Axe Valley Runners annual awards
- Credit: Axe Valley Runners
The annual Axe Valley Runners award presentations are usually handed out at the Christmas dinner and social, but this was obviously conducted virtually this year.
Male Runners of the Year joint award went to Joel Seward for many PB’s and two ultra runs, and Jeremy Slade, who recovered successfully from Bowel cancer and is now running well. He is always helping others with their running.
Female Runner of the Year went to Sue Hayes, who was the first AVR female in Grizzly and first UK W45 finisher in the world virtual half marathon.
Most Improved Male - Shaun Vinnicombe for completing his first (virtual) London marathon.
Most Improved Female - Natalie McNeice, who has gone from strength to strength following her graduation from the first Couch to 5k last year.
Club Person - Rob Collier, not least for putting together the running schedules post full lockdown. Founders Trophy - Andrew Hartnell for organising virtual handicaps. President's Shield - David Cooke for his M65 UK top ranking in the 200m.
Team of the year – Tu-Tu Grizzly Gang for epitomizing team work. Chairman's Shield - Mandy Harris for all she has done to support AVR through Covid, as well as working in an ICU in the thick of it all.
Jake Smith was made an honorary life member of AVR for his fantastic achievements this year, when, in his Team GB half-marathon debut in Poland, he finished 18th, second European and third fastest-ever GB athlete, and just two weeks before he helped pace the London Marathon.
Tony Smith was awarded a special award for organising the Grizzly for three years and, on a lighter note, Beck Davey won Lesley’s Lemon Award for making her laugh out loud.
It was great to have a Christmas day run to enjoy and a spectacular sunrise revealed a cold crisp sunny morning with the sea like a millpond.
The 7.30 wave consisted of 10 runners, including Matt Hewer’s two helpers Carol Austin and Rob Collier, who both opted to pace other runners, with Carol helping Carolyn Nation achieve a fantastic 29.15.
The 8am wave saw 11 runners, many in fancy dress, hit the course. Graham Newton had donned some very festive trousers, whilst Vicky Wraight was one of Santa’s elves. Ian Westworth achieved an impressive 25.17. Matt Hewer also took the opportunity to get a run in and finished in 20.13, whilst Matt Orsman’s 17.57 was the fastest time of the day.
A full complement of 12 runners lined up at 8:30, including many in full Santa outfits and great to see Simon Dimmock back running and getting up to speed.
By 9am, the seafront was getting busy and the course, which mostly kept us off the promenade, came into its own.
Bec Davey sported an excellent Santa outfit including shoes, Pam Goddard wore a very fetching turkey hat and Kevin Feeney was a superhero, possibly one called the flasher or something like that. Cliff Marriott followed Vicky’s lead and went for festive elf.
Leader of the pack in this last wave was Joel Seward in an impressive 18.45. It was also great to see Robert Kerr back running. It was a lovely way to start Christmas Day, superbly organised by Matt Hewer, ably assisted by Carol Austin and Rob Collier.
Kerry Board recently took part in the “Race the Tide” event held at Mothecombe near Plymouth. This is an 8½ mile trail event through the Flete Estate, including a run through the estuary at both the beginning and end of the race with a steep climb to the finish.
There was plenty of wind and rain on the day. Kerry finished 63rd and second F40 in 1:22:58. Maxine Sweetman won the December and final AVR virtual handicap for 2020, she was followed by Katherine Moran and Vicki Wraight.
This means that the winner of the series for 2020 was Bob Carter with 129 points, followed by Richard Matthews ,124 and Vicki Wraight third with 123 points.