The first race of the 2023/24 Kent Fitness League took place in Swanley Park on Sunday November 11th, writes Jim Knight.
A record 618 runners, including 38 from Sevenoaks AC, lined up for the start at 11 a.m. After 2 minutes silence to contemplate the horrors of war and pay respects to those who fought for our freedom in the two world wars, the whistle blew, and the race started.
Three laps of the park – undulating, grassy, muddy in places, but overall a fast 5.5-mile course. The rain held off and the runners enjoyed pleasant cool conditions.
29 minutes and 47 seconds later, 18 year old Callum Featherstone from Maidstone and Medway AC crossed the line to win by 11 seconds from his brother, Cameron.
Just 11 seconds later, 40 year-old James Mason from Sevenoaks AC had an outstanding run to finish in 6th place. He was followed by Jamie Philip (20th), Andrew Hutchinson (34th), and Guillaume Nineven (38th). The other scorers in the men’s team were Darius Sarshar (63rd), 19-year-old Harvey Taylor (74th), Chris Desmond (109th), and Mike McCarthy (125th). There was also an excellent performance from Dan Witt, the club Chairman, who finished in 43 minutes in his first race since undergoing cancer treatment.
In the women’s race, Sevenoaks’ Andrea Berquez led for the first 2 laps but faded on the final lap and came 3rd in a time of 34.47 - an outstanding performance as she had competed in a long trail race in the South Downs the day before. The other scorers in the SAC women’s team were Caroline Fenwick (14th), Cath Linney (23rd), Nicola Glover (30th), and Pauline Dalton (71st).
The women’s team came 3rd, the men’s team 5th, and the combined team 5th overall. A very encouraging start to the season. The SAC results were:
|Ov Pos||Lg Pos||Bib||Runner||Age||Time||Club||Score||Rtg||#|
|6||6||869||James Mason||40||30:09||Sevenoaks AC||V40:1||98.73||20|
|20||20||882||Jamie Philip||46||32:13||Sevenoaks AC||V40:2||95.17||2|
|34||34||858||Andrew Hutchinson||44||32:55||Sevenoaks AC||M1||91.60||21|
|48||48||879||Guillaume Nineven||38||33:35||Sevenoaks AC||M2||88.04||11|
|65||63||886||Darius Sarshar||54||34:37||Sevenoaks AC||V50:1||84.22||13|
|71||3||836||Andrea Berquez||38||34:47||Sevenoaks AC||V35||99.11||7|
|78||74||893||Harvey Taylor||19||35:11||Sevenoaks AC||M3||81.42||10|
|99||92||830||Richard Alford-Smith||47||36:09||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||76.84||15|
|104||96||878||Sebastian Naughton||49||36:23||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||75.83||11|
|108||100||888||Paul Shelley||49||36:34||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||74.81||8|
|119||109||846||Chris Desmond||60||36:54||Sevenoaks AC||V60||72.52||85|
|129||14||852||Caroline Fenwick||45||37:20||Sevenoaks AC||V45||94.22||8|
|139||123||874||Andrew Monk||47||37:54||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||68.96||5|
|141||125||871||Michael McCarthy||58||37:56||Sevenoaks AC||V50:2||68.45||25|
|151||133||834||James Baker||58||38:10||Sevenoaks AC||NS||66.41||25|
|158||23||865||Catherine Linney||54||38:27||Sevenoaks AC||F1||90.22||44|
|173||30||854||Nicola Glover||35||38:52||Sevenoaks AC||F2||87.11||9|
|181||149||849||Graham Dwyer||51||38:57||Sevenoaks AC||NS||62.34||21|
|199||166||896||Anthony Waldron||56||39:41||Sevenoaks AC||NS||58.02||35|
|201||35||840||Lucy Ching||42||39:47||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||84.89||Debut|
|210||173||831||Brian Allen||51||40:08||Sevenoaks AC||NS||56.23||Debut|
|214||177||859||David Killpack||38||40:13||Sevenoaks AC||NS||55.22||4|
|228||188||837||Simon Bishop||59||40:46||Sevenoaks AC||NS||52.42||7|
|242||199||835||Adam Bates||40||41:00||Sevenoaks AC||NS||49.62||Debut|
|249||205||850||Andrew Evans||53||41:05||Sevenoaks AC||NS||48.09||53|
|255||210||862||Leonard Lai King||44||41:13||Sevenoaks AC||NS||46.82||11|
|276||54||853||Vanessa Gilmartin||48||41:51||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||76.44||29|
|285||229||866||Alan Male||53||42:06||Sevenoaks AC||NS||41.98||5|
|301||62||883||Sarah Philpott||45||42:45||Sevenoaks AC||NSBLS||72.89||Debut|
|314||247||900||Daniel Witt||48||43:17||Sevenoaks AC||NS||37.40||67|
|328||71||844||Pauline Dalton||59||43:36||Sevenoaks AC||V55||68.89||59|
|376||288||856||Simon Hallpike||70||45:05||Sevenoaks AC||NS||26.97||59|
|383||294||867||Simon Mann||43||45:18||Sevenoaks AC||NS||25.45||Debut|
|423||107||889||Sarah Shewell||64||47:08||Sevenoaks AC||NS||52.89||124|
|504||355||860||Jim Knight||72||51:24||Sevenoaks AC||NS||9.92||6|
|544||371||892||Lionel Stielow||74||54:40||Sevenoaks AC||NS||5.85||24|
|580||383||872||Nicholas Mileham||43||58:46||Sevenoaks AC||NS||2.80||4|
|582||199||857||Anna Humphrey-Taylor||54||59:08||Sevenoaks AC||NS||12.00||5|
The full results are here.
The Kent Fitness League is a series of cross-country races between the 18 registered Athletics Clubs in Kent. Any number of club members can compete, but 13 are needed to score in the team competition – 8 men (of whom two must be V40 and two V50 and one V60) and 5 women (of whom one must be V35 and one V45 and one V55).
The next race is on Sunday Nov 19th in Oxleas Wood, Eltham.