Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Florence the machine is first female past the post

A 17-YEAR-OLD rower who set the fastest time of any woman in her first Henley 10km race said she did it “for a bit of fun”.

A 17-YEAR-OLD rower who set the fastest time of any woman in her first Henley 10km race said she did it “for a bit of fun”.

Florence Wiggins, 17, from Kingwood, recorded a time of 43 minutes and 38 seconds and finished 10th overall.

She completed the race, which is sponsored by the Henley Standard, along with hundreds of others on Sunday which also saw the running of the Henley Half Marathon.

The Henley Rowing Club member said: “I was really pleased. I hadn’t really expected to go out and win so that was really good. I did it for a bit of fun to be honest.

“I’m actually a rower and I do a lot of rowing training but I enjoy running and I thought I’d give it a go. The training helps, it keeps us really fit.

“The last two kilometres up the Fair Mile was a bit of a killer because you think you’re nearly there but it’s longer than you think to the finish.”

She may now take on the half marathon next year.

The Mayor of Henley Lorraine Hillier also ran the 10km race and then drove almost six hours to visit her mother in East Yorkshire.

Councillor Hillier finished in 374th with a time of one hour 27 minutes and 17 seconds and ran with friend Joanna Lock, a cross country coach.

Councillor Hillier, 59, of River Terrace, Henley, has never run competitively but says she gets lots of exercise running between Hot Gossip in Friday Street and the Upstairs and Downstairs tea rooms in Duke Street, both of which she owns.

After completing the distance she then took turns driving with her sister and mayoress Susan George to visit their mother Shirley in Ulrome, near Bridlington.

She said: “It was very good — I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s really hard. Now I know why people train!

“It was a marvellous event and Joanna was very supportive. She would have been up in the first few but she kindly offered to run with me. I couldn’t have done it without her, I’m ever so grateful.”

After completing the race she was given a goodie bag by Calum Best who was handing them out to all those who finished with his mother Angie, who owns the Metaphysical gym at Henley Business School, off Marlow Road.

Cllr Hillier added: “I was very pleased to meet Angie and of course Calum â?? that was a goodie in itself!”

Hundreds of road runners descended on Henley for the town’s 33rd half marathon.

The event, which is organised by the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge, saw 895 finishers in total with Mark Harris, 30, from Maidenhead, taking the win in one hour, 12 minutes and 34 seconds. He won on his first attempt after suffering a dislocated shoulder in June. He said: “I really like the course, it’s well organised and a well run event which is always nice.”

Last year’s winner Ben Reynolds, from Harwell, who has won the event eight times, finished second.

Rhian Martin, from Beaconsfield, was the fastest woman, completing the distance in one hour, 29 minutes and 30 seconds for Burnham Joggers.

Gary Boys, 47, of River Terrace, took part in the half marathon and beat last year’s time by more than 10 minutes.

He was raising money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. In March 2014 his partner, social worker Claire Peacock, collapsed in a shopping centre car park in Aylesbury and later died from a brain aneurysm.

Joe and Tola Smith of Park Road, Henley were running the half marathon for the first time.

Mr Smith said: “I’m a little bit nervous but I’m looking forward to it. It’s a massive turnout which I’m really pleased about. I didn’t realise it was going to be such a big event. I’ve read about this infamous hill halfway round so I’m focusing on dealing with that.”

Members of many running clubs also took part in the half marathon such as local groups the Benson Striders and Run Henley, founded by Laura Howard of Greys Road. The team prize was won by the Wargrave Runners.

In the 10km there were 386 finishers with Roy Maddams, 34, from Charvil, coming home in first place with a time of 37 minutes and eight seconds.

It was the first time he had entered and said: “It was a tough course but I enjoyed it once I got to the top of the hill. I was elated — this is part of the London Marathon build up.”

Both race routes started at Henley Rugby Club. The half marathon went over Henley Bridge, up Remenham Lane to Aston then back along the towpath and into Henley before heading to Fawley via Marlow Road and Icehouse Lane. It then headed down Fawley Hill and back to the start via Fair Mile.

The 10km runners followed the second part of the course from Marlow Road.

Sue Jones, 40, of Clifton Park Road, Caversham Heights, completed the 10km for Ronald McDonald House, which provides free respite accommodation for families with children in hospital. She completed the race in one hour, 16 minutes and 34 seconds and raised £750.

Mrs Jones said: “I ran with my friend Liz so we chatted as we ran together. It was good considering I’ve never run anything like that before.”

Oscar Nyman travelled from Stockholm in Sweden to run the 10km with friend Max Wall, of Grove Road, Henley.

The day also saw countless children taking part in the 10km, including youngsters from Gillotts and Trinity schools. There were also teams from the The Heights Primary in Caversham led by headteacher Karen Edwards dressed as a red kite, Sacred Heart and Valley Road schools in Henley and a team representing Henley Youth Festival.

They were also joined by Go Kids, an activity club for youngsters run by Eileen Unwin from Fawley. Mrs Unwin said: “Everybody completed it and they had a great time.”

Calum Best, who is set to open a new gym in the town later this month called Best Life, presented trophies to the winners.

“It’s an achievement in itself doing any sort of run like this,” he said. “It’s so nice seeing this family environment seeing the dads and the daughters and the mothers and sons.”

Race organiser Peter Wilkinson was delighted with the event and believed it had raised about £25,000. He said: “It’s one of the most popular sporting events of its type in the area, we get many, many repeat entrants.

“Fawley Hill is seen as a big challenge that brings people back time and time again to try and do their best up there. We’re very pleased.

“The weather’s been very kind. The age range is probably eight to 80 looking at the runners that have gone past.”

He added: “Now we have got the very pleasurable task of deciding who benefits.”

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