A Tale Of Two Tens
The Easter weekend started with the predicted gloomy weather but well attended traditional 10 mile races at Maidenhead and Folkestone on Good Friday (30 March) raised the spirits.
Maidenhead is the big daddy of 10 milers in Britain, with a 65 race history to acclaim. This is no crotchety pensioner of a race, though, as the organisers from Maidenhead Athletic Club (founded in 1884) have moved with the times and provided a flat, fast course on quiet lanes, footpaths and the Knowl Hill Bridleway circuit.
This year's statistics show 1,239 finishers in 2:37:21. More than 250 runners averaged better than 7:00 per mile pace and the individual winners were New Zealander Daniel Wallis (Belgrave Harriers, 50:37) and debut ten miler, Mel Wilkins (Winchester & District, 57:52).
The runner-up prizes went to Kent AC athletes Chris Greenwood (M40, 52:39) and Amy Clements (W35, 58:21) who were also the first master category winners. The Maidenhead race incorporated race two in the Berkshire road race championship series.
Down on the Kent coast there was a flat and fast course for the 671 competitors in the 35th Folkestone 10. This course is almost entirely on the impressive Folkestone promenade between Hythe Green and The Leas, with views across the English Channel to France.
First to return to Hythe was 18-year-old Billy Hobbs (Tunbridge Wells Harriers, 54:23 PB) from M45 master Lee McMeekin (Medway & Maidstone, 55:07 PB) and host club member Lloyd Worsley (Folkestone RC, 55:08).
The all masters women's podium placers were W50 Maria Heslop (Tonbridge, 60:22), W35 Liz Weeks (Sittingbourne Striders, 63:12) and W50 Tina Oldershaw (Tonbridge, 64:15). Heslop now tops the UK W50 rankings for this distance, with Tonbridge team mate Oldershaw second.
Wet and windy conditions did not help with pace at Folkestone as 113 runners managed 7:00 minute miles. The mid-point runner recorded 1:26:02 and the joint final finishers stopped the clock at 2:23:56. Folkestone 10 was the fourth race in the Kent Road Race Grand Prix.
As always the full results are available via runABC South race listings
Images courtesy Maidenhead 10 and Folkestone 10