2016-17 race 2 report

Foustok and Paajanen take early season honours

by Richard Slater

On a warm September evening, 130 runners completed a challenging two lap course under the solar powered floodlights at Kapsarc compound, the club’s newest venue. The winding course, which includes two short ascents, is not a venue to set personal best times, nevertheless many runners demonstrated promising early season form. The race over 8km and themed “green and white” to celebrate the Saudi national day.

In the female race, Carolyn Paajanen shot off at the start and went unchallenged throughout, beating the reigning club champion Claudine Roghi by just over one minute. This extended her unbeaten start to the season, which she will defend again on October 7th over 10km. In third place was Alanoud Ali, which meant that the female 1-2-3 from the inaugural race was replicated at the second race! Both Paajanen and Roghi placed in the top 15% of overall finishers and look to have the ability to finish even higher once the longer races get underway. Just off the podium, Nikki Layne and Mia McDowell finished in a dead heat to seal joint fourth.

In the male race, the familiar figure of Mo Foustok made his season debut and proved too fast for all-comers. His closest rivals, as on several occasions last season, were Hamad Ozaybi and Gareth Gallagher. Ozaybi matched Foustok stride for stride throughout the first 5km, however he was beset by stomach cramps towards the latter stages and Foustok maintained his high tempo to seal the win in an excellent time of 28:53. Gallagher, who recently represented Ireland in an international Duathlon, showed his outstanding stamina in finishing third, as he had already completed and won a Triathlon club race earlier in the day. Race 1 winner Sam Richards was pushed down to fifth place, with David Dubois performing well on debut to finish fourth.

The club would like to thank Carrefour Tala Mall for their provision of fruit and water for the runners, as well as Kapsarc for the excellent venue and barbecue.

Male race: 1. Mo Foustok (KSA) 28:53, 2. Hamad Ozaybi (KSA) 30:43, 3. Gareth Gallagher (IRE) 30:52

Female race: 1. Carolyn Paajanen (FIN) 37:08, 2. Claudine Roghi (FRA/NZ) 38:18, 3. Alanoud Ali (KSA) 42:22

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2016-17 race 1 report

Richards and Paajanen earn breakthrough wins 

by Richard Slater

The Riyadh Road Runners kicked off their season with a 5km race in hot conditions last Friday afternoon. An excellent turnout of 125 runners showed up despite the temperatures in the mid 40s to enjoy the fun and competitive environment of Riyadh’s largest amateur sports club.

In the men’s race, Sam Richards claimed his first race victory in Riyadh, surging into the lead at the 1km mark and leaving all other participants trailing in his wake. Richards maintained the good form he showed towards the end of the last season, managing to complete the course in an outstanding time of 20:03 despite the mercury showing above 43 degrees.

Behind him, club stalwart Jean-Pierre Berthiaux held off Taleb Alessa to claim second place, showing that his intense summer training has paid dividends. Taleb, from Al Ahsa, paced his race to perfection and made his way through the field on the last lap to clinch the final podium place.

In the ladies’ race, Carolyn Paajanen, newly arrived from Helsinki and racing with the RRR for the first time, proved far too strong for the competition and cruised to victory in an impressive time of 22:09, which also placed in the eighth overall. Behind her was reigning club champion Claudine Roghi, who continued her good form which dates back to 2014. In third place was another first timer, Alanoud Ali, who beat several more experienced athletes and looks to have a lot of potential for the future.

The club would like to thank Carrefour Tala Mall for providing fruit and water for the runners. For full results visit www.riyadhroadrunners.com .

Male race: 1. Sam Richards (UK) 20:03, 2. Jean-Pierre Berthiaux (FRA) 21:27, 3. Taleb Alessa (KSA) 21:31

Female race : 1. Carolyn Paajanen (FIN) 22:09 , 2. Claudine Roghi (FRA/NZ) 24:06 , 3. Alanoud Ali (KSA) 25:23

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