French 50K Race Walking Championships
Posted: 19th Mar 2016 by Andrea Bennett
A walk beside the Loire River in Western France on a sunny Sunday morning in March may sound like a pleasant stroll for many. But, for Jonathan Hobbs of Ashford Athletic Club last weekend, the walk was the French 50 kilometres Race Walking Championships and he was in determined mood. When Jonathan looked across the start line he saw none other than world record holder and three times European Champion Yohann Diniz of France. “When facing a formidable task like a 50km race, it’s important to stay calm and focussed, but it’s difficult not to be a bit in awe of one of the best athletes in the world. Fortunately, Yohann is a friendly and very entertaining character.”
While the local favourite shot off to post a super fast Olympic qualifying time Hobbs, still only 22 years old, stuck to his own pre-race plan. Reaching the marathon distance in just over 4 hours Jonathan knew he still had nearly five more miles to go but barely slowed in the latter stages when other competitors were struggling, crossing the line in fifth place to great local support and improving his best ever time by over 20 minutes.
“It was a tough race, of course, but I enjoyed nearly every lap. The encouragement and support I’ve had since then, not forgetting the assistance of my coach/father (Chris Hobbs), is inspiring me to keep improving.”
Southern Race Walking Championships 2016
Posted: 18th Jan 2016 by Andrea Bennett
Ashford AC athletes walked off with a bag of silver at the Southern Race Walking Championships.
On a cold afternoon in Sutcliffe Park in South, London a trio of Ashford men won the team silver medals for the 10 kilometre walk to go with last year’s gold. The team was lead by Jonathan Hobbs who gained a season’s best to win the silver medal in the individual race. He was backed up by club coach Chris Hobbs who defied his years to narrowly gain 4th place and 66 year old Steve Holliday who managed a credible 15th place. Meanwhile Ashford AC’s long serving member, Lesley Hall, did well to finish 5th in the Ladies 10 kilometre race.
Not to be outdone Marshall Smith raced tactically perfect to come second in the Under 17’s 5 kilometre race collecting a silver medal and a personal best for a road race. A little further back in the Girls Under 17’s race a Jacqueline Benson also gained a personal best time on the road while coming 5th.