Delighted to see that work has begun on a new home for the Kingfisher Canoe Club. The club has battled hard and long since being evicted from the army rowing club land on Wilsham Road. A previous plan had fallen through at Rye Farm Meadow, nearby, but finally they gained planning permission to build a timber framed canoe storage and changing facility on Abingdon Lock Island.
In April 2020, mid pandemic, they got the welcome news of a National Lottery / Sport England grant of £36,000. This is in addition to grants from many local and national organisations, and from the club’s own fund raising activities. Their April press release details all the donors.
This will ensure the sustainability of a club that, over the last 45 years, has taught many people locally to use canoes.
Their new home is close by some of the best white water on the River Thames.
The 37th Abingdon Marathon started at 9 am on Sunday October 20th 2019. The day was fresh and dry.
Among the 1150+ entries there was one well known Abingdon runner going for a Santa marathon running record, and another runner going for the pyjamas marathon record.
The race started and finished at the Tilsley Park Athletics Track and followed much the same course as previous years, starting along Dunmore Road, going via Radley Lakes then through Abingdon Market Place.
There were lots of people cheering the runners along the route. East St Helen Street did Abingdon proud.
Some runners came from Abingdon. Others came from further afield.
There were about twenty from Egdon Heath Harriers in Dorset.
Abingdon, and the River Thames, provide an interesting backdrop for the race. One of the new sponsors this year is Abingdon’s latest hotel, The Garden Hilton – they offered a 10% discount on their best rate for runners, family and friends
After Abingdon town centre the route went out on a two lap route passing through the villages of Drayton, Milton, and Sutton Courtenay before returning back.
Time passes and we return to Tilsley Park …
The winner was Jonathon Pool from the Serpentine Club in London.
The second place runner was Sean Edwards of the Lytchett Manor Striders, in Dorset.
Santa Claus, of Abingdon Athletics Club, finished in 2 hours 49. I have googled and the fastest Santa Claus marathon was 2 hr 54 min. We will have to wait and see but that could be a new world record.
There was a great welcome back to the Tilsley Park stadium for the runners, particularly when they had family and friends.
The first lady home was Emma Navesey, of Hayward Heath Harriers, in 2 hours 57. Hayward Heath is in Sussex.
Every year Sussex Sports Photography take pictures round the course of all the runners. Last year they published over 31,000 photographs of the event.
Richard Baskerville finished in 2 hours 57 and may have broken the pyjama marathon record. He was running to raise money for the mental health charity Jonathon’s Voice.
Marshalls did a fantastic job both directing and cheering people on.
Lots of Abingdon Groups and individuals were helping as marshalls including the Lions (featured yesterday). The underpass is the steepest incline, and the marshall at the top was playing maracas to encourage people up.
The original Abingdon Marathon is painted on the wall of the underpass. Every year the runners pass their forebears. Sophie, number 910, finished in 3 hours 34.
There were 788 finishers and the last one clocked in at 5 hours 22. An amazing effort to all involved!
At Abingdon Bowling Club teams were competing for The Preston Cup. The cup was given to the club by Alderman Preston in 1920 and first competed for in 1921. It is a challenge cup for visiting teams, and Abingdon teams.
In previous years, elimination rounds were held beforehand, with the winning teams competing on Finals Day. This year, for the first time, shorter preliminary rounds and the finals all happened on the same day to encourage more teams to compete. The day was kicked off by the Mayor of Abingdon, Cllr Charlie Birks.
Multiple matches happened simultaneously, throughout the day, to determine who would go forward to the finals.
A smaller yellow ball, called the jack, is thrown first. The other balls are designed to follow a curving line, and the team with balls nearest the jack win the end.
It was windy day, with occasional showers and so I expect extra concentration was needed.
The Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) reportedly takes a interest in bowls so others may follow. Abingdon Bowling Club has details about how you can have a go. Friday afternoons / evenings sound the best time to try.
Swordplay has been around for thousands of years. The Abingdon Sword (pictured above) dates from Saxon times.
Modern day fencing is still happening in Abingdon thanks to the Abingdon Vale Fencing Club. The sport provides good exercise, both mental and physical. For more details, their website is at www.AbingdonValeFencingClub.uk, and you can see them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/abingdonvalefc .
The club meets at the Gymnasium at Larkmead School, and have a close association with Abingdon School who have two fencers representing the UK at U17 level.
Thankyou to Tony who sent the photos.