Kent Masters Cross-Country Championships, Dartford – 4th December 2021


The Kent Masters Cross-country Championships is a very hotly contested series of races for the top Masters runners in Kent and the |South East of London.   Cross-Country Masters Cross-country races start at 40 plus for men and 35 plus for women, with team and individual awards being made at these and older age groups. For the races this year at Dartford, Medway & Maidstone AC men’s and women’s teams had a very successful day with team medals in all 4 categories entered.

The most successful age group for Medway & Maidstone AC was in the men’s M50 – M59 8.7 Km race, were the club repeated their achievement of 2019 with team gold.  The rules have changed since 2019, teams now requiring 4 runners (previously 3) The club’s winning 4-to-score team was led by Noel Lyons (M50) who just missed out on an individual medal, finishing in 4th place (32.21).  Lyons was very closely followed by team mate Gareth Williams (M55) in 5th (32.27) with Alun Rodgers (M55) in 8th (32.45) and Martin Taylor (M50) in 21st (34.56) completing the team.  Further back-up was provided by Richard Kerswill (M50) in 24th (35.22),  Bob Fursey (M55) in 49th (37.41) and Adrian Donnelly (M50) in 60th (38.31).  The race was won by British and World Masters Champion, Ben Reynolds (M55) representing Tonbridge AC (30.30).  William Pitt (M50) took silver for Kent AC, Christopher Turner (M50) – Dartford AC took bronze (32.00)

In the men’s M40-M49 8.7 Km race, the club claimed the bronze team award.  Kent AC took team gold, with Blackheath and Bromley in silver. M & M were led by Anthony Webb (M45) who took the individual bronze medal (29.13). The team was completed by Mark Wilkins (M40) in 5th (30.09), Neill Wright (M45) in 10th and a gutsy run by Darren Wright (M45) in 32nd to take his first Kent county medal (34.23). The race was won by Micah Evans (M40) of Blackheath & Bromley AC, Nick Collins (M40) of Ashford and District AC taking individual silver (29.02).

In the M60-M69 5.4 Km race Paul McAuliffe (M65) was the club’s only runner finishing in 8th (22.40) out of a strong entry of 40. Nigel Read (M70), in the same race, finished in 14th place in the M70 category (34.29).

The club’s women also had a great day’s racing.  The W45-54 team had a superb result claiming silver. Looking back through over 20 years of records, this appears to be the first ever club medal for this age group. This, along with the W35 team medal, shows how strong this section of the club has become. Tonbridge AC took gold and Central Park Athletics bronze. In the W45 category, Taryne McPherson (W45) was first home for the club in 6th (22.32), Jenny Fowler (W45) in 10th (23.09) and Karen Cudmore (W45) 17th (24.17) completing the team.  The race was won by Julie Backley (W50) of Cambridge Harriers (21.22), with Hazel Behagg (W45) of Dartford Road Runners (21.31) taking silver, Maria Heslop (W50) of Tonbridge AC claiming bronze (21.53).

The women’s W35-W44, completed the club trophy haul by winning team bronze.  Liz Weeks (W40) was the club’s first runner home in 7th place (21.46), closely followed by Chloe Hammond (W40) in 9th and Vanessa Vander (W35) in 19th (24.41).  Tonbridge AC took gold and Kent AC Silver in the team awards.  Hannah Roberts (W40) of Dartford AC (20.19) was the overall winner, Kay Sheedy (W35) of Dulwich Runners AC taking individual silver (21.13) and Nichola Evans (W35) of Tonbridge AC bronze (21.20)