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Ryston Runners host Hancock Handicap



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One of the highlights of the Ryston Runners athletics calendar made a welcome return last Thursday when almost 50 club members took part in the Hancock Handicap.

This multi-terrain five-mile event on the roads and tracks around Downham and Wimbotsham, culminating in a fish and chip supper at the club’s base at the Downham Town Sports Federation

After the staggered start, to which handicaps had been applied according to form and potential of the mathematical machinations of Marlene Simmonds, the first back to the finish line was Justin Walker, who covered the course in 35.51.

Ryston Runners at the start of the Hancock 5. (49621381)
Ryston Runners at the start of the Hancock 5. (49621381)

The first woman home was Dawn Robinson, coming in just behind having spent 36.37 out on the course.

The first of the runners set off as Gill Hart leads Charlie Wilson. (49621476)
The first of the runners set off as Gill Hart leads Charlie Wilson. (49621476)

Two of the club’s more “vintage” runners were next home: Kevin Howlett and Pauline Sparrow.

Ben Keeley pips Matty Parker at the finish line. (49621368)
Ben Keeley pips Matty Parker at the finish line. (49621368)

The fastest time by a woman was 35.51 by Beth Shaw, who finished ninth, two places ahead of the fastest man, club chairman Rob Simmonds, one of only two who broke 30 minutes on the night, his 29.15 heading off the 29.54 run by Warren Armstrong.

Dawn Robinson. (49621370)
Dawn Robinson. (49621370)

The finishers’ list provided a great reflection of the club’s membership profile, many familiar names mixed with a healthy number of new ones: Owen Hopgood, John Hopgood, Tony Savage, Kirsty Butters, Shaun Hamer, Wendy Fisher, Matthew Thrower, Elaine Lumley, Chris Chapman, Michael Howlett, Nigel Kenny, Ben Keeley, Matty Parker, Pauline Drewery, Jason Hawes, Stephen Lee, Nic Bensley, Eamonn McCusker, Dan Pratt, Martin Ive, John Bowen, Callum Stanforth, Julie Barrow, Mark Fountain, Gill Hart, Will Honeybone, Ben Collison, Gavin Reynolds, Christopher Milnes, Linda Marshall, Andy Simmonds, Maureen Wolfe, Georgina Allen, Jamie Bransgrove, Charlie Wilson, Gareth Hunt.

Justin Walker. (49621372)
Justin Walker. (49621372)

It was indeed a perfect evening all round for exemplifying the strength and friendship of the club, with

many more members out on the course marshalling, more back at base organising the refreshments, and

the medals awarded at the end of the event being a combined effort of design by Nic Bensley and manufactured by Rob Simmonds.

Mark Fountain cools off after the race. (49621374)
Mark Fountain cools off after the race. (49621374)

To top it all off, Tim Smith was on hand, just like in “the old days” to make a fine photographic record of an excellent night’s sport and cameraderie.

One of the running groups set off on the Hancock 5. (49621376)
One of the running groups set off on the Hancock 5. (49621376)
Owen Hopgood, left, sprints to the finish line ahead of his dad John Hopgood. (49621379)
Owen Hopgood, left, sprints to the finish line ahead of his dad John Hopgood. (49621379)


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