Will Cockerell reports:- This was a remarkable squad that the Belles offered up here. It may not have seen too much of AFD’s record-breakers, but in many ways it was just an admirable outfit. We gave away a cool 84 years to the AFD pups, we were all mums, 11 kiddies (thus far), all marathoners, and were just 28 seconds off being the second finest road running club in the South of England – instead 4th.
It’s not that the TM has anything against runners in the their 20s – we have six or seven fine 20-somethings who might have forced their way into the team, but all wrote to express injury regrets. Say what you like about the marathon, it makes ’em strong.
We kicked off with the Smurph who was a mere 20 seconds slower than pre-Arthur of 2010. An excellent start then and we were up and away. MGS had starting trouble as she never received the tap on the shoulder from the official who failed to spot her tiny frame. She went anyway, but lost a coupla’ ticks and started out confused and frustrated. It’s also peak allergy season, and she has a few, but all this meant a return of +2.
Birhan has come on 30+ secs since MK and was our second highest climber here; perhaps next season she can progress another gear or two. Right, time to ‘hit ’em between the eyes’. Sam had an absolute stormer to be just 30 seconds or so behind really top runners like Wicks and McAlister. Great going and although the gaps were large, no fewer than six bottoms were spanked.
Fee was bang on the money too, for yet another tangy advance, and we were just outside the top dozen. Time to release the gazelle. In the form of her life, some 20 years into her career, Lou had a brutal duel with Serpies’ Sandra Wilson. We’d loved to have nicked ’em, but Wilson’s stride was clean as a whistle and she even managed to stretch the gap despite Lou’s exceptional 17:35 – to be a massive 80 seconds up on last year.
So… the dream was top 8 and we only missed it by 31 seconds. The hunger is there to kick on from here, and if some of our fragile youngsters can get over their injuries, we’ll be all set. All eyes on the marathon now, where Sam, Lou, MG and Fee will take some beating.
Finally, a word for the baby B’s. Was it a bird, was it a plane, no, it was super-Maz, out of the reckoning for nine seasons, and part of the splendid squad of 10 years ago that placed 5th. Wonderful to see her back on the streets and she won a violent face-off with her side-kick Vicki by 3 seconds.
1 Aldershot Farnham and District 1:36:30 (course record); 2 Swansea H 1:41:27; 3 Leeds City 1:42:42; … 11 Belgrave H 1:49:25; … 51 teams started, 37 finished.
A Team: S Murphy (26) 18:04; MG Spalton (24) 18:44; B Dagne (21) 19:15; S Amend (15) 17:18; F Maycock (13) 18:29; L Blizzard (11) 17:35.
B Team: V Goodwin 20:25 (42); M Sharp 20:22 (38).
Fastest: C Purdue (AFD) 15:29; 2 S Twell (AFD) 15:35; 3 C Jones (Swansea) 15:44… 32 S Amend 17:18.