Runners brave strong winds to conquer Tarpley 20 with Rock crowned Suffolk champion
- Credit: Archant
Athletics correspondent Carl Marston reports on Sunday’s Tarpley 10/20 mile road races
Danny Rock, despite finishing second overall and the top Suffolk performer, with a big personal best to boot, still described Sunday's Tarpley 20-mile road race as "the hardest road race I have ever done."
Runners were buffeted by strong winds during the undulating 20-mile rural route, in West Suffolk, with competitors in the supporting 10-mile event enduring the same testing conditions. The last three miles into a head-wind were especially brutal.
Ian Allen, of Spa Striders, dug deep to win the 20-mile title in a time of 1hr 52mins 51secs, having finished fourth in the same event last year.
Based in the West Mildands, Allen eclipsed the landmark 1:57:50 he had posted at last year's Gloucester 20, in the build-up to running 2:41:40 at the Manchester Marathon.
He had warmed up for Sunday's event by finishing first at the previous morning's Great Cornard parkrun.
Rock, meanwhile, was happy with his gutsy personal best of 1:53:27 in second spot, just 36 seconds behind Allen and more than five minutes clear of third-placed Daniel Beazley (1:59:00).
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"Today was the hardest road race I have ever done. It was incredibly windy, so it was physically and mentally very tough," confirmed Rock.
"We were battling against 45-48 mph headwinds or side winds for most of it, then the hills just to add even more energy sapping obstacles.
"It was quite a pain. Pacing went out of the window. All you could do was to take it one mile at a time, and just accept that you were going to have some bad miles, because of the wind. You had to take the tough with the smooth.
"It was disappointing not to win the race after getting a stitch between miles 11 and 14.
"I had quite a decent lead at the half-way mark (10 miles), when we turned back into the wind, but I never really got going again after the stitch, allowing the winner (Allen) to catch me in the 16th mile.
"The stitch meant I had to slow down, losing about 20 seconds per mile, so it was quite significant.
"Despite this I still managed a big PB, and now hold the current Felixstowe Road Runners club record which had stood since 1991," added Rock.
The event was based at the Thurston Community College (Beyton Campus) in Beyton, and the route took in such villages of Hessett, Gedding, Thorpe Morieux, Brettenham and Drinkstone.
In addition to his second spot, Rock was crowned Suffolk County 20-mile champion - the event incorporated the county 20-mile championships.
His previous best had stood at 2:03:34 from four years ago, also set at the Tarpley 20, when he had finished seventh.
Last year was Rock's best season to date. Coached by Nigel Powley (who had coincidently held the previous Felixstowe RR club record of 1:54:52, set 29 years ago), Rock had set PBs over 10K (31:30 at RAF Honington), 10 miles (53:46 at Hadleigh 10), the half-marathon (1:10:22 at Great East Run) and the marathon (2:28:13 at the Amsterdam Marathon) in 2020.
He was also part of the winning men's team on Sunday, joining Garry Cullum and Tony Gavin in the successful Felixstowe team, and now plans to run a few more races in his build-up to this April's London Marathon.
The ladies' race was a close affair, with Tracy English, an over-40 veteran from Southend-on-Sea AC, winning in 2:25:03, just nine seconds ahead of runner-up Jessie Gooderham (2:25:12), of the host club Saint Edmund Pacers.
Robert Reason, of Harwich Runners, won the Tarpley 10 in 58:01, the over-40 veteran finishing 31 seconds ahead of fellow veteran James Smith, of Newmarket Joggers, who registered 58:32.
Mark Hayward, also of Newmarket Joggers, took third in 58:55, while Woodbridge Shufflers' Emilie Wix took the ladies' 10-mile title with a good run in 70:33, just 13 seconds ahead of Norwich Road Runners' Deborah English.
There were a total of 321 finishers in the 20-miler, and a further 349 in the 10-miler.
Leading results from the Tarpley 20 and 10-mile road races, held from Beyton on Sunday:
Top 10 men: 1 I Allen (Spa Striders) 1:52:51; 2 D Rock (Felixstowe RR) 1:53:27; 3 D Beazley (Bishop's Stortford) 1:59:00; 4 A Southwood (Saint Edmund Pacers) 2:04:59; 5 C Hall (Stowmarket Striders) 2:05:11; 6 N Shorten (Riverside Runners) 2:06:16; 7 L Barber (Framlingham Flyers) 2:09:32; 8 G Cullum (Felixstowe RR) 2:09:58; 9 Alistair Belsom (Lonely Goat) 2:11:36; 10 Alex Belsom (Un) 2:11:36.
Other leading local affiliated men: 13 T Gavin (Felixstowe) 2:12:36; 18 B Jacobs (Felixstowe) 2:14:18; 19 T Lewis (Sudbury Joggers) 2:14:31; 21 M Axton (Pacers) 2:15:05; 23 D Solomon (Felixstowe) 2:19:01; 25 C Thomas (Boxted Runners) 2:19:16; 26 M Ford-Thomas (Framlingham) 2:19:39; 27 J Cornish (Woodbridge Shufflers)2:19:48; 28 T Bunch (Haverhill RC) 2:19:49; 31 C Seymour (Stowmarket) 2:21:07; 32 M Allen (Ipswich JAFFA) 2:21:22; 33 D Campbell (Colchester Harriers) 2:21:24; 34 A Ellis (Felixstowe) 2:21:40; 35 A Archer (JAFFA) 2:23:04; 37 C Hann (Sudbury) 2:23:39; 39 I Duggan (Felixstowe) 2:34:36.
Male veterans, over-40: 1 Southwood. Over-45: 1 Beazley. Over-50: 1 D Bartholomew (Un) 2:12:13. Over-55: Lewis. Over-60: 1 A Shand (Newmarket) 3:07:11. Over-65: 1 T Newton (JAFFA) 2:48:28
Top 10 ladies: 1 T English (Southend) 2:25:03; 2 J Gooderham (Pacers) 2:25:12; 2 E Sennitt Clough (Peterborough) 2:27:03; 4 J Behan (Norwich) 2:28:26; 5 K King (Pacers) 2:29:22; 6 N Dunnage (Un) 2:31:25; 7 C Ward Sell (Vegan Runners) 2:33:17; 8 M Gordon (Felixstowe) 2:34:43; 9 E Drury (Sudbury) 2:35;30; 10 R Pittman (Springfield) 2:36:49.
Female veterans, over-40: 1 English. Over-45: Sennitt Clough. Over-50: 1 L Hurr (Norfolk Gazelles) 2:41:03. Over-55: Pittman, 2 S Thorogood (Susbury) 2:38:33. Over-60: 1 W Hughes (Stowmarket) 3:09:57. Over-65: 1 A Newman (Huntingdon) 2:54:55.
Top 10 men: 1 R Reason (Harwich, first over-40) 58:01; 2 J Smith (Newmarket Joggers) 58:32; 3 M Hayward (Newmarket) 58:55; 4 A Howlet (Framlingham, first over-45) 59:23; 5 S Wright (Norwich) 59:52; 6 G Taylor (Felixstowe) 63:48; 7 D Sheppard (Framlingham) 64:32; 8 B Jeffery (West Suffolk) 65:05; 9 C Sisso (Haverhill) 65:08; 10 S Buchan (Stowmarket) 65:58.
Also: 11 S Brooke (Felixstowe, first over-50) 66:29; 12 T Hayden (Framlingham, first under-21) 66:38; S Mead (Stowmarket, first over-65) 68:42; D Copland (Ipswich Tri, first over-55) 69:55; G Wigley (Framlingham, over-60) 79:38; L Basham (Stowmarket, first over-70) 1:34:10..
Top 10 ladies: 1 E Wix (Woodbridge Shufflers) 70:33; 2 D English (Norwich, first over-40) 70:46; 3 T Preston (Un) 71:11; 4 J Honour (Un, first under-21) 72:40; 5 E Mortimer (Stowmarket) 74:01; 6 A Calver (Un, first over-45) 74:26; 7 H Taylor (Felixstowe) 75:58; 8 C Douglas (Stowmarket) 75:58; 9 F Pearce (Norfolk Gazelles) 76:42; 10 H Jerrold (Un) 79:37.
Also: H Suttle (Pacers, first over-55) 80:45; M Goodby (Bungay Black Dog, first over-50) 1:23:00; J Morgan (Pacers, first over-60) 1:24:52; C Trundle (Haverhill, first over-65) 1:25:08. M Wright (JAFFA,, first over-70) 1:47:39.