Bognor runners feel the heat at big New Forest race

Tone Zone runners at the New Forest race
Tone Zone runners at the New Forest race

A year ago, the New Forest ten-mile race was cancelled because of extreme floods. This year’s event was as far removed from that as imaginable, with record temperatures and the ground resembling a dessert terrain.

Around 700 entered, their goals and timed targets quickly changed to ‘just the challenge’ of completing the route. At various points of the course, temperatures reached over 30 degrees and runners became walkers.

Organisers later confirmed that this was the hottest New Forest race they had staged since the start in 1982.

Tone Zone provided 31 runners although two were forced to withdraw after a few miles because of the heat.

The club’s men’s runner of the year, Jim Simmonds, finished first for the club in an impressive time of 1hr 13min. Simon Gill set an early pace, followed by Danny Mahoney and Tony Hancock. As the heat took its toll, Simmonds picked off his fellow runners and finished strongly.

Debbie Ward had high hopes of achieving a fast time and although very respectable, paid the price in the latter stages due to her early pace.

In Hove, the Phoenix 10k took place on the prom on a very hot evening. Tone Zone had four runners participating, two of whom, Debbie Ward and Amanda Worne, had run the New Forest ten-mile event only a few days earlier.

Ward was first to finish for the club in 42 minutes, finishing as the tenth lady overall. Mike Batstone was the only Tone Zone man involved and was fourth in his age category, finishing in 43 minutes. Anna Enes and Amanda Worne finished in 45 and 51 minutes retrospectively.

The appropriately-named Surrey Slog half marathon was held at Holmbury Hill. The route weaves its way along a hilly undulating cross-country course.

This year, the heat challenged the runners further.

Six of the club’s runners took part. Jim Simmons was again the first to finish for the club in 1.43 followed by Gary Pidgeon, who ran a much-improved race after the New Forest.

Chris Gallagher rediscovered his form finishing in just over 2.00, slightly ahead of Felicity Paton, putting in a good performance after a period away.

Amanda Worne finished strongly.

Carolyn Millar was Tone Zone’s only representative in the London 10k. This event is fast-growing in popularity with more than 30,000 entrants this year.

The route draws runners from around the country as it’s the perfect opportunity to run past Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey as well as many other of London’s main attractions.

The race was started by Katrina from Katrina and the Waves and after the elite runners were released there was a delay in releasing the rest of the field.

It took over an hour for the main body of runners to cross the start line - for no apparent reason.

Millar finished in a very respectable time.

At the Bishop’s Waltham five-mile race, Debbie Patching was the only Tone Zoner involved. She put in good performance, finishing in 49 minutes.

Tone Zone times: New Forest 10 Mile - Jim Simmons 1.13, Tony Hancock 1.17, Simon Gill 1.17, Danny Mahoney 1.17, Debbie Ward 1.19, Michael Batstone 1.20, Ian Bayley 1.20, Karen Harrison 1.20, Gary Pidgeon 1.20, Louisa Proctor 1.23, Stuart Thomson 1.27, Paul Coe 1.28, Felicity Paton 1.28, Amanda Worne 1.29, Chris Gallagher 1.30, Luke Simmonds 1.34, Roy Webb 1.41, Pat Argent 1.45, Stephen Goddard 1.47, Sarah Baker 1.54, Mike Young 1.50, Alan Argent 1.54, Mike Monk 1.58, Paul Westwood 1.59, Judith Bazeley 1.59, Jo Langrish 2.01, Alison Stead 2.11, Sarah Spurr 2.11, Derek Winslow 2.27.

Surrey Slog Half Marathon: Jim Simmons 1.43, Gary Pidgeon 1.53, Ian Bayley 1.56, Chris Gallagher 2.01, Felicity Paton 2.02, Amanda Worne 2.09.

IAN BAYLEY