The Rotary Club of Caterham must have mobilised most of its 53 members to prepare and deliver the annual Caterham Rotary Half Marathon and 10K from Redhill Aerodrome yesterday (Sunday 22 July). With efficient race management by Sussex-based Nice Work and lead sponsorship from local independent North Downs Hospital it was a record breaking morning in the Surrey countryside.
The inclusion of the British Masters Championships swelled the half marathon field to 275 (there were 201 finishers last year) and quality athletes who were competing for national age-group titles filled the top 10 places.
The leading men were new M35 Karl Welborn (Tipton Harriers, 1:13:13), M45 Paul Cheetham (Thames Hare & Hounds, 1:17:24) and M50 Spencer Goodall (City of Norwich, 1:18:28) as all three claimed gold medals in their individual categories.
Andrew Aitken (M40 Striders of Croydon, 1:20:32) – son of the eminent athletics journalist Alastair Aitken, who was present to support his offspring – was another BMAF champion, along with Paul Mingay (M60 Tiptree Road Runners, 1:23:11) and David Winch (M70 Thanet RR, 1:34:55) among the higher age group winners.
Elspeth Turner (W50 Horsham Blue Star, 1:21:34) was an impressive women's champion from Andrea Banks (W45 Jersey Spartan, 1:27:42) and Juliet Braithwaite (Fulham RC, 1:29:26) – the only non-master to achieve podium status. W60 Lynda Hembury (Tring RC, 1:38:38) was the outstanding older age group winner in the leading dozen women.
The airfield race HQ does promise a flat course but this is far from the truth. The undulations on two laps that cross the M23 motorway twice on each circuit, together with the oppressively humid conditions, resulted in few personal bests but there was a course record in the accompanying 10K race.
Andrew Inglis (M40 Cambridge Harriers, 34:59) set the new mark as 151 finished in 1:28:44 – a time that more than 30 runners beat in the simultaneously held half marathon! To maintain the pattern, the women's winner was another master athlete – W35 Nicola Archer (41:05), finishing 8th overall.
The event medal is based on the locally designed Caterham sports car – another lightweight, classic sports model born more than 40 years ago and still running well!
Image by kind permission of Caterham Photography