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Ryston Runners members participate ib virtual Hancock Handicap

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The focus of athletics activity among members of Ryston Runners AC over the last week was the Virtual Hancock Handicap.

Almost 80 took part, comprising 52 who submitted times for the five-mile event, and another 17 younger runners who tackled the 2k challenge.

This event is always popular on the club calendar, as it is open to anyone and everyone to challenge themselves to run their best, and it was very well received when the club proposed running it as a virtual event this year.

Hanock competitors (38519659)
Hanock competitors (38519659)

Coming out on top after a week in which participants completed the race distance and submitted times achieved to be set against a pre-determined handicap, was Wendy Farquhar, whose 51.17 was four minutes and 43 seconds faster than predicted by the handicapper.

It was set over the course of the actual Hancock event, which is a tough one to tackle as it features two tricky off road sections, one up a long drawn out climb from Wimbotsham village up to the main Lynn Road.

Additionally, she defied the handicapper who had taken two minutes off her own predicted time, making this an even more extraordinary achievement on her part.

Jessica Brackenbury was second, outpacing her handicap by 3.33 to clock 34.27 for her five miles.

Lindsey Clare, 2.10 to the good with a run of 4.50 made it a clean sweep for the women, who dominated the top three spots.

Brackenbury was joined by Wendy Fisher (31st overall with 42.50) to claim the honours in the Age Graded Team Pairs part of the competition.

Age grading played a significant part in the week’s event, with the junior competition being decided by applying it as well as there being an age graded element to the senior event.

The winner in that was Jon Ashford, who ran 29.08 in 33rd place to achieve 83.44 per cent.

Malcolm Tuff claimed 2nd place with 82.20 per cent (seventh, 30.31), while Emma Wood, fastest female runner overall, took third, her 32.12 representing a 75.47 AG and seeing her in 10th place overall.

Spare a thought here, though, for racewalker Cath Duhig who, rightly graded as a runner in this competition, achieved 64.83 per cent and was placed 17th with a time of 50.51, actually rated 84.23 per cent if using the AG tables for her discipline.

Fastest actual running time submitted over the week was Robert Simmonds’ 29.01, which saw him placed 21st, just one second adrift of his initial handicap target.

This was the same as that achieved by Sarah Fisher, who was given 20th place and the title of “Handicapper’s Pet” after clocking 53.01 for her run.

The under-20 elements of the competition were won by Daniel Harrison, 27th with 29.30, and Rosie Booth, 18th, with 35.58.

The junior 2k title went to Lola Kidman (8.09), with Rory Wood second with 8.15 and Evie Clayton third with 8.34.

Brave Leah Beagles took part in the junior event with a cast on her leg as, according to her mum, “She didn’t want to miss out”.

As well as thanking the organisers for putting on this event, which provided some very welcome focus in the desert of non-competition that 2020 has turned out to be, all participants were grateful for the speed that the results and statistics were produced.

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