Bircher Common Handicap 06/09/22

Race Reports

Race Report By Mike Blenkinsop

The final race in the annual CARC handicap series always heralds the end of summer and is a reminder for me to dig out my big warm overcoat in preparation for the approaching chilly winter dogging season. Despite many club runners having raced in tough events over the weekend, there was another excellent turnout on Bircher Common. Under the watchful gaze of a friendly one-eyed black horse who, it was rumoured, was there in the role of national selector for the ministry of silly running styles – plenty of horseplay material for his wistful eye to consider. The temperature may have been more favourable for fast running than for the previous 2 races over this new course but the heavy rain shower just prior to the start of the run created slippery downhill sections demanding care and concentration. It was, therefore, both surprising and pleasing to witness so many PBs being set – 17 in total.

First across the finish line, by a huge margin, was Amy Purvin who would have recorded a much quicker time had she not stopped as she was in full flight down the final descent from Oaker Coppice. Amy’s hesitation was caused by disbelief that she was so far ahead and doubts arose in her head as to whether she had run the correct course. She had, of course, and was just running very well. Any thoughts of celebrating her victory in the style of Lioness Chloe Kelly by removing her top and swirling it around above her head were dismissed in her disorientation. Following Amy across the finish line was the grizzly mountain man Tim Jones. Fresh from the experience of a lifetime in conquering the demanding Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a run around Bircher Common must have felt like a gentle trek over the flat plains of north America as part of his levelling up agenda. Completing the top 3, and making her debut on the course, was the spirited Sue Purvin who continues to impress with her resolute running. The 2 biggest improvements were set by Sue Wood, who sliced an enormous 2 and a half minutes off her own age group course record, and Theresa Jones who, despite professing intense dislike for this new and scenic course, proved that there is running talent hiding within her. The Knighton posse of Eric Apperley, Gareth Leek and Mia Davies, who were the new course’s fastest runners, were all exhausted from recent punishing race schedules and were not on their top form so thoughts of harnessing them to the National Grid, in an attempt to avert the looming energy crisis, have been put on hold. The obligatory mention of the octogenerian Bryan Markham will praise the remarkable man for his continued athleticism. We must remember, though, that to quote from the film of his life ‘He is not the Messiah, he is a very naughty boy’.

The handicap series is also a collective competition with an annual trophy awarded to the runner whose total of finishing position points, from the best 5 positions from the 6 race series, is the lowest. This should usually be won by a runner who has improved with every race This was certainly the case this season with Alison Apperley being a worthy and popular winner. Finally bragging rights for her in the Apperley household. On the day that the country acquired a new female leader, the female contingent in Croft Ambrey was also ruling the roost.

So ends another successful annual CARC event, which has been in existence since 1989, and the series continues to attract healthy numbers and competition. A record 28 club runners competed in at least 5 of the races and an impressive 14 runners ran all 6. I applaud you all.

Finally, many thanks to everyone who has helped with the organisation of these runs. They would not be possible without your kind dedication and your assistance is highly appreciated. See you all for more handicap frolics next year.

Top 20 male and female times and records can be found on the results page of the website here

1Amy Purvin (SF)33.49PB 29s
2Tim Jones (MV55)29.51Debut
3Sue Purvin (VF60)35.49Debut
4Alison Apperley (FV 55)46.42PB 16s
5Theresa Jones (FV50)39.21PB 1.39
6Sue Wood (FV65)35.49PB 2.30
7Lee Monks (SM)28.14
8Nikki Ferguson (SF)36.34PB 1.11
9Roland Preece (MV55)29.29PB 1.10
10Oli Cameron-Swan (MV45)33.27
11Huw Williams (MV60)34.15PB 55s
MV60 Course Record
12Lee Mardell (SM)29.26PB 52s
13Sam Harper (FV45)32.50PB 4s
14Ian Price (MV70)30.31PB 44s
15Bryan Markham48.45
16Tom Davies (MV70)40.07PB 32s
17Liza Austin (FV55)31.44PB 23s
FV55 Course Record
18Clare Preece (FV50)37.36PB 20s
19Jo Marriott (FV50)30.50PB 13s
FV 50 Course Record
20Dan Brazier (SM)28.49PB 5s
21Andrew George (FV45)24.58PB 3s
MV45 Course Record
22Flora Gunner (FV55)33.02PB 2s
23Gary Gunner (MV75)32.58
24Howard Verran (MV45)31.06
25Nigel Taylor (MV55)25.19
26Steve Partridge (MV40)26.21
27Frank Luscott (MV65)42.53
28Kelly Bowen (FV35)30.17
29Bronwyn Preece (SF)33.19
30Eric Apperley (SM)22.26
31Jo Tilby (FV40)30.41
32Stuart Austin (MV55)29.00
33Mia Davies (SF)30.14
34Gareth Leek (SM)25.37
35Steph King (FV55)41.10
1Alison Apperley47
2Lee Monks70
3Clare Preece76
4Gareth Leek77
5Sam Harper81
6Huw Williams85
7Oli Cameron-Swan87
8Mia Davies89
9Flora Gunner90
10Neil Taylor91
11Eric Apperley93
12Roland Preece93
13Steve Partridge95
14Howard Verran95
15Steph King96
16Jo Tilby98
17Theresa Jones98
18Amy Purvin99
19Sue Wood99
20Lisa Gray101
21Nikki Ferguson104
22Gary Gunner104
23Bryan Markham110
24Tom Davies112
25Bronwyn Preece118
26Hayley Millichap129
27Gemma Davies 137
28Frank Luscott147

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