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Downham Market Ryston women push closer to Eastern showdown slot


Ryston Runners AC women’s team was in outstanding form at Corby last Wednesday as 18 members tackled the third EMAC Track & Field League fixture.

They picked up more than 60 per cent of the available points and are pretty much guaranteed a place in September’s final even if they miss the final match of the qualifying series.


Led by manager Helen Reed, who counted down an age group to cover the W35 Hammer as well as run a relay leg, Jan Manning, Liz Blakie, Jane Ashby, Gill Hart, Linda Marshall, Sue Smith, Gaye Clarke, and Marlene Simmonds covered every event except the Pole Vault to finish with 132 match points, bringing their season’s total to 410, with their nearest rivals on 168.

The magnificent men’s team finished third in their match, with still an outside chance of a final place in the final qualifying match at Peterborough at the end of the month. Carl Manning and David Lane both competed out of their age group, against athletes 15 years their junior in the M35 age group, whose ranks were swelled by the presence of Adam Howard, throwing for points while his running is restricted by injury.

Paul Harrison picked up his usual useful tally of points in the sprints and Long Jump, while Keith Morris’s persistence in the walks was repaid by a second place in the B string. Tony Savage, Paul Firmage and Lane made their usual consistent contribution, while Chris Chapman and Martin Simmonds in the M60 category joined the ever dogged Jeff Reed to amass the points. Being one of only three teams able to field a team in the 4 x 400m relay at the end of the match was a bonus.

At this match Gaye Clarke was presented with the “Athlete in Mind” award for achieving the highest age grading by any woman in a field event at the previous match at Lynnsport in June.

l In the third race in the Wroxham 5K Series, which included the Norfolk County Championships, in the latter Matt Pyatt took exactly 16 minutes to claim the County M40 title, finishing sixth overall out of 625.

Club coach Becks Tuff was 356th in 23:49, Martin Blackburn 363rd in 23:57, and Katie Moyle placed 502nd in 27:40.

l On Saturday the Southern Athletics team travelled to Croydon. In a tough match, with the other teams (Croydon, Tonbridge and Norwich) pushing for promotion, Ryston brilliantly finished third and boosted their prospects for staying in Division 2E.

Tom Barnes-Hooker set four new PBs: 56.2 in the 400m (third A-String), 62.1 in the 400 Hurdles (3rd A-String), 12:22.7 in the 3000m Steeplechase (2nd B-String), and 19.0 for second in the A-String 110 Hurdles. Joining him in the Sprint Hurdles was Gareth Hunt who won the B String. Gareth also won the Triple Jump (12.16m) and took second in the Long Jump (5.98m).

The Simmonds brothers picked up plenty of team points. Andrew won the Hammer (37.58m SB) as well as winning the B String 400 Hurdles in 64.9secs. Robert won both the B String Triple Jump (11.38m) and Hammer (32.24m) and was second in the Pole Vault (3.15m). In the latter Ian Hogarth took second in the B String with 2.35m.

James O’Neil took a trio of thirds in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m. Callum Stanforth was second in the B-String 800m and 1500m. Si Carty set a new 100m PB of 12.1, while Anwar Bouilouta equalled his with 12.4.

Lydia Growns was brilliant in the distance events, winning the 5000m with a PB of 20:41 and equalling her 800m PB of 2:24.8 to finished second. Annie Rooks was second in the Steeplechase.

Rebecca Tuff performed well, with highlights being second in Discus (20.09m) and winning the B String Pole Vault. Naomi Darkins won the Pole Vault (1.95m) as well as setting a new PB in the 100 Hurdles of 19.6. Gabby Clare won both B String 100 and 400m Hurdles.

Jessica Boxall did brilliantly in her first Ryston outing, running 29.3 for 200m, 65.2 for 400m and a 2:39.9 800m. Eleanor Hilton set two new personal bests: 100m 14.5 and 200m 30.6. Holly Chen set a new Shot PB (7.24m) as well as taking a big chunk off her season’s best in the 100m clocking 13.8. Gaye Clarke placed second in the A-String High Jump (1.28m) and was third in the Hammer (24.28m). Lindsey Clare set a new PB in Hammer, throwing over 16m, and Marlene Simmonds won the B-String Discus with 16.44m.

l Penny Seeger and Tony Savage ran the Virgin British 10k through central London on Sunday, a hot day but with lots of support and a flat, fast course. Penny, raising funds for the mental health charity SANE, finished in 46.54 for 473rd place overall while 43.06 saw Tony home in 226th.

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