Depleted Ryston Runners face tough competition in Stevenage

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The first fixture of the Southern Athletics League season saw a depleted, but no less spirited, Ryston Runners AC team travel to Stevenage to face some tough competition from much bigger clubs.Typifying the commitment of the team’s spirit, Lana Hayes had travelled from Portsmouth and Molly Sands from Sheffield to take part. Hayes took on the 200m, 400m, 800m and 2,000m steeplechase, and gave long jump a go competitively for the first time, achieving 3.42m, while Sands filled in on two of the distance events (800m and 1,500m), as well as trying the 200m, running a very impressive 31.6sec in her trainers.Newcomer to the team, Wiktoria Marcinek, grasped the opportunity to compete in three different events, 1,500m (6.11.3), 400m (78.5) and shot put (4.52), a great effort by the youngest team member on the day at just 15.Amanda Hovell competed in all four throwing events, trying hammer for the first time and closing in on her personal bests in shot (1cm short), javelin and discus.Gaye Clarke, Lindsey Clare and Rebecca Tuff were the other female team members competing on the day, while also officiating the field events and timekeeping.The men’s team saw Liam Dawson make his first Southern Athletics League outing, competing in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m. Nigel Kenny covered the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1,500m.Miles Hovell secured a personal best in throwing the senior men’s weight of 7.26kg in shot, achieving 9.58. He also competed in the javelin (37.16) and long jump.Robert Simmonds, Gareth Hunt and Liam Clare typically competed across a range of events during the day, aiming to cover as many as possible to secure points. Thanks go to Martin and Marlene Simmonds, Paul Firmage and Rod Wood for completing the officiating team on the day.Earlier in the week, on the Sportspark track in Norwich, Charlie Wakefield confirmed his current form by recording a six-second personal best of 4.16 to finish second in the Sportlink Knockout Mile. Competitively on the road, four Ryston Runners took part in the second Thetford AC Anniversary Breckland 10k at Croxton.Ruth and Chris Chadwick finished within a couple of seconds of each other, Ruth placing 104th and second F55 with 48.26, and Chris taking 105th and 13th M50 with 48.28. Gina Hurrell was third F60 in 126th place overall with 50.17, and Molly Hopgood was 245th of the 300 finishers and 22nd SF with 62.49.A non-competitive challenge was completed by half a dozen Ryston members plus friends who took in the Yorkshire Three Peaks, which has been a popular event for the club over the year. Rob Skillings and Dawn Robinson were the first back to base, with Sarah Taylor, Simon Levy, Lesley Robins, Stewart Robins, Debs Widing and Andy Smith also taking part.The Sunny Hunny Tri attracted several club members, many of whom appeared in the colours of K Tri Club, but a few still flew the Ryston flag. Lucy McDowie, fresh from a bit of cycling training in Mallorca, was second F40, fifth woman and 22nd overall by completing the course in 60.16.Fifth in the same age group was Irina Marcinek, 39th overall in 64.11. Cat FoleyWray was 79th and fourth F35 in 70.56, and Jacqui Scott, who finished 118th overall in 83.42, was 13th F50.

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