Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The spirit of Jenny Denton in the 30th Hogsmill 5

Next Sunday will be a special day for Epsom Allsorts Ladies Running Club. The club will celebrate the 30 anniversary of the Hogsmill 5, a friendly running race over 5 miles through the Hogsmill local nature reserve. But, if we want to be able to understand this popular event, sponsored by Simply Sports, firstly is necessary to know the figure of Jenny Denton. The club discovers us in this post her influence and her incredible story:

Jenny Denton started the Epsom Allsorts in April 1987. She had moved to Surrey from Nottinghamshire where she had been running regularly for several years and finding it difficult to motivate herself to run on her own she decided to set up a local running group for women.


Start of an Hogsmill 5.

Jenny advertised a meeting in Bourne Hall for women who might be interested in running and in attending regular training sessions. The fliers and posters encouraged women of ‘all ages, shapes, sizes and absolute beginners’ to attend the meeting. The aim was to train women to enable them to enter the Nike Women's Own 10k Run in Hyde Park in the autumn.  

43 women turned up at the first meeting. Five months later they hired a double decker bus and a single decker bus for the runners and their supporters for the trip to Hyde Park. The local Mayor and Mayoress joined the runners in their Rolls-Royce to offer their support and join the picnic in the park after the race. Of the 1305 competitors running that day 59 were Allsorts. They raised over £2300 for local charities. 

The emphasis was always on mutual support and not individual competition. In the training sessions, the faster runners were encouraged to regularly loop around to the back of the field to motivate the slower runners.


Ladies warming up before the race.

The women continued to run together and compete in other races and in 1988 the club organised its own anniversary race. All the runners, organisers and marshals were women. Since then the Epsom Allsorts anniversary race has been organised each year and has seen its members compete in races up to marathon distance including Paris, Bruges, New York and many at London each year.

In 1988 the club held its first anniversary race to commemorate the formation of the Epsom Allsorts Ladies Running Club the year before. Two distances were on offer 5k and 10k. Jo Burford and a band of helpers organised the race for many years. A number of locations were used during these years including: Epsom Baths (before it was the Rainbow Centre), Glyn School, Longmead School.

In later years the race became the Hogsmill 5, a five mile race that continues today and the venue became the Harrier Centre – which was just a cinder track when the club was first formed.

Simply Sports is proud of supporting the race Hogsmill 5 with special prizes:

- 🏆 1st Prize winner will receive free gait analysis and a pair of running shoes of her choice! Plus two pairs of Hilly socks.
- The 2nd placed runner will receive a free gait analysis, a £50 gift voucher and 2 pairs of Hilly socks.
- The 3rd placed lady will also receive free gait analysis, a £25 gift voucher and 2 pairs of Hilly socks.