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Ilford’s Everingham escapes Storm Dennis to set a half marathon best in Barcelona

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 February 2020

Ilford AC's Ray Everingham in Barcelona

Ilford AC's Ray Everingham in Barcelona

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Ilford AC’s Ray Everingham jetted off to the Barcelona Half Marathon to continue his preparations for his first London Marathon in April.

Ilford AC's Ray Everingham in BarcelonaIlford AC's Ray Everingham in Barcelona

Despite escaping Storm Dennis, Everingham and the rest of the near 19,000-strong field were met with overcast and chilly conditions in Spain.

Starting and finishing at the Parc de la Cuitabella, Everingham hoped to run his first sub-two hour half marathon, but some congestion on the route saw him coming home in 2:07.24, which was still more than two and a half minutes faster than his previous best for the distance.

Ilford's Tom Gardner was also in action overseas, but much further afield in Melbourne, Australia.

Gardner entered a local graded track meeting and finished second in the 5,000 metres in 15.50.

Closer to home, Ilford super vet John Batchelor also managed to escape the bad weather by competing at the Southern Counties Vets Indoor Championships at Lee Valley.

In his first race for a year, Batchelor competed in a mixed M70/75 400m and finished third overall in 79.73, but took gold in the older age group to exceed his expectations for the day.

With the stormy weather seeing the final Essex Cross-Country League meeting of the season cancelled, several of Ilford's young athletes were denied the chance to improve their position in the individual standings.

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Jak Wright had to settle for second in the under-17 boys' competition, with Jordan Hinds runner-up in the under-20 women's category.

Bradley Deacon hoped to use the last race of the season to get into the medal positions, but had to settle for fourth in the under-17 standings.

Several senior runners claimed medals to cap a successful campaign, with Paul Grange taking gold in the M40 age group.

Alan Pearl (M60) added silver, while Gary Coombes (M45), Paul Holloway (M50) and James Huddart (M70) all took bronze for the men.

For the Ilford women, Bree Nordin won W60 gold, as Nicola Hopkinson added W55 bronze.

The senior men finished third overall, with the vets fourth, the under-17 boys fourth, the under-13s sixth and under-15s seventh. The senior women were 10th and the veteran women 11th.

Many of the cross-country squad took on parkrun challenges instead, with Deacon running a personal best of 17.31 at Valentines Park to finish first, six seconds ahead of second-placed Coombes.

Terry Knightley ran a best of 19.32 to place 10th, while under-13 James Thake clocked 21.02 on his parkrun debut and Ryder Islam (21.04) and Jacob Emeagi (25.24) were also in action as Ilford had a group of 14 in attendance.

Another three Ilford members finished inside the top 10 at Raphael parkrun, with Paul Grange first in 16.01 ahead of runner-up Ryan Holeyman (18.01), both personal bests.

Joseph Grange was 10th in 18.24, also beating his previous mark, as seven Ilford members competed in all.

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