Longworth 10k Report by Nick Sheard

I first visited Longworth in 1988. I was living in York as a student and had never been to Oxfordshire before.

Caroline was my first girlfriend and also a student. She hadn’t told me much about the lovely old property and land her parents had near Harrowdown Hill (famous for the ‘mysterious’ death of Dr. David Kelly) and the fact that her dad was a recently retired ambassador. Caroline and I were romantically attached for two years during which time I visited Longworth many times. Long afternoon walks by the Thames featured heavily, during one such we had an unexpected ‘close huddle’ with a herd of cows and an undignified crawl under a hedge to escape them. Hannah, Caroline’s dog, was the guilty party for the cow’s close interest in us, and Hannah and I used to run together as she was the kind of dog that loved a run and a jump and had boundless energy. 

Fast forward to 2022 and it was good to be back in Longworth again for their annual 10k. This is a small, friendly, predominantly off road 10K which attracts a varied field including some very fast youngsters from Abingdon school, one such W. d’Arcy crossed the line 1st in 33:49 just 27 seconds off the course record. Mark Tyrrell was the first of our 15 runners over the line in 40:49 with Katherine Bates first Eynsham lady in 50:51. Katherine’s race was run with a fetching retro 1980s jogging bottoms/tracksuit look which took me back to my own 1980s Longworth days and which we should perhaps consider as mandatory kit for future ERR club championship races. The other 1980s throwback were the cows in the field after 2km and hats off to the brave marshal keeping the bull away from the runners. I noticed a spike in my own pace at that point, but fortunately no hedge-crawling required this time.

Delicious flapjack and cakes sold in aid of the local primary school and taste bud delighting luxury ice cream from The Oxford Cow (Kingston Bagpuize) were a great way to relax and socialise after the race. Other highlights included Nigel Fisher and Jane Garton cheering us on as we reached the top of the hill towards the finish. Well done to all the ERRs who took part and particularly those who did an extended warm up as part of their marathon training before the race. Longworth it? You better, you better you bet. See you there next year for more ice cream and river running.