New faces represent the Royal Navy at the Inter-Service 10km Championships

Storyline: Athletics

Dorney Lake, Windsor was the setting for selected members of the Royal Navy 10km Team to compete against the fastest runners of the Army and Royal Air Force in the Interservice 10km Championships.

The event was extremely well organized by the Army, who also used the venue for various interservice and Intercorp running and triathlon championships throughout the day. 

The Inter-Service 10km started at 1000, with the route consisting of effectively two laps of the specialist rowing venue. The start was a mass start, with everyone completing the same distance of just over 10km (10.17km). Chip‐timing was used to alleviate any stampede at the start.

The Royal Navy fielded a strong team. However, operational commitments and injury meant that several key team members were not able to attend. The RN were unable to field a full Men’s U23 team, and Katie McManus from HMS SCOTT bravely represented the RN Female’s single‐handedly!

For the Men’s Senior team and Masters team, the first four Royal Navy runners of each category had their times aggregated, and compared against the times from the other two services, with the lowest time winning the team prize.

Overall, it was extremely pleasing to see a lot of new runners, with many representing the RN at a competitive Inter-Service fixture for the first time. These new runners included Paul Harsent, Sam Thomas, Aldeiy Alderson, Katie McManus, Dean Bateman, Alan Fuller and Cian McKeaney.

The run itself was brutal and relentless, on a pan‐flat course with the only variety of gradient being a small‐bridge. In addition, there were few buildings or distractions, and support and cheering were confined to the start area from the handful of friends and family. 

There was a punishing headwind along one axis of the lake, which would be encountered twice by each runner as they completed their two laps. Despite this, it was a fast course, and the Navy Team certainly gave their all.

Early in the race Jordan Baker dropped out due to injury, with Dean Bateman selflessly sacrificing his own finish‐time to assist prior to medics arriving. The rest of the team carried on. 

The first runner across the line was Max Walker from the Army with 31:44. The first RN runner was Mark Duffett crossing the line in fifth place overall with a time of 32:11. Neil Golding followed (34:20) and Phil Boak (35:28). The first RN female was Katie McManus, crossing the line in 52:03 on her first ever 10km race.

It is worth noting that Team Managers were required to nominate their respective teams prior to the race start, with strict limits on the numbers of potentially scoring runners that could be entered. This helped keep the competition fair, as the 10km race also saw the Army host their Intercorp Race, in which well over 100 Army runners took part!

With the results compiled and team scores aggregated, the Royal Navy sadly did not receive a team or individual medal across the various categories. However, things do change very quickly and this is the nature of competitive interservice running. 

It must be remembered that at the 2022 Championships held at Manchester the Royal Navy Men’s Senior Team convincingly took the Gold, with a clean sweep of the Men’s U23 medals and third place overall for Callum O’Neil.

As mentioned, all RN runners did themselves and the service proud, and the new faces in the team were great to see. It is also worth reiterating that the opportunities to run for the Royal Navy are out there. For example, all‐but‐one female place went unclaimed on the 30 Aug 23. If you are interested in running for the Navy, please do get in touch!

Lt Cdr Philip Boak RN