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Under-the-weather Royden retains 30k title

ATHLETE Barry Royden (Medway and Maidstone) continued his unbeaten run of success in the North Downs 30k as he headed a field of 350 into the Istead Rise Community Centre. Royden made a late decision to run as he was suffering from a heavy cold but he felt that the company of other athletes would be preferable to his usual solo training session.

Only Anthony Webb of Ashford AC could live with Royden until the closing stages when the winner broke away for a winning margin of 28 seconds. The fact that Royden was nearly two minutes slower than his victory last year was due to the very slippery conditions underfoot following 24 hours of almost continuous rainfall.

Webb, who is studying for a degree in sports science at Christchurch University College, was the only other finisher under two hours and a whopping five minutes clear of the rest.

Greg Stevens (Sevenoaks) capitalised on the confusion of Ray Pearce (Istead and Ifield) and Malcolm Packer (Louth AC) who stopped to check their bearings almost within sight of the finish.

Stevens entered the finishing field in fifth place but sprinted past his veteran prize rivals who had both lost momentum due to the incident which was later blamed on a length of course marking tape which had worked loose in the wind.

Pearce and Packer were still rewarded with their best position in the race ahead of another veteran, Kevin Williams who joined Webb and Paul Tee in the winning Ashford AC team.

Istead and Ifield Harriers were runners-up through the efforts of Pearce, Peter Gibson and Steve Cable. Paddock Wood AC looked likely team winners with James Batchelder and Steve Roberts in the top ten but their third man, Andy Fletcher, took a painful fall on a rocky descent and required St John Ambulance treatment on the course before struggling home in 34th position.

The women’s race was won with consummate ease by the tough Royal Navy verteran, Lindsay Gannon, who had no less than ten minutes in hand over Heather Fitzmaurice of Sevenoaks.

Janet Cobby (New Eltham) completed the podium as Annie Kane led Serpentine Running Club to the team spoils ahead of Thanet Road Runners.

Men: 1 Barry Royden (Medway & Maidstone AC) 1:58:41, 2 Anthony Webb (Ashford AC) 1:59:09, 3 Greg Stevens (Sevenoaks AC M40) 2:03:47, 4 Raymond Pearce (Istead & Ifield Harriers M40) 2:03:53, 5 Malcom Packer (Louth AC M40) 2:03:59, 6 Kevin Williams (Ashford AC M40) 2:04:24, 7 James Batchelder (Paddock Wood AC) 2:04:42, 8 Tony Cummings (Thurrock M40) 2:04:59, 9 Stephen Roberts (Paddock Wood AC) 2:05:40, 10 Brian Willis (Royston Runners M40) 2:05:59, 11 Michael Stacey (Maidstone Harriers M40) 2:06:57, 12 Daniel Wiseman (Thurrock) 2:07:01, 13 Walter Hill (Crawley M40) 2:07:08, 14 Patrick Butler (Ashford & District M40) 2:07:18, 15 Gary Sage (Ashford & District) 2:09:31, 16 Mark Ellison (Blackheath Harriers M40) 2:09:56, Peter Gibson (Istead & Ifield Harriers M40) 2:11:21, 18 Steve Adams (Dartford Road Runners) 2:11:24, 19 Stephen Cable (Istead & Ifield Harriers) 2:12:34, 20 David Thornby (Maidstone Harriers M50) 2:13:23.

Teams: 1: Ashford AC 30pts, 2: Istead & Ifield Harriers 40pts, 3: Paddock Wood AC 50pts, 4: Blackheath Harriers 65pts, 5: Maidstone Harriers 74pts, 6: Bishop Stortford RC 76pts, 7: Ashford & District 80pts, Dartford Road Runners 128pts.

Women: 1 Lindsay Gannon (RNAC W35) 2:16:53, 2 Heather Fitzmaurice (Sevenoaks AC), 3 Janet Cobby (New Eltham Joggers W35) 2:35:48, 4 Annie Kane (Serpentine Running Club) 2:40:11, 5 Carol Emery (Paddock Wood W35) 2:41:34, 6 Elizabeth Brown (East End Road Runners) 2:42:26, 7 Jane Frogley (Swanley & District AC W35) 2:43:09, 8 Lisa Campbell (New Eltham Joggers) 2:43:23, 9 Pam Woodward (Orpington Road Runners W55) 2:43:57, 10 Suzanne Fane (Serpentine Running Club) 2:44:43, 11 Kate Nankivell (Royston Runners W45) 2:47:57, 12 Louise Markwick (Gravesend Road Runners AC) 2:48:40, 13 Liz King (Ashford & District W35) 2:49:24, 14 Rosie Powell (Unattached) 2:53:49, 15 Carole Prance (East End Road Runners W35) 2:54:49, 16 Julie Stoppani (Maidstone Harriers W 35) 2:55:06, 17 Sarah Shewell (Sevenoaks AC W35) 2:56:17, 18 Libby Mitchell (Royston Runners W45) 2:58:04, 19 Elaine Smith (Serpentine Running Club) 2:58:35, 20 Pauline Hall (Thanet Road Runners AC W45) 3:00:47.

Teams: 1: Serpentine Running Club 31pts, 2: Thanet Road Runners AC 71pts.

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