The Perivale 5 enjoyed a record entry of 400, and as we know, it sold out in advance for the first time in its 16 year history. Luckily, weather conditions were perfect, and many took the opportunity to improve their 5 mile times on this fast, flat course.
The first three men all set personal bests. 2012 winner Rob Thompson of Hillingdon AC knocked 40 seconds from his previous best, winning in a very impressive 25:29, the 6th quickest in the history of the race. Second-placed Jonny Laybourn of Highgate Harriers worked his way through the field to finish in 26:26, while Perivale 5 regular Matt Woodman of Staffordshire Harriers took third spot in 26:43. These were followed by a trio of ESM runners who landed the team prize: Jamie Taylor-Caldwell (26:52) managed to sprint away at the finish from Max Wells-Pestell (26:57), with Chris Hepworth just a few seconds adrift in 27:07. A further 21 men broke the 30 minute barrier.
As some will have noticed, there was a rogue Santa at the front of the men’s field, in the shape of Zac Randall. The idea was that anyone beating him would win a chocolate Santa. Clearly, however, Zac wanted the chocolate all to himself, as he got a little carried away and only let two men past. We may have to make him carry a sack of presents next year, to avoid chants of “Scrooge” from the ranks.
In the women’s race, Leigh James of London Heathside, winner for the last two years, took an early lead and maintained this until the start of the second lap. Fiona Kennedy then went past, opening enough of a gap to win in 30:37. This is a British age best for a woman of 55+. Leigh followed 17 seconds later, shaving two seconds from her PB. Third-placed Cathy Jeremiah of London Heathside also achieved a PB in 31:46. London Heathside have supported the race for many years and it is always good to see them take some of the prizes.
Ealing Eagles were there en masse, and they didn’t go home empty-handed either. Their women won the team prize, courtesy of Amy Cope-Balchin in 4th (32:12), Jennifer Laughton in 6th (33:50) and Jennifer Watt in 9th (34:22). We initially thought the ESM team had won, but it emerged later that Jennifer Laughton had mistakenly been registered online as a man. She’s definitely not – there are photos to prove it. Not surprisingly, once this was rectified, the scores changed a little!
Seven women got past the female Santa. Perhaps they had better odds than the men, as Grazina had competed in a 20k race walk championship the previous day – more on that below. Or perhaps there is just something about women and chocolate
Diversions aside, there were some notable performances in the veteran ranks. Margaret Moody of Vets AC ran 36:12 to place her 7th in the British W60 rankings for 2013, while W70 Angela Duncan of Hillingdon AC ran 43:22 to rank 2nd in her age group for the year. John Butcher of Ware Joggers ran a season’s best 48:21, which is remarkable for an M80, and ranks him 4th in the country in 2013. Christine Meek sliced half a minute from her PB to finish in 34:16, which also won her the W45-54 prize.
The two youngest runners were just 15 years old. Stephen Burgess from Tring AC ran a very impressive 30:19, while Ealing resident Harry Morris ran a creditable 33:34.
The race always attracts a wide range of runners: one in three were Ealing residents, but many others had travelled from across London and the Home Counties to take part. There was good support from the local running scene: 56 Ealing Eagles, 21 from ESM and 18 from our friends at D3 Triathlon. The mix of club vests always makes for a colourful sight. However, more than one in three were casual runners. The fastest male in the Borough unattached to a club was Gunnersbury parkrun regular Santosh Rai from Northolt in 32:03, and the fastest female was Malgorzata Kucharska of Ealing in 38:51. Part of their prize is free ESM membership till the end of August 2014, so let’s hope we can entice them along.
While the other ESM runners went home without prizes, many had the consolation of personal best times. Mark Delahunty, James Steel and Tom Yates all ducked under 30 minutes. It was Mark followed by Tom followed by James for most of the race, though James pulled away from Tom towards the end to gain a 3 second advantage.
Luis Monteiro made a rare appearance at Perivale track. He finished in a very respectable 31:56, but it was twenty seconds slower than last year. (There may be a connection between those two sentences). But I digress: Pete Drew was there too, and there are rumours that his 31:57 was a PB by half a minute. Better watch your back though, Pete: new member Raj Kumar completed the race in 32:23, so he’ll have you in his sights next time. We also need to sign up Dilip Bansal, who’s been training with us a while now, and produced a fine run to finish in 33:43.
Jane Ruhland seems to get faster every time she pulls her trainers on, and Sunday was no exception, as her time of 35:16 demolished her PB by a minute and a half. Andy Leung was another to demonstrate how far he’s come over the past year, shedding a minute to bring his PB down to 35:53. Gabby Corry didn’t quite manage a PB but she got close with 38:22 – our dedicated ultra-runner would probably have run it even quicker if she’d been allowed to go round again. Julia Gristwood was also denied a PB, but was probably satisfied to clock her fastest in five years (39:16). We have to thank Julia for suggesting our race to her local club Ware Joggers; it was great to welcome 35 of them to Perivale, and perhaps we can reciprocate with a club trip to the Ware 10 next October.
Janice Newman was another one with wings on her shoes, her 45:37 being well over a half a minute quicker than last year. Fellow W65 and training partner Dorothy Johnstone followed six minutes later, and is perhaps wondering if the prospect of joining the W70 ranks next year has given Janice extra motivation. It was good also to see Liam Greene and Dave Wiseman take part, despite both having other demands on their time these days.
Pat and Bev would probably rather consign their race times to history. However, after a heavy cold, Bev was pleased just to line up and take part. A pity there were no medals for the bake-off. Bev’s honey cake was sublime, and Ian was heard enthusing loudly about Pat’s “boozy” Christmas roulade.
The 2km Fun Run which followed the 5-mile race attracted participants from 8 to 14 years of age. There was a fierce battle to the line between winner 10 year old Matteo Lamagna, who was timed at 8:13, and James Steel’s nine year old son Maxi, only a second later. 12 year old Sarah Freegard, (Christine Meek’s daughter), has been representing ESM in the cross country fixtures, and was the first girl in 9:35. Eight year old Sean Kerr was the youngest in the field, and did well to finish in 9:11.
The final word must go to our race-walking specialist Grazina Narviliene who won a clutch of medals at a three-in-one event at Minet Park in Hayes on Saturday. She started with an open 10k walk which she won in 55:43. She then completed another 10k on the undulating circuit to take two championship gold medals: one for the British Masters Athletics Federation 20k walk and one for the Middlesex County 20k walk. Her time for the full 20k was 1:53:42.