Helen Gaunt (centre) wins Valentine's 10K

Runners just love the Valentine's 10K

26.2 Road Runners Club event is an England Masters qualifier

There was a strong entry in Sunday's (13 February) Valentine's 10K organised by the 26.2 Road Runners Club. The field was bolstered by the status of this race as an England Masters qualifying event although no course record bonuses were claimed this year. 

This was the best turnout for years and was well ahead of the 415 who battled Storm Dennis when the race was last held in 2020. The course records of 30:17 by Ed Prickett (Nottingham University, 2003) and 35:08 by Vicky Gill (Aldershot, 2009) rolled over, although both were put under some pressure by the 2022 Chessington champions. 

The race starts in Barwell Business Park, just across the road from the Race HQ at Chessington School, where sponsors Surbiton Up & Running were on hand with a range of running clothing for sale.

Tom Austin (Poole AC, 30:53 PB) was the only male to complete the single lap course beside Chessington World of Adventures and around Horton Country Park, passing Epsom Common, Hobbledown Adventure Farm, and Jungle Island Adventure Golf in less than 31 minutes.

James Denne (Gloucester AC, 31:18) and Ben Kruze (Stratford, 31:25) were the runners-up and leading age-group qualifiers as M35 masters. The top three finishers in each age category earn the chance to represent the England Athletics Masters team in an international challenge against a Celtic team at the Great Bristol 10K on 22 September. 

The women's race was dominated by master athletes and was won by W40 Helen Gaunt (Tonbridge AC, 35:32 PB) – seen approaching the finish above – from W45 Kate Rennie (Dacorum & Tring AC, 36:18 PB) and W40 Alexa King (Hart RR, 37:02). 

Overall 140 athletes beat 40 minutes; 342 went under 50 minutes and 482 ducked under the hour on this fast, slightly undulating course. There were 572 finishers in 1:22:06 and full results and our 2020 race report can be found at runABC South's comprehensive race listing here

Race photos can be viewed at the Valentine's 10K website here

Image courtesy Richard Kirk/26.2 Marathon Club

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