Thursday, 07 July 2022

Teenager beats own record in 5km

A TEENAGER defended his crown at this year’s Frieth Hilly 5km — and beat his own course record too.

Jacob Sanderson, 15, who is from Frieth, was cheered over the finish line in a time of 17 minutes and 56 seconds by his father Nigel and the dozens of supporters who had turned out to see Sunday’s event.

The 10km was won by Jason Leaf, 49, from Cookham, who was taking part for the third time.

This was the 12th year of the event and there were more than 90 entries for the 5km race and 197 for the 10km, helping to raise £8,000 for Frieth Primary School.

The participants lined up in the school playground on a chilly morning and were given a warm-up session by Frazer Ashman, a personal trainer from Marlow.

The race was then blessed by Rev Carol Kimberley, a retired priest, and the runners and spectators were invited to sing Jerusalem before heading to the start.

Jacob, who attends John Hampden Grammar School in High Wycombe and runs with Wycombe Phoenix Harriers, came home 26 seconds ahead of his record time set last year. He was also nearly three minutes quicker than his nearest rival.

He said: “I really enjoy running and I wanted to get first place again this year. I trained hard because I was not sure I was going to be able to win but I felt really good once I got going.

“It was a bit slippery down the hill but it had dried up so it was not too bad. I just kept on going hard throughout.

“I like to run to keep fit and play lots of other sports and if it was possible I would like to take running further than just a hobby.

“I am not sure how I could do that but I will just train as hard as I can and see where it takes me.” Mr Leaf won the longer race in a time of 38 minutes and 46 seconds. He had not finished higher than 15th in his previous two attempts.

Mr Leaf, whose sister-in-law Louise Goodchild is a teacher at the school, said: “It is very cool to win. It might take a moment to sink in. It is an awesome feeling.

“The course is a mixture of hills and roads and there were a couple of boggy patches but they were not too bad.

“I do ultra-marathons, so 10km is not too bad. I have done the Ring of Steall Skyrace at Ben Nevis, which is running uphill for an hour.

“The lad who finished just behind me went off like a bullet at the start but I got him on the hill at the end. We were both on the limit and I was having to give it everything to win.”

The proceeds will be put towards upgrading the school’s IT equipment, including the purchase of more iPads for the students to use in lessons.

Headteacher Jo Reid thanked competitors for supporting the event. Mrs Reid, whose husband Matt, 46, took part in the 5km, said: “The school, staff and children are always so amazed and so inspired by the community effort that goes into this event.

“We are always humbled that it is to support us and make the school better. It allows the children to develop and increase their potential, which is so important to us.”

Event organiser Will Richards, who was overseeing his third Hilly, said fewer people took part than in previous years but he was happy with how the event went. He said: “We put the decline down to the saturation of events in the area.

“The Henley 10km and half marathon were last week and normally people do that and then our event.

“But the feedback we had from runners was really great. There was a wonderful buzz before the race and everyone was so enthusiastic. It makes all the early starts and late nights worthwhile.”

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