Suffolk success at Southern Inter-Counties, JAFFA recognition and Danny rocks again
PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 12 December 2019
Far from winding down towards the end of another year, it's been a helter-skelter last few weeks for Suffolk running.
There's been some exciting developments at Ipswich JAFFA, Southern regional Cross Country Championships in Oxford, and Combined Services recognition for one of the county's top marathon runners.
Here's a run-down:
Clive Sparkes became JAFFA's new president at the end of last month, succeeding David Smith in the post. Smith retired after 13 years as president, and more than 40 years association with the club.
Sparkes was elected as the new president, having been the vice-chairman in recent years.
He said: "They are hard shoes to fill, but I will do my best to represent the club values with dignity and integrity. It is a huge honour."
HONORARY LIFE MEMBERS
Three JAFFA members were granted Honorary Life Membership at the club's AGM, boosting the total from 31 to 34.
The three proud new 'life' members are Helen Davies, Bert Hatcher and Val Jennings.
Davies needs no introduction, with international honours over the marathon and ultra distance - the first JAFFA runner to achieve such recognition.
In addition to running the marathon at the European Championships (Barcelona) and Commonwealth Games (Delhi, India), both back in 2010, Davies returned to competitive running after starting a family to rattle up even more impressive results, despite turning 40 this year.
She completed a hat-trick of Brighton Marathon titles in April, before stepping up in distance to win a silver medal at the World 50K Ultra Championships in Rumania, where she also won a gold team medal with a time of 3hrs 09mins 16secs.
Meanwhile, Hatcher, a long-term stalwart member of JAFFA, has continued to be immersed in the club as a generous benefactor to help develop the club, particularly its junior section.
Finally, Jennings has been running at a high level for more than 30 years, and is a household name on the Suffolk circuit.
She has continued to set age group club records, and has been selected to run for the England Masters marathon teams for the last two years (Chester and York).
Jennings has actually run more than 600 races for the club, and no one has run more team events.
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SOUTHERN XC CHAMPS
Suffolk's finest junior athletes were in action at the South of England Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, held at Horspath, Oxford, last Saturday.
Lewis Sullivan once again spearheaded Suffolk's challenge, winning individual gold and team gold in the under-15 boys' race. Sullivan, a pupil at Sybil Andrews Academy and a member of Saint Edmund Pacers, clocked 13mins 06secs to finish 18 seconds clear of runner-up Ethan Scott (Surrey).
Sullivan was superbly backed up by Ben Peck (third, 13:27), Oliver Hitchcock (fourth, 13:32) and James Peck (eighth) in the triumphant Suffolk quartet.
Elsewhere, Verity Valentine was an excellent third in the under-13 girls' race, and Liam Davison was a fine 10th in the under-13 boys.
Hannah Pettersson was an impressive eighth in the senior women's event, with Stowmarket's Maddie Jordan-Lee seventh in the under-20s.
In the Masters competition, held on the same day, West Suffolk AC's Christine Anthony was second in the 55-59 year-old class, with club-mate Maureen McCarthy fourth. Pacers' Jenny Morgan was eighth in the 60-64 section.
Results (Suffolk athletes):
Unde-13 girls: 3 V Valentine, 17 E Rufford, 62 P Harpur-Davis, 71 E Perry, 72 R Jackson, 78 L Zie, 82 I Moore.
Under-13 boys: 10 L Davison, 29 J Trangmar, 57 T Taylor, 70 M Jeffery, 75 I Forthergill, 86 S Melero.
Under-15 girls: 73 S Allen, 81 M Stillitoe, 84 M Howell, 85 S Gathorne-Hardy, 86 A Bradnam.
Under-15 boys: 1 L Sullivan, 3 B Peck, 4 O Hitchcock, 8 J Peck, 29 M Berry, 62 H Dinwiddy, 68 R Grady, 70 L Wallace, 72 B Phillips.
Under-17 girls: 29 T Aldis, 31 M Dann, 45 R Morley, 47 P Branton.
Under-17 boys: 28 T Henson, 43 F Adams, 62 M Bennett, 78 J Webb, 79 D Bradnam.
Senior women: 8 H Pettersson, 43 A O'Hare, 53 E Wix, 55 K King, 56 S Spencer, 58 E Mortimer.
Under-20s: 7 Maddie Jordan-Lee, 14 Millie Jordan-Lee.
Danny Rock, of Felixstowe Road Runners, relished the honour of running for the Combined Services team, as a member of the Royal Air Force, at a highly-competitive Telford 10K road race.
Rock has had an outstanding year, highlighted by a scorching personal best for the marathon. He clocked a stunning 2hrs 28mins 13secs at the Amsterdam Marathon in late October.
Coached by the experienced Nigel Powley, Rock won the Ipswich Twilight 10K in July and finished a runner-up at the Simplyhealth Great East Run Half-Marathon in September.
And at the Telford 10K, he notched 31mins 33secs, just three seconds adrift of his PB set at RAF Honington in September.