The first weekend of January is when many club athletes compete in their county cross country championships and vie for coveted places in the National Inter-Counties Championships. However, there are still plenty of events to keep the rest of us on our toes this weekend, as a glance at runABC South race listings will confirm.
County vests are awarded to the top club runners for the annual counties showdown that will be held at Loughborough on 10 March. Huge numbers are expected to compete on the mud this weekend and this will have an effect on entries for some of the traditional races that tempt us to get active early in the year.
One favourite that is always oversubscribed is the Tadworth 10, organised by Tadworth AC, starting from Epsom Downs racecourse on Sunday (7 January) and held every year since the inaugural event on 1 January 1983. As the race grew in popularity both the course and Race HQ have changed several times.
For many years the race was based at Tadworth Court Children’s Hospital and the traditional date for the race on the first Sunday in January was established. In 1995 the event moved to Epsom Downs and Tadworth 10 is now the only official race to be allowed over the Downs itself. The course is approximately 50/50 on roads and tracks.
The race has only ever had to be postponed once due to poor weather (freezing rain in 1997) when it was run on the following Sunday with a reduced field. Since the run was established at Tadworth Court the race has always donated a significant proportion of its profits to charity. The 2016 Tadworth 10 raised £2,500 shared between the Woodland Trust, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation and British Heart Foundation.
Last year's Tadworth winners were Ollie Garrod (Epsom & Ewell Harriers, 58:23) and Lucie Custance (Clapham Chasers, 63:56) and there were 596 finishers in 2:15:42.
Look out for our race report from Tadworth next week.
Image courtesy Tadworth AC