It’s double delight for Ilford athletes

ILFORD AC continues to build a strong road and cross country squad with some excellent performances on a busy weekend of running action. Despite three of their established stars competing in the Great North Run, the club still managed an excellent result

ILFORD AC continues to build a strong road and cross country squad with some excellent performances on a busy weekend of running action.

Despite three of their established stars competing in the Great North Run, the club still managed an excellent result in the final round of the East London Five Inter-club Series - the Dagenham five-mile race at Eastbrook End Country Park - where they duly took the awards for the series in both the men's and women's sections.

The men's race proved to be a very tight affair with Barking Road Runners fielding a very strong team.

Indeed, with captain Neil Crisp sidelined early in the race due to injury, it was left to youngster Iain Macdonald to pull the troops through, backed up by some excellent support from some of the club's experienced veterans.


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Macdonald made up some very important places in the latter half of the course and finished seventh in 31 minutes 36 seconds.

Terry Knightley and Kevin Newell consolidated just behind with 32.56 and 33.13 for 11th and 12th places respectively.

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Gary Floate was 13th man home, clocking 33.40, with Rohan Alexander 19th in 35.10 and Chris Togwell one place behind with a time of 35.15.

Although losing the race team prize - based on the first three men home - by a solitary point, the six-man squad required for the series bettered the Barking effort by two points.

The Ilford ladies' squad was pleased to welcome back captain Dianne Crisp from injury and celebrated her return with a comfortable victory.

Nicola Hopkinson eventually found her finishing speed for ninth in 41.12, just getting the better of Sally Gillam who finished 10th with a time of 41.26.

Crisp eased herself back to racing in 11th place with 42.00, just ahead of Vanessa Burns, 13th with 42.31.

Teenager Natalie Crisp was 17th in 43.29 and veteran Pam Jones was 23rd in 46.26.

The three-woman team of Hopkinson, Gillam and Crisp also took the race ladies' team prize.

In addition to both Ilford squads retaining their shields, there were series victories for Nicola Hopkinson in the FV35 and Pam Jones in the FV55 categories.

Dianne Crisp was top FV45 of the series, but took the higher value overall third ladies prize.

Other Ilford performances included: Steve Parker 35.30, Satha Alaganandasundaram 48.13, Robin Davis 52.41 and Meredith Floate 57.18

Pam Jones' granddaughter Bronwen ran in the accompanying children's race and was first girl home.

n MEANWHILE, Malcolm Muir, Matt Maple and Darren Bottrill made the 250-mile trip to Tyneside to be part of the 50,000-plus runners competing in the BUPA Great North Run.

Muir, despite nursing a troublesome knee injury, started conservatively going through 5k in 19.19 to Bottrill's 18.43 - which was probably a bit too quick - and Maple's 19.46.

Muir, at a much more even pace, finished strongly for 128th place, clocking 1:21.25. Bottrill was 346th in 1:27.08 and Maple only just adrift with 1:28.44 for 453rd.

Even further north, Robin and Nikki McNelis both had excellent runs in the top class Stirling 10k.

Robin was delighted to dip under 36 minutes, a barrier he has been trying to break for the last four years, and was therefore over the moon to record 35.39 for 42nd place.

Nikki was similarly pleased with her 48.36.

The mild weather saw many personal bests with the course record falling to youngster Tsegai Tewelde, who set a new time of 29.07.

He was kept company by three club-mates, who all broke the magic 30-minute mark.

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