Tonbridge AC W35 BMAF 10K team

Ben cruises to British Masters 10K title

Kent teams dominate national age-group championships – in Kent!

runABC South's roving reporter Alan Newman was in action alongside 172 other mature athletes in the British Masters 10K Championships at Cyclopark, Gravesend on Sunday (21 November) and brings us his review...

Covid restrictions have resulted in wholesale cancellations and postponements of events and this was never more apparent than in the age-group championships promoted by the British Masters Athletics Federation, due to the need to keep the most vulnerable safe. After all, some officials are older than the oldest competitors and we treasure them and value their commitment to the sport.

Cyclopark, Gravesend offers a perfectly safe, traffic-free course on a cycle racing circuit that conveniently measures 2.5K per lap, so four laps for the 10K distance. The venue is actually quite exciting to run as the raised deck in front of the cafe acts as a natural grandstand for spectator viewing and the sweeping route feels fast, even if the frequent hills say otherwise!

The morning sunshine soon gave way to dull, overcast conditions and a chilly breeze as the klaxon sounded for the 11:00am start. The top three men all won their respective five-year age categories: M35 Ben Kruze (Stratford, 31:57), M45 Anthony Webb (Medway & Maidstone, 32:27 PB), and M40 Richard Price (Reading, 32:34).

The women's race was close, with 12 seconds covering the leading trio: W40 Nicola Lilley (Medway Tri, 38:26), W35 Nichola Evans (Tonbridge, 38:30 PB), and W40 Maggie Skinner (Peterborough, 38:38).

W60 Monica Williamson (Leamington, 39:36) came nearest to perfection on age-grading with a score of 99.54% and the leading men's performance was 97.57% by 64-year-old Paul Mingay (Colchester, 34:54) who finished a stride ahead of Ifan Lloyd (Swansea, 34:56) to claim M60 gold.

Both of these outstanding sexagenarians lapped your correspondent, who wore bib #128 and coincidentally finished neatly in that position in 47:08!

Unsurprisingly, local teams dominated the team awards and Tonbridge AC took gold at W35 and W45 levels. Medway & Maidstone enjoyed a clean sweep of the men's M35, M45, and M55 teams to leave Ipswich Jaffa to collect the M65 gold medals.

Full results are available via runABC South race listing here

Image of Tonbridge AC W35 gold medal team by Mark Pitcairn-Knowles

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