28 Jun

Runners Master North Downs 30K

North Downs Run 30k

Tom Collins (Medway and Maidstone) and Amy Clements (Kent AC) were local winners of the North Downs Run 30K trail race through glorious Kent countryside from Cascades Leisure Centre, Gravesend on Sunday (25 June). The 34th running of this challenging, multi-terrain event attracted over 500 starters and the quality was boosted by the inclusion of the British Masters Trail Championships for the second successive year.

Tom Collins has been chasing this particular trophy for a few years and his previous best was third in 2015. This year his course knowledge and pace took him to victory in 1:57:54, with a cushion of 46 seconds. Peter Lighting (Kent AC, 1:58:40) was the only other athlete to breach two hours.
 
Former winner Julian Rendall (Tonbridge, 2:00:05) went agonisingly close to that threshold but was rewarded with the British Masters (BMAF) M35 title. The BMAF silver and bronze went to the next two finishers: Mark Wilkins (Medway and Maidstone, 2:00:29) and Chris Biddle (Dartford Harriers, 2:01:44). Higher age group BMAF champions included M50 Greg Spellman (Wellingborough, 2:19:07), M60 Walter Hill (Crawley, 2:34:08) and M70 Geoff Newton (Tadworth, 2:44:18).
 
The women's race was more clear cut as Amy Clements (2:14:24) successfully defended her trophy, eight minutes clear of Liz Weeks (Medway and Maidstone, 2:22:27). The BMAF gold went to third-placed Lucy Hodgson (W40 Newquay and Par, 2:23:32). W50 Tina Oldershaw (Paddock Wood, 2:25:09) and W40 Victoria Buck (Kent AC, 2:30:29) were the next two BMAF championships finishers.
 
The route of North Downs Run passes through some of the finest scenery in southern England as runners thread their way through the Cuxton Valley before the relentless climb of Holly Hill. Luddesdown Court, picturesque 'Cricket Pitch Hill', Jeskyns Nature Reserve, Ashenbank Wood and Shorne Wood Country Park are some of the landmarks before crossing fields to Cascades Leisure Centre for the finish. The race holds the coveted BARR Gold Grading for organisation and is promoted by Istead and Ifield Harriers.
 
Full details and results at runABC race listings.
 
Image courtesy Jodi Hanagan Photography