Last weekend saw a rich variety of available races for Badgers to indulge themselves in across a range of distances. Closest to home, the Tamworth 5 attracted a handful of Badgers with Danny Warren rediscovering some of his form of old with a hard-fought fifth place in 29:18. David Craig made the top 40 with a solid run of 37:18 while new boy Andy Altoft managed a creditable 40:40.
Further down the A5, the Nuneaton 10K drew up to 200 runners with seven Badgers mixed in amongst them. The first four home donning the black and white vest coincidentally became first-time fathers in recent times and the so-called “Dad Squad” all finished within a minute of one another. Chris Horton led the way in 16th place in 37:14 with the returning Neil Russell (17th) putting in a monumental effort in 37:21, a terrific run in his first race for over 18 months. Dave McGowan (19th) made a welcome return after a longer than anticipated illness absence and managed a respectable 37:39 and Neil Clemons rounded up the quartet with a stunning run of 38:07, a massive PB in 20th place overall. Clemons was scheduled to run the Lichfield 10K which was sadly cancelled late in the day but was no doubt thankful for ending up here as he gained a rich reward for his hard training work over the course of the last 12 months. Brother-in-law Jake Bradford was next back in a better than expected 48:40 and his wife Katy Clemons tackled her first race since becoming a mum in a superb 54:32, not a million miles away from her very best. Newcomer Rich Boyd rounded up the action with a typically gutsy 55:57.
While Badgers may have accounted for just 4% of the Nuneaton field, that proportion was far less at the Great North Run, the largest mass participation run in the world. Bill Gutheridge (1:44) was the fastest of the eight Badgers there with Rachael Shelton the fastest female in 1:55. Nick Miles clocked a respectable 2:06:40 and Katrina Dawson a PB time for the half marathon distance at 2:09:15. Hannah Coogan ran a great race to get home in 2:13:52 four minutes ahead of Averil Williams who watched with pride as her daughter Chelsea sped off into the distance. Terry Argyle found it all a bit of a drag but still got round while Paul Cooper also ditched his club vest and ran in his usual comfy weekend attire instead.
The Kenilworth half marathon saw Carl Savage run a top drawer PB of 93:31 with teammate David Grant less than five minutes behind in a strong field. Wayne Repton finished the Dorney Lake 20 as part of his London Marathon preparations in a time of 3:02:27 while veteran Paul Restall enjoyed a fine run in the Brighton 10K, getting round in one hour exactly.
Super fit Dave Hill took on the Nice Ironman in the south of France completing the event in a spectacular 12 hours 18 minutes and 53 seconds. After swimming for the best part of an hour and a half, he set off on a 100+ mile bike ride into the Alps and then capped it off with a sub four-hour marathon. Absolutely mental.
Last but not least, Bob Lovegrove ran the Limestone 50 (mile) race in the Peak District, finishing in a punishing 14:15:53, not bad for a man in his sixties!
There was the usual action at parkrun too with numerous Badgers taking advantage of the relaxed restrictions to run an early morning 5K on Saturday. At Walsall Arborectum, Glyn Broadhurst and Nicki Bowman were tearing it up, each finishing 5th overall in their respective gender categories. 45-year-old Broadhurst is the veteran of 162 parkruns which makes the fact that he achieved a personal best at the weekend all the more impressive, his time of 17:27 is up there with some of the all-time greats of Badger park runners such as the semi-legendary Dave Jackson who was also in attendance at Walsall on mascot duties. Bowman and Broadhurst are often dubbed the Posh and Becks of Badgers, sleek Bowman is posh and key man Broadhurst likes the odd bottle of Becks before a race.
Pip Weston ran well at Chasewater finishing 6th lady in a new V60 club record time of 26:16, a terrific marker for her as she continues to come back after injury. Babbs Mill saw three Badgers reaching the heights of the top 15 with Bill Gutheridge (8th) leading the way in 21:55 followed by club stalwarts Colin Lees and David Craig. Dug Ladkin ran a pacy 21:59 at Black Park while there was a whole host of Badgers at Kingsbury Water Park. Danny Warren was the quickest on the day, 3rd overall in 18:30 with Aaron Chetwynd slowly making his way back after knee trouble to record 5th place in 18:56. Mark Repton also made the top ten with Austen Puleston and Neil Thorne also going well.
Next week the club celebrate 10 years of existence before moving onto the final league race of the season the week after, where after an indifferent start, they have managed to qualify for the LRRL Grand Final at the Rotherby 8. Finishing second in their group with the lowest qualifying score of all, they only just squeezed in but with all prior results now unimportant, everything is all to play for and Badgers are on an upward curve. The men sit second overall with OWLS already champions and the ladies 12th overall. A number of athletes are placed in the top 10 individually, namely, Matt Scarsbrook 3rd Senior male, key men Chris Horton and Glyn Broadhurst 2nd and 3rd V45, Peter Mann 4th V60, Mick Bailey 2nd V65 and John Shade 1st V75. John cannot be caught in his category and would also likely win the V70 group so great is his scoring. He is too old to qualify however! For the ladies, Pip Weston is 3rd V60 with Fiona Reidy 10th V50, both excellent efforts.