Country weekend then you can look forward to a posse of the club’s fastest turning up at errm the Wokingham Half Marathon. So, making the most of their current fitness on the road, and with the quickest pair hacking big inroads into their PBs, Serpentine packed between 5th and 8th place Jonathan Poole 66.20 and Andy Greenleaf 66.25, now 2nd and 3rd on the Serps All Time rankings, and Nick Torry whose 66.47 puts him at the head of the UK V40 rankings for 2019, and will be hard to dislodge. Also swift back up from Xavier Gruot in 70.19 and newer member Chris Phillips-Hart in 72.10, with David Evans close to his PB in 76.10 . Leading Serpie woman was Catherine Harris in 83.10. Heading South to Brighton in another stacked half marathon Nic Besson found a solid 71.58 just outside the Top 15, 2 days after zipping though the Last Friday 5k in 15.45 to place 2nd, in what was a big racing weekend on road and Country.


At the National itself, the leading Serpie was Chris Wright with a strong 31st place, 70 seconds off the medals over 12k,backed up initially by Hugh Torry 198th and Nathan Wilkins 279th, whilst Tash Sheel in 141st led the women’s team, 15 discs ahead of Ahlem Ben-Gueblia, having her best ever result over the country.


Earlier in the month we had the final Met League fixture of a middling season for the Club’s A teams, finishing 4th in both Men’s and Women’s senior leagues neither of which truly represents the full potential of current swiftest members. That said, there was a breakthrough result by Julian Barbour in 27th place.  His advance was matched by Megan Roberts, her 15th also a ‘career best’ and heading the Serpie women for the first time in a race at this level. That Birmingham University endurance legacy coming through. The men were led home by Chris Wright, taking 5th after what is now becoming a customary tight group cracking along together for 7k before unravelling. Good packing by several of the usual suspects and a return to non-parkrun racing by Tim Powell.


The following weekend’s Hampton Court Half had a big turnout of Serpies.  Catherine Meyer set a PB, broke the 80 minute barrier and was only around 60 metres from the win with her excellent 79.51, suggesting the recent 2.57 marathon time has some scope to advance. Also a 2 minute PB by Ahlem Ben Gueblia with Jacqueline O Connor edging her PB into 87 minute land. Amongst the men Chris Wright was in the ‘comfortable’ position of doing a fartlek session, opening the race with some easier warm up kms yet winding up winning the thing in 68.49.  Georgy Dzhgarkava with 75.47 was also at the sharp end,  making his presence known as a very new member. 


Fine further progress at the Seville Marathon by Gemma Carter with a 4 minute PB in 2.54, whilst up the age groups the evergreen Kevin Murray clocked a swift 2.14 at the Bramley 20, 3 hour pace at age 55.

Emilie Isaacs led the Serps women home in the London Winter 10k in a swift 39.04,  a large PB, (though the course isn’t PO10- certified). Leading man Graham O’Donoghue, was right in touch with his PB, in 34.45. Pick of latest parkrunners is James Gillanders, leading home the Burgess Park run last weekend with a nippy 16.55.


At time of writing the next big club date, amidst a very busy time on the road scene and final knockings of XC, is likely to be the Big Half Marathon including the UKA champs on 10 March; well worth spectating for anyone not racing.


David Chalfen



Tom Poynton


Submitted: 26 February 2019