Sevenoaks Ladies win Kent fitness League for the first time

Report on Kent Fitness League Cross-Country Series 2019/20

The 6th and final race of the 2019/20 Kent Fitness League was scheduled to take place in Blean Woods, Rough Common in Canterbury on Sunday 9th February, but the race was cancelled due to storm Ciara.

Pauline Dalton, running in Swanley, won the W55 title.

However, the Sevenoaks Athletics Club ladies’ team had already built an unbeatable lead in the first five races. The team of Vanessa Gilmartin, Catherine Linney, Heather Fitzmaurice, Suzy Claridge, Pauline Dalton, Victoria Croucher, Bridget Weekes, Diane Bryant, Sally Shewell, Lucy Wilkes, Sarah Fisher, Bet Benn, and Sylvia Lewis had performed outstandingly in the first five races, winning three of them, in Knole Park, Oxleas Woods and Shorne Woods in Gravesend.

This is the first time ever that Sevenoaks AC ladies have won the hotly contested series, beating Istead & Ifield AC into second place and Canterbury Harriers into third.

Pauline Dalton also won an individual medal, becoming the W55 champion.

Other excellent performances came from Vanessa Gilmartin (second in W40), Suzy Claridge (fifth in W45), Cath Linney (second in W50), Bridgit Weekes (second in W60) and Sylvia Lewis (second in W65).

Jeremy Winter, running in Swanley, won the M60 title.

The men’s team faced strong competition in the series from Maidstone & Medway AC, Paddock Wood AC, and Dartford Harriers, but finished in a creditable fourth place out of the 18 teams.

There were individual medals for SAC members James Mason (second overall) and Jeremy Winter (M60 Champion).

Other consistent performances in the series came from Guillaume Nineven (15th), Andrew Milne, (27th and 3rd in M35), Michael Lockhead (35th), Andrew Mead (38th and 5th in M50), Jimmy George (50th), Richard Alford Smith (63rd), Zac Ramsden (64th), Dan Witt (66th), Jatinder Soomal (84th) and Graham Dwyer (87th).

Team Captain, Dan Witt, said: “This is the club’s best performance ever in the Kent Fitness League. Our combined team was second last year with the ladies third, but this year the ladies have excelled, winning three of the five races and clinching the series title.

James Nash found some mud in the Minnis Bay race.

It was a shame that the final race was cancelled, but conditions were simply too bad. I should like to thank all the Sevenoaks AC runners who have competed for the club in this season’s Kent Fitness League. 62 club members have taken part in this year’s series, in addition to the 25 who were members of the organising team for the first race in the series, organised by SAC in Knole Park in November. That’s a great performance all-round for a small club.”

The Kent Fitness League is a series of cross-country races between the 18 registered Athletics Clubs in Kent. The races are spread throughout Kent – Sevenoaks, Swanley, Canterbury, Birchington, Eltham, Deal, and Dartford.

Any number of club members can compete, but 12 are needed to score in the team competition – eight men (of whom two must be V50 and one V40) and four women (of whom one must be V45 and one V35).