Weekend Report - 8th/9th April 2017

Tonbridge Continue to Challenge UK’s Best

The Club had men’s and women’s teams in the final major championship of the Winter season, on Saturday. They travelled to Sutton Park, near Birmingham, for the National Road Relay Championships, where the men’s teams compete over twelve stages and the women over six.

The men’s race totals more than fifty miles, lasting over four hours and is considered the biggest test of a club’s depth of distance runners. Unfortunately, Tonbridge were unable to put in a strong challenge for the title and were missing a number of their first choice runners. However, they finished sixth of the sixty-seven teams that had qualified and started the race.

Swansea dominated upfront and won the title from Bristol and Liverpool, whilst Sean Molloy, on the anchor leg for Tonbridge, sprinted hard up the final hill to grab sixth spot, just ahead of Kent AC.

Sean Molloy brings the Tonbridge Mens team home in sixth

The race alternated long and short legs of 5.38 and 3.16 miles, respectively and the Tonbridge team comprised –
Max Nicholls (27.22), Dominic Brown (15.34), Charlie Joslin-Allen (27.08), Jamie Goodge (16.15), George Duggan (27.50), Jamie Bryant (16.28), Nathan Marsh (27.41), Michael Ellis (16.47), Julian Rendall (28.53), Donald Carter (16.17), Ben Cole (27.08) and Sean Molloy (16.00).

The women’s team improved on their previous best placing, at the championship, by finishing 20th overall, as Leeds took the win. Nicole Taylor opened up with a 31.30 split on the long course, handing over to Megan Brickell (19.13), who is showing her best form for a few years. Polly Pitcairn-Knowles (21.24) went on leg three and Chloe Bird (33.48) was on the long fourth stage. Lucy Thompson (22.16) and Lucy Pitcairn-Knowles (21.58) completed the team.

The Tonbridge Women’s Team

On Sunday, the Tonbridge AC veterans squad had a successful day at the British Masters Athletic Federation 10 kilometre road championships, at Gravesend. Both the over 35 women and over 45 men won their team competitions, whilst Lucy Pitcairn-Knowles won the over 50 women’s age group, individual title.

Also on Sunday Jack Keywood was 6th in the Norwich half marathon in 77.45.

Track Season Hots Up

Three Tonbridge athletes competed in an early season outdoor track meeting at Lee Valley on Saturday. Joe Fuggle started his year with a win in the 400m hurdles, in a time of 54.03 in a close fought race, where the first two were given the same time.

Richard Christian competed in the veteran age 50, 400 hurdles and improved his personal best time by two seconds, in 70.42s

Joe Fuggle and Zak Skinner

Zak Skinner a visually impaired T13 category athlete built on a good indoor season and ran the 100 metres in 11.68, into a strong headwind and followed this with a personal best of 23.25 in the 200 metres. Skinners main goal for the season is to qualify for the World Paralympic Championships in July, in London.

In the USA, Robbie Farnham-Rose produced an impressive last lap in 55 seconds to win the 1500 metres, at Alabama in 3.45.25. His Tonbridge team-mate, Luca Russo, was in the same race and finished 3rd in 3.48.38.

This coming weekend Tonbridge have their first team fixture of the season, when they travel to Stevenage on Saturday 15th April, for the Southern Athletics League fixture. Then on Easter Monday the club hosts the traditional Norman Fowler Memorial Meeting. This is an open meeting for athletes from all clubs and schools. Full details and online entry can be found at www.tonbridgeac.co.uk