Week Ending - 2020/02/23


Group A

Dave McGowen

Group B

Kay Whitehead

Paul Restall

Group C

Vikki Smith


There were a number of outstanding performances on Sunday at the Melton Mowbray based Stilton 7 race where Badgers began their 2020 Leicestershire Road Running League campaign. The men’s team led by captain Simon Currier are seeking to win their third title in as many seasons while the ladies are back in the top flight after securing promotion last season under the tutelage of Sarah Jane Chetwynd. Two club records fell which is incredible given the blustery conditions and amount of standing water on the course.

First back for the club in a classy 4th place overall was the talismanic club record holder for the distance Ryan Bennett. His return to the side provided a massive boost to those around him and he finished in a superb time of 40:08. Dave McGowan was just two places behind in a tremendous 40:46, a personal best for the Baddesley man who seems to improve with each and every run. Dave Hill has been training hard for the Manchester marathon and he made his road league debut for Badgers here and what a start it was too. Running a magnificent 41:27, he grafted his way into the top ten, finishing strongly to pick up vital places in the final mile. Chris Horton ran a gutsy 42:05 in 13th place with vice-Captain Mark Repton producing the best performance of his career to date with a stunning 42:17 two places back, a huge personal best over the distance and rich reward for all his hard work over the winter.

Adrian Payne was another to step up to the plate in the absence of a number of regular personnel, with Chris Baxter transferring to a more local club and Aaron Chetwynd still suffering with illness, the muscular former skipper proved his credentials yet again with a quality run of 43:24 in 24th spot, for once earning bragging rights over fatigued team-mate and new-dad Danny Warren, who battled hard six seconds behind his good friend. Veteran Neil Russell has been a key man in both sides’ back to back title wins and here he chipped in with a brave display despite being less than 100%. His 43:54 enabled him to take 31st place in a race that saw the men’s team occupy 15 of the top 81 places – a monumental effort and testament to the club’s strength in depth. Neil Clemons (43:54), Glyn Broadhurst (44:32) and Mark Cox (44:40 - PB) finished 35th, 36th and 38th respectively with some more amazing performances. Clemons is improving week by week and key-man Broadhurst shows no sign of slowing down despite approaching his mid-forties. Cox has been a revelation too, another graduate of the school of hard work, his times just keep on coming down.

Veteran Sam Starkey finished a superb 43rd in the race with his rapid 44:49 and influential Dave Jackson returned to the help shepherd the side to more valuable vets points as the hard drinking car-booter returned with a steady time of 46:46. Graham Engley (47:38) and Cameron Barnes (48:09 – PB) both had excellent races in 77th and 81st places. Bearing in mind there were 23 teams represented across the field of almost 500 runners, Badgers were all over the top end of this event as well as permeating deep throughout. Colin Lees, Ian Orton and courageous skipper Simon Currier dug deep as did Wayne Repton (55:53 – PB). John Shade, a few days shy of his 74th birthday broke his own V70 club record by over nine minutes as he crossed the line in 59:52 a quite magnificent achievement on a day and course not suited to records. New boy Mark Reynolds just missed the hour mark by four seconds in a determined effort with the experienced Alan Argyle, Paul Restall and John Devenney all soldiering on just behind in handy times of their own.

The ladies side were led home by the speedy Rachael Shelton who ran an impressive 55:47 in her first attempt at the distance. This earned the popular mum of two a top 50 finish. She was followed home by the long serving Esther Holyoak who has run more road league races than any other lady in the club and her time of 56:27 represented a good reward for her consistent hard work. Nicki Bowman is on the comeback trail and impressed once again, finishing strongly in 58:06 before Pip Weston took the second of two club records to fall on the day, eclipsing the legendary Maggi Savin-Baden’s long standing V50 mark set in 2014 with a super speedy and no less determined run of 1:00:08. Marathon bound Lil Souter and the hugely respected Judy Parkes were next through, the latter securing yet another PB as like a fine wine she improves with age. Jo Davies made the top 100 with a battling effort of 62:03 and Sarah Reynolds made another positive impression in her first full season with a measured run of 64:57. Mandi Stain tried hard in 67:25 ahead of newcomer Stephanie Attenborough with Lisa Barnes bagging a PB in 75:29. Ann-Marie Currier helped pace a resurgent Anne Devenney to a distance PB in 79:11 while Teresa Satchell completed her longest race to date just one second behind her.

Away from the cut and thrust of league action, the Leicestershire Half Marathon took place at a breezy Prestwold Hall and it was new recruit Matt Scarsbrook who flew the flag for the club with a rip-snorting run of 77:28, a quite magnificent time in a quality field too earning him an 11th place finish overall.

Parkrun was reasonably active despite a few local events falling foul of the foul wet weather. Esther Holyoak finished 2nd lady at Babbs Mill with Tim Gould bagging a career best 5th place in 21:48. Carl Holyoak, Colin Lees, Ian Orton and Mike Wyant were the other Badgers in action along with Matt Green, Amanda Gould and Stephanie Attenborough. Matt Jackson flew round at Oaklands in an impressive 19:54 earning the youngster 4th place. His mum Sharon took 5th lady in 24:51 with Lil Souter, Bill Gutheridge and Mick Bailey all going well. Jared Karim featured at Millhouses parkrun and Karen Missen was in action at Cannock Chase. Dean Bowd ran at Coventry and Holly McClay and Andy Smith starred at Dudley. Terry Argyle, Nicola Stanley and Dave Bailey all appeared at Brueton with Rachael Shelton taking fourth lady at Oakwell Hall. Dug and Alex Ladkin went the furthest afield, running at Clermont Waterfront in Orlando Florida.

Finally, at Conkers, where for many of the Badgers, it all began, in form Mark Repton ran a measured 19:47 ahead of the likes of Merv Jones, Leesa Dennis, Katrina Dawson and Alan Argyle. Kerry Clover was also getting some extra miles in ahead of her London marathon bid and the Reynolds family of Mark, Sarah and son Jack all successfully completed the 5K circuit too.