Week Ending - 2020/03/08


Group C

Anne Devenney


Gemma Spencer


Badgers athletes continue to amaze with a host of outstanding performances both collectively and individually at a variety of venues last week. The 2020 LRRL league campaign saw the second race of eleven take place, this time the hellishly hilly Kibworth 6 miler. The men’s team continue to sweep aside all before them as they aim for a hat-trick of top flight titles and they seem certain to have extended their early lead at the top of Division One with as emphatic a team display as there has been in the club’s short history.

First back, in 34:59, was club record holder Ryan Bennett who would have won this race had he been able to match his performance from four years ago when he set that benchmark. That said, even a less than fully fit Bennett was still able to dig out a quality time to take 5th overall in the race. New boy Matt Scarsbrook has been a revelation in training and here he made his Badgers league debut in absolutely stunning style finishing right behind team-mate Bennett taking a tremendous 6th place in the sell-out field – he actually recorded a chip time of 34:58, a second quicker than his team mate due to starting a couple of rows back with Bennett secured the higher finish position in the race to line. None the less it was a quite remarkable start for the young man who has a very bright future. Fellow new recruit Dave Hill showed his Stilton 7 showing was no fluke as he backed up his top ten finish there by coming home in 35:22 (7th) as his blistering start to the season continues and Dave McGowan who made a big impression last season continued to build on his great start to 2020 with a rapid 35:21 in 8th place as his side packed four runners in the top eight consecutively.

Chris Horton went well in 14th spot in 36:08 becoming one of just three men in the entire race to achieve a Diamond county standard. Another new signing, the venerable Gordy Smith (36:37 – 19th) and fellow veteran Neil Russell (37:13 – 23rd) both flew round to score points for both seniors and vets team, an impressive achievement at this level of competition. Aaron Chetwynd returned after a lay off and posted a positive time of 38:16 with Sam Starkey showing real class to battle back to form in a quality 38:35. Sandwiched between the two was Mark Repton who clocked 38:27, a time made all the more impressive given it followed a 20 mile marathon training run 24 hours earlier! Nobody works harder behind the scenes than club stalwart Danny Warren (38:43) and he once more gave 100% as yet another Badger broached the top 50 in a field of over 500.

There was a double celebration as two of the club’s solid performers Glyn Broadhurst and Dave Jackson crossed the line hand in hand in 39:42, the former helping his good friend back towards full fitness after a devastating injury hit 2019. Graham Engley ran a speedy 41:59 and the improving Cameron Barnes helped himself to a PB of 42:13 before one-to-watch Matt Jackson (42:35) hared home. Seasoned campaigner Stefan Martin produced another strong run, the Nuneaton based veteran grabbing a course best 45:02 in the process with Ian Orton (46:24), skipper Simon Currier (47:45) and Wayne Repton (48:43 – PB) also doing great things.

Ashley Taylor continues to battle back from his broken neck and recorded a quality 50:06, the universally popular Svengali-figure building up the miles ahead of his April marathon challenge. Former Desford Strider John Shade rolled back the years with an object lesson in quality pacing as he grafted his way to a time of 51:17 eclipsing his own V70 club record for the second race in succession. Alan Argyle ran a sublime 52:45 and fellow vet Adam McElhone clocked a brave 54:12 before the Pope-esque Paul Restall ran a rapid 54:31. John Devenney produced a terrific run of 56:49 with Paul Cooper trumping his PB by some margin back in 64:42.

The ladies side were boosted by the return of Becky Harris who finished 5th in the league overall last season and once again she led the way emphatically in a breezy 43:58. This earned her 11th place overall in the race, a cracking effort from her as she found time from her busy marathon training schedule to race. Rachael Shelton continued her superb season with a pacy 47:43, impressing onlookers once again with her determination and speed. Sharon Jackson continues to go well and was the first veteran lady back and third female Badger overall on the day in a fine 49:23 and with Lil Souter weighing in with a solid time of 50:44, the ladies continued to thrive despite facing one of the most undulating courses on the local circuit. Former skipper Steph White ran a superb 50:54, the second fastest V50 time in club history and she was joined by fellow ex-captain Rachael Warren, there supporting with baby daughter Orlagh and current captain and expectant mum Sarah Jane Chetwynd.

The hardworking Jo Davies (53:47) once again score vital points for the not just the senior side but the vet ladies too as she improved on her time from 2019, a terrific effort. New signing Hannah Craig set a quality new personal best time of 56:16 with namesake Hannah Coogan sprinting home behind her in a nippy 56:25. The eminent professor of pace, Liz Peel is more used to covering distances some twenty miles longer than this so her effort of 56:54 probably came as something of a pleasant surprise compared to the suffering of the majority and was faster than her time in the same race the previous year. Thinking man’s crumpet Ann-Marie Currier, stuffed pockets and all came striding home powerfully in 62:21 and PB machine Lisa Barnes ran 65:19 – you guessed it another PB! Anne Devenney didn’t miss out either taking a huge slice of time of her old best in 68:02 and veteran Teresa Satchell 70:15 got the loudest cheer of all as the club stayed right to the end to enthusiastically support each and every runner.

At the Wrexham Freedom 10-mile race, Chris Baxter, who has re-joined the club as a second claim runner to maintain his ties to the club where he made his name, was in magnificent form en-route to the Edinburgh marathon in May. The Ashby based dad of one took first place overall in a massive new PB time of 55:48. At the Fradley 10K, ten Badgers tussled with the 980 other runners in the popular local event and it was the well liked Tim Gould who was first home for the club, making the top 100 too with his great time of 42:53. Bill Gutheridge (48:21), Neil Thorne (49:58) and Steve Perry (49:56) all broke 50 minutes while Mark and Sarah Reynolds reaped the rewards of their commitment to training with both grabbing well deserved PB’s of 51:38 and 55:39 respectively. The steady Serena Baker (53:39), kit hero to hundreds at the club and gag-master extraordinaire Dave Bailey ran 56:21 with Amanda Gould (61:21) and Vikki Smith (62:58) both going well too.

Justin Haywood was first in his age group and a superb 9th place overall in the Cannock 5 Mile Trail Run with a terrific performance (37:02) as he bounces back from his hernia operation. Andy Smith and Holly McClay were both in action at the Telford Athletics Track competing in the Groundhog Day half marathon which saw them complete 52 laps of the track.

Overseas, Adrian Payne and Colin Lees tackled the demanding TransGranCanaria marathon with Payne emerging 3rd Brit back in 4:50:39. Veteran Lees finished in 6:45:02 and was 17th Brit to finish while husband and wife duo Jimmy and Cheryl Dewis took on the half marathon distance in 3:51:52 and 3:56:07 apiece finishing 3rd male Brit and 2nd female Brit back in the popular international event.

Paul Grubb battled his way to a gruelling 5:42 in the epic 20-mile Devon based trail run The Grizzly which saw Matt Green and Charlotte Oliver also finish. Gail Gunn ran 20 miles too at the Draycote Water 20, her furthest distance to date and with her time of 4:07:30 enabled her to take the hitherto uncontested V60 club record – an unbelievable achievement for one of the club’s most popular characters. Newcomer Steph Attenborough ran a wonderful PB of 60:05 in the Chester 10K.

At parkrun there was a fair bit of action after a rain interrupted few weeks. At Kingsbury Water Park, Bill Gutheridge led the way in 21:44 with Lee Millership, Matt Green, Mike Wyant, Steve Perry, Mick Bailey, David Craig and Simon Currier all competing. Felicity Gray was 9th lady overall and she was joined by Peter Coogan, the indomitable Nicki Bowman, Rachael Shelton, the Steed of Speed Gavin Crockwell, Darryl Johnson, Sharon Jackson, Liz Peel and Lil Souter. Jill Miller, Matthew Jackson, Peter Black and Nicola Orton also starred.

Elsewhere, Paul Wallace ran 23:17 at Brueton Park while Pip Weston clocked a brisk 26:13 at Perry Hall. Ann-Marie Currier and Sue Thould were in action at Bedworth with Sam Starkey turning out at Chasewater. Holly McClay and Andy Smith both ran at Telford and finally Alan Argyle and brother Terry, Sarah Vine, Jason Husselbee-Orwin and Nicola Stanley all did the circuit at Conkers.