HW's cross country runners had a successful afternoon in the Surrey Masters County Cross Country Championships in Richmond Park on Saturday returning with a sextet of individual medals and one set of team medals.
Leading the medal haul were gold medallists Gina Galbraith, Anna Garnier and Matt de Freitas. Gina, who was seventh on her debut performance in the event last year, underlined the brilliant progress she has made over every distance this year, winning the W40 category in 24:00, compared to her time of 26:12 last year, and finishing 22 seconds ahead of her closest rival in the 3.8 miles race.
Anna Garnier had a runaway victory in the W60 category in 27:22, winning by almost two minutes, to complete a hat-trick of victories in the event. She was 32 seconds faster than her winning time in 2017.
Matt de Freitas, also competing in the event for the second time, took the M50 gold covering the 5.65 miles in 32:21, 13 seconds ahead of the silver medallist. He was also part of the M50 silver medal-winning team along with Peter Lee (sixth M50 in 34:38), Pete Clarke (who also took bronze in the M55 category in 36:25) and Darren Franks (17th M50 in 37:54).
Lisa Thomas won bronze in the W50 category in 26:36 while Maurice Sharp took the silver medal in the M70 category in 31:22. Estle Viljoen just missed out on a medal in the W45 category finishing fourth in 26:39, four seconds behind the bronze medallist.
Justice for McDowell
Following his second placing in the Bournemouth Marathon on October 7th and his discovery that the winning athlete 'took a different route to everyone else, apparently having been mis-directed at one point', Richard McDowell launched an appeal.
After Gavin Lightfoot, manager of UKA's Run Britain race licensing system investigated the issue, the Bournemouth organisers agreed to elevate Richard to the winning position.
'The first finisher now resides as the winner and sole participant in a similar marathon happening at the same time!” says Richard: 'I very much doubt this outcome would have happened without the involvement of UK Athletics, so I have them to thank'.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands ... Claire and David Grima were competing in the 43rd Amsterdam Marathon, in which the winner of the men's race, Lawrence Cherono of Kenya broke his own course record, clocking 2:04:06, in near-perfect running conditions. Claire finished in 18th position in the women's race and was second W40, in 2:46.50; while Dave clocked 2:44.04, finishing 161st in the men's race. Until 15 miles out they were running together, then, says Claire, 'I just felt I needed to ease off a bit. I should have tried to hold on, but with 11 miles to go I didn’t think I could. I slowed down in the last 6 miles, but Dave ran almost identical first and second halves, bang on target, so he was really pleased with his run. 'My target was 2.44', says Dave, 'so to clock 2:44.04, going through halfway in 1:21.54, felt perfectly paced'.