Despite the cancellation of all events for the foreseeable future, including the club’s summer training camp, last weekend Newcastle University’s Athletics and Cross-County opened up their Virtual Summer Race Series.
Abiding by government COVID-19 guidelines, running once-a-day, solo and staying two-metres apart from any others outside, the Virtual Race Series allows athletes to compete against fellow club members every month – 32 signed up to race.
Taking place at the start of every month until August, competitors take to the streets of their hometowns to compete over a set distance, uploading their effort to running social media site Strava. Upcoming events will include distances of one-mile, a half marathon, three kilometres and 10 kilometres, however, it was the five-kilometre time trial that opened the series.
Replacing the cancelled Cow Bell Race, organised by NUAXC for clubs across the country to compete on the Town Moor in Newcastle, it’s a distance that athletes had been training for with at least four PBs being posted over the weekend.
In the women’s race, it was captain Lauren Davies-Beckett who posted the quickest time of 19:18, running laps around Holmebrook Valley’s Country Park in Chesterfield. Further south, Emily Oakshott shot round in a time of 20:08 on the outskirts of Plymouth and Shona Haston finished third in a time of 20:31 on a hilly Hury Reservoir route.
In the overall women’s standings, once handicaps were taken into account, it was Anna Robson who topped the leaderboard thanks to a near five-minute PB. Oakshott in second and Becci Ousby in 3rd.
For the men, there was no surprise as Callum Hanson charged around Newcastle’s City Track in 14:54. Jack Douglas was “absolutely thrilled” to run a big PB to go sub-16 minutes in Loughborough and Chris Larkin was third quickest of the weekend in 16:18 – spurred on by an in-form Matt Larkin biting at his heels.
Overall, handicaps taken into account, it’s Bury St Edmunds’ own, Harry Shingleton, who sits in first place with a big PB. Samuel Hansen is in second after his run, noting that “lovely sunny Quayside is always nice” and Toby Bryant places third.
Larkin, organiser and Cross-Country Captain, spoke of his elation at club members’ participation:
“We’ve been really impressed with everyone’s keenness and enthusiasm, and blown away by some of the PBs that were run.”
“Follow me on Strava”, fellow captain Davies-Beckett added.
The next event of the NUAXC Virtual Race Series, the one-mile time trial, takes place at the start of May.
Last modified: 24th April 2020