For the first time in several years both Ryston Runners men’s and women’s teams made it through to the Eastern Veterans AC (EVAC) Track & Field League final at Bedford on Sunday.
Both teams had suffered a few drop-outs due to injury/illness, but came away with second place in the combined teams event, fourth in the women’s match and a fantastic silver medal apiece for the men’s team. All this was achieved in the absence of team manager, Helen Reed, and her husband, Jeff, who had competed in all the qualifying matches.
Multi-eventing performers in the M35, 50 and 60 categories respectively, Daniel Yellop, David Lane, and Paul Oakes scored 60 per cent of the men’s team points between them. Paul, a second-claim member, bettered all the club records in his age group in all his events; David achieved an 11-second PB in the 400m Hurdles, and Daniel set new club records across the board.
Matt Pyatt did likewise in the distance events, bettering his own best marks in the 1500m and 3000m. Also in the 3000m Pete Johnson reduced his club M60 record by a massive 38 seconds in 10:53.82.
Backed up by Paul Firmage, Peter Duhig, Christopher Milnes, Tony Savage, Mick Ennis, and Che Plant, the team headed for likely bronze medals, but a last minute surge of points in High Jump and Pole Vault meant they edged just ahead of Peterborough AC to claim silver.
The women’s team suffered an early match day disaster when Linda Marshall fell badly in her first event, a debut 400m hurdles, and was unable to take any further part.
Everyone quickly rallied to try to cover her events, which caused one neutral onlooker to comment on the team spirit. It was just a step too far to make the podium, but a top half finishing position was far better than expected.
West Norfolk Sportswoman of the Year, Gaye Clarke, almost completed a personal decathlon, scoring 30 per cent of the team points and starting to rewrite the club’s W55 records, having just changed age categories.
She established a league record for the 300m Hurdles as well as club records in the Long Jump, High Jump, Hammer and 200m. Jane Ashby improved her own W65 1500m record to 7:24.
Despite nursing an injury, Marlene Simmonds competed in four field events and a relay, while Sue Smith, Wendy Fisher, Mel Watts and Gill Hart covered three to five events apiece. Liz Blakie and Cath Duhig sewed up a one-two in the 2000m Walk, all contributing to a total score of 170, just 16 adrift of the medals.
There was excellent support from Laura Allen, Gareth Hunt, Pat Oakes, and Justin Kinsey as field officials.
Great North Run
Danny Rock, after finishing the Wissey Half Marathon with an injury, visited the site of his inaugural Half, finishing in a cautious 81:54, almost 10 minutes faster than this time last year and just inside the top 200.
Helen Melville, getting back into her running after giving birth, was pleased to complete the course in just under two hours, and got her photograph taken with Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe.
On Friday night six Ryston Runners took part in the City of Norwich AC Middle Distance Open at the University of East Anglia.
Kate Willis, in her second ever competitive 800m race, took three seconds of her previous effort and broke the Under 13 Girls club record. Her time of 2:28.9 minutes will mean that she finishes the season ranked in the top 50 in the UK for her age group.
Her sister Meg ran an equal personal best of 2:46.3. In the 800m Charlie Wakefield and Annie Rooks’s performances were close to their PBs after long busy summers of competitions.
Of the three senior men, Callum Stamforth finished second in the 3000m, running a new PB by over 15 seconds and just two shy of the club record. Adam Matthews ran a new PB over 5000m, 16.48 minutes, seeing him finish second. Gareth Hunt finished first in the 400m and ran a PB in the 3000m.
The Nelson Knee Knobbler 10K at Horsey on Sunday featured Richard Dickson, Mark Doughty, Juliette Meek and Julia Norman. Juliette, running with her dog in the Canni Cross event, won in 59 minutes, while Julia was second in 60:20, over the hard, sand dune course.