13th A Coventry Way Challenge Commentary

18 April 2010

Judging by the comments that we have received, it seems that everyone enjoyed their day out in the Solihull and Warwickshire countryside around Coventry on such a nice day.

From 5 am, whilst Alan Townsend and Bill Eve were parking cars, Bob Carey was busy receiving your registration assisted by Bob Rainsley. We had a total of 297 entries with about 50 entering on the day, albeit some did not start. Soon the car park outside Meriden Village Hall was full and then cars were directed to park at ‘The Manor Hotel’, ‘Leon Shutkever & Co’ and ‘AK Services (Midlands) Ltd’. Each of these Meriden businesses had kindly agreed to help out by allowing us to park cars on their premises.

Allowing people to start when they were ready meant that one or two people were through Kenilworth before 7:30am when checkpoint 1 opened. This checkpoint in Common Lane was manned by Ulli Ull & Miranda Aston, former ACW joint women’s record holders.

At Bubbenhall in charge as usual were Tina & Bill Eve. There was a bit of contention here with the Dog group who had hired the hall – apologies to them for this. We are grateful to Bev Goddard for helping us out. To avoid a conflict of interests another year we are planning to ask to book the hall for the morning instead of squatting in the car park.

At Wolston Bob, Amy & Tim Brandon looked after this checkpoint. Tim on food distribution, Amy as time-keeper with Bob i/c the tea urn. Those later through the village found the duck race in progress.

Frank Tonkinson and Terry Lewins together with members of the Breakfast Club manned checkpoint 4 at Brinklow. Once again Sylvia Cree who lives nearby was a great help to the marshal’s on the Green.

By Ansty Golf Club were Mick & Marie Hudspith at the first of the unofficial refreshment points. The second at Barnacle was looked after by Irene Rogers. Those taking part have expressed that these two stops were a very pleasant surprise.

The Bedworth checkpoint is at the home of Maureen & Jim Chapman, for whose hospitality we are extremely grateful. Assisting here were Sue Bicknell and Greta Shields.

At Breach Oak Lane you were looked after by Ken & Mark Nicholas. You drank so much water this year that Ken had to dash back home and get some more.

Mary Hewison, as usual, was looking after the final checkpoint at Corley Moor. Just as well as Dave Burrin was “stuck” in Africa waiting for the ash to subside. We are grateful to Judith B for filling in for Dave.

You need to know that refreshments at the checkpoints had been masterminded and prepared by Anne Wade and her parents, Maud & David. As in previous year’s Maud’s date-slice was most popular. David reported that he had found a new tool, a cling-film cutter to speed up his wrapping of the filled rolls on Saturday. Thank you for such a valuable family effort.

Bob Carey’s day at Meriden Village Hall had moved on. He had been joined by Kim Veasey to help him time in the finishers and hand out the certificates, badges and T-shirts. Also, Maud & David had moved into the kitchen to provide further refreshments to the finishers. This year we reintroduced a formal First Aid cover at the finish supplied by MedEvent UK Ltd – it was a comfort to have them on hand to deal with any problems.

The Challenge is not a race, however we do have records. This year we have two new records. Lisa Joanne Barry in a time of 6:24 beating by 31 minutes the previous ladies record set by Anne Wade in 2003. The men’s record was broken twice! Peter Jaworisky beat the record he set last year by three minutes, and then Matt Giles beat that record by another 21 minutes. The record now stands at 4:57. Kenilworth runners had their eye on the men’s relay title, but missed it by a small margin, claiming that since the record was set by Sphinx AC the course has been extended at each end by the distance from the Queen’s Head to Meriden village Hall.

Congratulations go to Mark Swift on notching up a tenth ACW Challenge. Upon finishing, Mark was presented with a special ACW t-shirt “10 years – 400 miles”.

The Challenge did not go un-noticed. We have received feedback from those along the way – from a farm near Kenilworth it was reported that “all went OK except the usual who despite way marks ended up in our yard – quite funny really!” Golfers at nearby Kenilworth Golf course had to point Challenger’s in the right direction, however this might be down to the right of way being “fenced” off at one point.

We are grateful to have use of the Village Halls. Meriden – thanks to Val Martin and Allan Copper for their assistance and the Meriden Village Hall Management Committee for use of the hall. Bubbenhall – thanks to Bev Goddard for access to the hall for water and use of toilets, and in particular for helping us out on the day. Wolston – thanks to Lesley Blay for being so obliging. Barnacle – here the hall was opened unasked, for access to water and toilets – thank you!

Along the Way Peter Page took some great pictures, some of which are on the web site. John Green also spent the day travelling the route by car and kept the checkpoints cheery. Also on the circuit were Mr & Mrs “A Coventry Way” – Iris & Cyril Bean founder of ACW – it was good to see them out experiencing in reality their vision of many years ago

Charities – Many taking part were collecting sponsorship for their chosen charity. ACWA member, Hannah Wade was in early to set up a stall, and by selling cakes collected £76 on the day for the Myasthenia Gravis Association (this despite her grandparents dishing out ‘free’ food at the other end of the hall). A small start as Hannah’s fund now stands (2 weeks later) at over £2,800. The students from Princethorpe College were fundraising for Mary’s Meals and their total is now well over the £1500 mark …and counting. Matt Kite has raised a lot of money using our event for the Coventry Charity Cup who donate to about 10 different causes every year. Those mentioned are just a few using ACW Challenge to raise funds for charity.

Bob Brandon