100th Tinker Cup

100th Tinker Cup Race – Saturday 21 December 2019

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Martin Seddon wins reclaims the Tinker Cup
(photo sean doyle)

On Saturday 21 December 2019 Holmfirth Harriers AC staged their most famous race the 100th edition of the Tinker Cup. The first race took place 111 years ago on Boxing Day 1908 and since then the race has been held annually apart from the War years and 1953 when there were there were no competitors. The club has over 600 junior and senior members resulting in a field of 114, the highest number ever with the previous best attendance in the clubs Centenary Year, 2007 when 93 members took part including 10 guest runners.

Before the race a photograph was taken of 31 Past Winners of the Tinker Cup, who between them have won the trophy on 40 occasions dating back to 1952. Ronnie Haigh won the trophy in both 1952 and 1954 and on Saturday, the 100th Tinker Cup race he celebrated his 84th Birthday.

After a lot of rainfall recently, the weather was fine, although conditions were quite muddy over the multi-terrain course. The race started at the recreation ground behind Honley Cricket Club Pavilion and takes a route crossing Long Lane in Honley, Thong Lane, New Road in Netherthong, down to Mark Bottoms, picking-up Hill Lane and Binns Lane in Upperthong, before returning to the finish on the recreation ground. Seventy-eight men and 36 women lined up for the start at 2pm, which included 23 novice athletes who hadn’t taken part in the race previously and are ineligible to win the Tinker Cup. Amongst the competitors were 16 past winners all hoping their handicap time might win the prestigious trophy. Roger Bradley proudly wore number 50, as he has completed fifty consecutive Tinker Cup races, a feat unlikely to be repeated. Chris Law who has recorded the fastest time on three occasions went into an early lead. Mark Buckingham a past winner in 2003 led the chasing group, with Kai Sunman in close attendance. Katie Walshaw led the female contingent in the top ten and Erica Byram, Lucy Byram and Helen Berry were in the top twenty. Law led the race as the athletes reached Dean Brook Road, but as they got to New Road in Netherthong the gap was much closer and Buckingham moved swiftly into the lead on Netherfield Drive. There were some great battles along the way between athletes throughout the field as everyone was trying to improve their time in the hope of winning the Tinker Cup. Some of the novice athletes were surprised by the number of obstacles they had to negotiate, the tough climbs, soft muddy ground, the stream crossing at Marks Bottom, the challenging walls and fences, barbed wire and an element of navigation skills.

The race was won by Mark Buckingham in 43.30, the 12th time he has won the Ian Roberts Memorial Trophy and he finished 12th on handicap. Chris Law finished 2nd in 46.13 (28th on handicap) and Kai Sunman was 3rd back in 47.34 (21st on handicap). The first lady back was Katie Walshaw in 7th place overall 51.39, 40th on handicap who won the Norman Haigh trophy, followed by 2nd lady Erica Byram in 10th 53.12, 14th on handicap and twin sister, Lucy 3rd lady in 11th place overall 53.21 (15th on handicap. The winner of the Tinker Cup was 68 year old Martin Seddon who first won the Tinker Cup 40 years ago in 1979. He finished in 62nd place with an actual time of 67 minutes, but his generous handicap of 29 mins gave him a winning handicap time of 38 mins. Kevin Dessoy finished in 26th place with a time of 59.28 and a handicap time of 40.58 clinching 2nd place on handicap. John Levick who won the Tinker Cup in 2010 finished 34th place in 60.48, 3rd place on handicap with a time of 41.38. Michael Sanderson finished 20th overall in 57.06 to claim the 1st Novice prize and Lucy Hall 32nd overall with a time of 60.36 was 1st Female Novice. The person who finished in 100th position was Roger Bradley who ran an actual time of 1.23.03 and a handicap time 51.03 for 67th place. All 114 starters finished the race and each participant was given a memento to mark the 100th running of the event.

The presentation of awards took place at the race headquarters, Honley Cricket Club. Club President, Rob Kersey made a special presentation to Chris Hobson in recognition of her outstanding endurance and commitment at being the first Harrier to join the 100 Marathon Club, a remarkable achievement. He then made two 50 year service awards to two club stalwarts Steve Beardsell and Roger Bradley, before announcing the results of the 100th Tinker Cup race.

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Back row: (left to right) Bill Hunter (not a past winner), Alex Bywaters (1991 & 1999), Tim Cock (1996 & 2011), Cath Denney (2007), Dick Facey (2001), Ronnie Haigh (1952 & 1954), Roger Bradley (1976), Keith Mannion (1984), Richard Whale (2006), Dave Hutchinson (1971).

Front row: Chris Whitelegg (2005), Pete Dolan (1993 & 2000), Mick Armitage (1972 & 1973), Brian Heywood (1961 & 1969), Dave Overend (1992), Norman Berry (1990), Bill Swallow (1986 & 1995), Helen Berry (2002), Dave Cowgill (1959), Russell Bangham (1978), Rob Hodgson (1981), Zoe Storr (2017), Jonny McLean (2015), Craig Noble (2016), Phil Hobbs (2014), Nick Helm (2018), John Levick (2010), Paul Powell (1988), John Ewart (1997), Mark Buckingham (2003), Martin Seddon (1979), Bob Asquith (1960, 1965 & 1966).

(photo sean doyle)

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