Tough running in the heat’ was Lucy O’Connor’s verdict on a week of testing but successful local racing for North Herts Road Runners at the Hatfield 5k and inaugural Stevenage 10k.
The flat course and midweek evening format of the Hatfield event make it a popular race for runners across Hertfordshire and a strong turnout from 23 Squirrels saw the Letchworth-based club put in a series of impressive performances.
The event also served as the Hertfordshire Veterans championships and NHRR Chairperson Astrid McKeown led the way by taking the silver medal in the female 45-plus category in a time of 19.24. Matt Sayers replicated the feat with 16.47 for second place in the male 40-plus group.
Fellow Squirrel Andrew Porter was delighted to record a new best time of 26.53 over the 5k distance and Hayley Cocks said she was ‘absolutely over the moon’ with her first-ever sub-30 minutes 5k clocking. Cocks crossed the line in 29.49 and was delighted when a fellow athlete from Stevenage-based Fairlands Valley Spartans admitted she had been using her as a pacer; ‘Me, a pacer – wow!’ was the post-race comment from Cocks.
Also running at Hatfield were:
John Auld, 18:35; Peter Sibbett, 18:35; Adrian Sherwood, 18:44; Ian Datlen, 19:09 (PB); Charlie Grayson, 19:16; Stuart Cocks, 20:26 (PB); Richard Harbon, 20:38; Neil Jefferson, 21:09; Rhia Botha, 21:28; Caroline Thrussell, 21:34; Chris Poole, 22:08 58; Dervla Downing ,22:35; Kat Gourd, 22:57 (PB); Lucy O’Connor, 23:23; Richard Weber, 23:31 (PB); Harry Agius, 23:48 (PB); Geoff Murray-Rochard, 23:50 (PB); Lewina Agius, 25:10 (PB); Ian Sutcliffe, 27:26; Hannah Keeble, 27:28; Carina Quayle, 28:31
Conditions had warmed up further by the time of Sunday’s first-ever Stevenage 10k, but Lucy O’Connor found the heat to her liking as she won the 55-plus age group with a time of 52.04 and Dervla Downing took silver in the 35-plus category with 48.14.
Fellow Squirrel Kat Gourd admitted she had ‘never been so glad to run downhill into one of Stevenage's oh-so-glamorous -but gloriously-shady underpasses’, although each descent was matched with ‘trepidation about the inevitable uphill slog (often in full sun) that would follow!’. Gourd battled her way to a new best time of 48.57 and was delighted to finish first in the senior female category.
Also running at Stevenage were:
Chris Poole, 46:59; Stuart Cocks, 47:13; Steve Brenton, 48:30; Andrew Coates, 48:38; Christian Allen, 50:35; Dave Braybrook, 53:38; Allison Blunt, 59:22; Jennifer Naisbitt, 1:05:02; Anna Greetham, 1:07:06; Hayley Cocks, 1:10:54.
Long-distance specialists Sue Foot and Jo Summers completed another new event – the Five Rivers Challenge Marathon, covering five loops all starting and finishing in Ware. Sue described the whole route as ‘very picturesque and perfect trail running’. She finished in ‘around 5 hours 25’, with Jo ‘well in front of me!’.
As ever, NHRR were strongly represented at Parkruns near and far:
Andrew Coates, 22.20; Kat Gourd, 23.29; Dave Braybrook, 24.19; Sarah Millhouse, 24.57; Jane Clarke, 28.33; Pat Norris, 32.40; Sarah Mitcherson, 36.55.
Paul Jackson, 18.33.
Lucy Hurley, 26.39
Chris Poole, 23.25
James Keogh, 20.58; Clare Hooley, 37.34
James Dalton, 20.59; Andrew Underhill, 22.15; Rhia Botha, 22.29; Damon Cleveley, 22.59; Sherryl Chatfield, 27.12; Carl Goodrum, 27.12; Adam Wilson, 27.56; Alan Hazlehurst, 27.58; Philip Flack, 28.08; Ellie Scott, 28.30; Rebecca Nicholl, 33.53; Carol Goodrum, 34.28
Brian Judkins, 36.32
Nant y Pandy
Glyn Blakey, 31.27
North Herts Road Runner, Rhia Botha, finished as first lady at the Baldock Rat Run in a time of 21:26. Not far behind was Paula Holm, who finished third in 21:58. In total, fourteen Squirrels took part in the second running of Sunday’s 5km race through the streets of Baldock. Speaking after the event, Richard Harbon (21:03) said it was: “A beautiful day and a great course. There were some outstanding results, and all proceeds went to Garden House Hospice Care.” Lucy O’Connor agreed, describing the conditions as “perfect running weather,” and ran 24:21. Helen Marson-Smith was pleased with her time of 29:51, her second fastest 5k time. See below for all NHRR Baldock Rat Run results.
Naomi Parkinson ran the Thames Path Challenge 100k, fundraising for Mind. “A 100k is not for the faint hearted,” said Naomi, “and having 9 months of training under my belt I’m really pleased to say I finished in 14 hours 57 minutes, 25th lady and 123rd overall. The support from well stocked rest stops, family and friends made all the difference - and a special thanks to all the Squirrels that have trained with me!”
On Saturday, John Auld was in his native Yorkshire to take part in the third of the four-race Silkstone Shuffle series. “It was a lovely morning actually. Lovely sunshine and a dry course,” said John. “Going into this race I was seventh in the series by a single second, so I planned to be at sixth after this race.” John was delighted to finish the race in seventh position, which means he is currently in fourth position overall. “Fourth is currently the first senior man outside the top 3, so in December I have a seven-second lead over fifth to defend - should be a good race - just how I like it!”
John wasn’t the only Squirrel to head north at the weekend. Pete Sibbett travelled to Salford Quays to run the UKFast Salford 10km. “This was an England Masters qualifying race,” said Pete. “I was racing to see where I need to get to in order to qualify in my age category; the answer was over 2 minutes faster!” However, Pete ran a season’s best 38.30, and achieved the 39min qualifying time. He was 4th in his age group. “Lots of work needed without getting injured in the process” was Pete’s final assessment, adding: “It was good to see another distinctive NHRR vest as Chris Poole was also racing.” Chris finished the race in 46:04.
Pat Norris did the Iceni Festival half on Sunday. He described it as a tough run round the town then out and around an RAF base, which was an undulating track comprising Brekon's sandy and loamy soil. “This was fortunately booked for me by my son as a birthday present as,” said Pat. “If I had seen it myself, I would have gone for the full marathon option (there was also a 10k at the same time) and I may not have finished it! Fortunately because this turned into quite a tough run. Only the first 8 finishers managed to go under 2 hours with the winner coming in at 1:38. Considering the weather was almost perfect and there were virtually no hills then I can only put this down to the conditions underfoot. Even so, my slowest half time ever at 3:28.”
In what he has decided will be his last race, Oliver Saville ran the Great North Run in 1:16:55. “I’m just going to run for enjoyment now,” said a relieved Oliver. Also running was Jim Marvell, who finished in finished in 2:20:21 - a post injury PB by just under 11 minutes.
Vanessa Rolfe took on the Draycote Water 20-mile race on Sunday. “Never done this one before,” she said after the event. “Although it was four times round the reservoir it wasn’t as boring as it sounds, and I was very happy to finish in 3:46:55.” Vanessa’s time was especially impressive as only the week before she had run the Bedford Half Marathon in 2:22:34.
In the NHRR-organised First Saturday of the Month 5k at Norton Common there were 64 runners. First home for the Squirrels were Matt Sayers, who ran 18:25 to finish in first position overall, and Caroline Thrussell, who was the first woman, and ran a time of 22:12. A Special ‘WELL DONE’ goes to to Fiona Oldham who completed her first 5k after doing the Couch-to-5k course.
Only the day before he took part in the Baldock Rat Run, Richard Harbon had run another 5k, this time at the Wetherby parkrun. The family were in the area for a wedding, and Katie Harbon finished as first lady in 19:45. See below for all NHRR parkrun results.
In race-walking news, David Annetts completed the last of the Tuesday night summer races at Woodford Green Open. In the 3000m Race Walk he finished 3rd in 13:47.
Baldock Rat Run results
Ian Datlen 5th 20:13
Richard Harbon 21:03
Rhia Botha First Lady 21:26
Paula Holm third lady 21:58
Andrew Coates 22:27
Steve Brenton 22:51
Lucy O’Connor 24:21
Andrew Cooper 25:27
Alan Hazelhurst 26:50
Sherryl Chatfield 27:20
Helen Marston Smith 29:56
Brian Justin’s 32:49
Helen Govey 34:36
25 Steve BRENTON 23:32
112 Sarah MILLHOUSE 25:19
313 Sarah MITCHERSON 33:53
349 Jane CLARKE 36:25
Roding Valley parkrun
9 Darren MATUSSA 19:24
494 Glyn BLAKEY 52:57
6 Katie HARBON (First Lady) 19:45
14 Richard HARBON 20:57
? James BERRY 24:11
40 Matt ANKERS 24:45
Exeter Riverside parkrun
149 Dave BRAYBROOK 24:22
23 Chris STOKES 20:33
48 Chris POOLE 24:48
The North Herts Road Runners have been selected as the East region’s Club of the Year in the England Athletics’ 2019 Volunteer Awards. The Letchworth-based club was chosen in recognition of its results and for the opportunities given to everyone involved in the club. The award was received by Club Chair Astrid McKeown, Club President Richard Harbon and Head Coach Karen Dodsworth at Bedford International on Sunday 1st September.
“This award is for all of our members,” said Astrid McKeown. “It was not just based on strong and improved performances in leagues and championships, but also how over the last 12 months we have demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the sport and the opportunities we have provided.”
The criteria for the award included adopting a pro-active approach to the recruitment and retention of volunteers, as well as providing a friendly and supportive environment in which they can develop. North Herts Road Runners organise many running events in the local community, including the First Saturday of the Month, a monthly free 5k race, the ‘Greenway challenge’, a self-guided half marathon that for many is their debut HM, and the always over-subscribed Standalone 10k. These events are staffed entirely by volunteers from the club.
North Herts Road Runners also play an important role in promoting fitness in the local community. The club’s couch to 5k scheme introduced 40 people to running, many of whom joined NHRR as a result, and now regularly take part in races and other local running events.
The award’s criteria also included strong or improved club performances in leagues, championships and other club competitions through the development of club athletes. This year has been exceptional for the Squirrels in terms of performances and team success. In 2019, the North Herts Road Runners have won both the Three Counties (Herts, Beds, Bucks) Cross Country League and the Herts Midweek League, results which demonstrate the quality of coaching provided by the club.
And the Squirrels are continuing to produce strong performances. The Club of the Year award was presented at the end of a week in which North Herts Road Runners won the men’s Hertfordshire County 5km championships at Hatfield, and had members, Adam Bowller and Mark Vaughan, competing for the England Masters team at the Maidenhead half marathon.
The first of the Hatfield 5km series was on Wednesday. The first event being the Hertfordshire County championships.
28 squirrels turned out in force earning a few trophies and PBs. The mens team of Tom Webb, Andrew Leach, Mark Vaughan and Stewart Overton won the county championship gold. Tom Webb finished 2nd in the race and won silver in the county championships in a course best time for him of 15:49. David Weston was delighted to get a new PB of 18:35. Mark Vaughan finished 11th in 16:38. Kat Gourd finished in 23:40. Harry and Lewina Agius both managed PBs with 23:56 and 25:55 respectively. Andrew Coates also got a PB finishing in 21:55.
Having qualified for England vests to run for England Masters at the half marathon distance, Mark Vaughan and Adam Bowller ran the Maidenhead half marathon as part of the England Masters team against the Celtic masters team. Mark finished 15th overall and 4th V40 in a time of 72:48. Adam finished 21st with 73:50 and Jane Clarke also ran and finished 848th in 1:51:23.
David Annetts race walked in two events this week. On a very warm Tuesday evening in Battersea Park, he finished the last Vets AC summer series in first place. He achieved a new 5 mile PB of 38:11 at the Vets AC 5 Mile Race Walk. On Saturday he then finished 2nd in 24:07 at the L.I.C.C. and Enfield League 5000m Race Walk at Allianz Park Barnet.
Sue foot and Jo Summers both ran the Dunstable Downs Challenge. Sue finished in 5:07 and Jo in 4:19. Not having done the event in a few years, Jo thoroughly enjoyed it – describing it as a lovely route with spectacular views and perfect running weather.
Tom Webb achieved a PB at the Ladywell 10,000m B race on his 35th birthday. This was Toms first 10,000m on the track and finished 4th in 32:25.
Several Squirrels ran at the Bedford running festival which included a 5km, Twilihght 10km and Half marathon. Several squirrels completed multiple events. Completing the 5km was Helen Govey (28:06) and Andrew Cooper (26:09). Dave Braybrook and Andrew Coates both ran the 10k in 51:14 and 48:38 respectively. Andrew's time being a new PB. Dave Weston finished the half in 92:34, knocking 4 mins off his previous PB. Kat Gourd also ran the half and despite a spectacular tumble at around 10 miles, she was very pleased to finish in 1:51:30. Also completing the half were Lewina Agius with a new PB of 1:59:39. Helen Cromack 2:33:01 and Anna Greetham 2:32:59 also having great runs. Ali Mottram completed both the 5km and 10km in 34:30 and 2:32:59 (PB) respectively. Elwyn Howell completed both the 10km (53:32) and the half (2:10:20) – achieving a PB in each. Training for a Autumn marathon, Jennie Fraser took part in all three events obtaining much bling and a total of 22.4 miles. Jennie finished the 5km in 24:56, 10km in 51:09 and half in 2:10:56.
A scurry of squirrels took part in the The Freedom Tri Duck n Dash aquathon in home territory of Norton Common. John Auld was first squirrel home in 11th (29:53). Closely followed by James Keogh 15th (30:47), Richard Harbon 29th (34:55), Lucy O'Connor 57th (39:22) and Matt Ankers 62nd (40:08). James Keogh was happy to have completed the race faster than his first event 10 years ago and attributed this to consistent training. In the relay Katie Harbon finished the run in 20:15 with a combined time of 30:12.
Susan Mansfield & Mike Bullock took on the St Albans Stampede as solo runners. The event is a lapped 12 hour Ultra where the objective is to complete as many laps of the 4 mile off road hilly course. The duo also took on the 12 hour all you can eat buffet as the organisers laid on free bacon butties. Between the two of them they completed 170km.
David Annetts made the club proud today at the Muller British Championships 5000m Race Walk at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
David’s race walking has been going from strength to strength and continues to impress with his excellent times and representation of North Herts up and down the country. Taking part in the National Championships was a real honour and a day to remember. David stated:
‘Very happy to come through this race on a very hot day. It was a great experience to take part in a National Championships where the level of technical judging provides one of the toughest challenges for race walkers. I'm guessing I was the oldest person competing on the day, certainly by 30 years in my own race. Injury earlier in the summer affected preparation but after being DQ'd at the Indoor Championships in February, today was really just about staying in the race. I had a 30 second penalty close to the end but the pit lane rule enabled me to continue and complete it. The race was won by Callum Wilkinson in a new British Record.’
David came 6th in this challenging race in an excellent time of 25:06.32
Elsewhere Parkrun tourism continued unabated! Philip Flack was meant to be enjoying a relaxing bank holiday weekend in Longleat Center Parcs but couldn’t resist a new Parkrun (only starting last week) in Frome Somerset. Philip came 95th out of 236 in a time of 27:25 and finished 5th in the 65-69 age category earning himself an excellent age grading of 62.32%.
45th Darren MATUSSA North Herts RRC 00:24:32
6th David WESTON North Herts RRC 00:19:28
21st Andrew UNDERHILL North Herts RRC 00:21:24
93rd Katherine GOURD North Herts RRC 00:24:42
9th Steve MCKEOWN North Herts RRC 00:20:07
25th Astrid MCKEOWN North Herts RRC 00:22:22
446th Jillian BOYS North Herts RRC 00:54:28
331st Chris POOLE North Herts RRC 00:34:58
62nd Paula HOLM North Herts RRC 00:24:52
93rd Naomi PARKINSON North Herts RRC 00:28:21
10th James DALTON North Herts RRC 00:21:30
12th Ian DATLEN North Herts RRC 00:21:51
31st Steve BRENTON North Herts RRC 00:24:32
34th Eva MCCABE North Herts RRC 00:24:38
58th Daniel MALLETT North Herts RRC 00:27:01
60th Rhiannon BOTHA North Herts RRC 00:27:07
72nd Carl GOODRUM North Herts RRC 00:29:06
80th Jennie FRASER North Herts RRC 00:29:33
113rd Brian BAILEY North Herts RRC 00:32:34
129th Rebecca NICHOLL North Herts RRC 00:35:23
134rd Carol GOODRUM North Herts RRC 00:36:17
161st Glyn BLAKEY North Herts RRC 00:51:22
26th Andrew COATES North Herts RRC 00:22:29
55th Dave BRAYBROOK North Herts RRC 00:24:59
137th Brian JUDKINS North Herts RRC 00:33:35
North Herts Road Runners had success at the Thorney 5-mile race on Sunday with many winning individual category prizes and breaking club records.
The Thorney 5-mile race was the clubs chosen ‘run of the month’ with a strong contingent of squirrels making the trip north for the event. Run over a fast flat out and back course and despite the strong head wind for half the race there were plenty of quick times and superb results.
The club had three finishers in the top four with Tom Webb racing to 2nd place in 26.30, followed by Andrew Leach in 3rd (1st V55) in 27.05 and Mark Vaughan 4th (1st V45) in 27.13 breaking his own club record and Andrew setting a new club record with his time. The three men unsurprisingly also won the men’s team trophy.
For the women Astrid McKeown finished in 4th and 1st FV45 setting another club recorded with her time of 32.45. Linda Aird was delighted to win her age group to be 1st FV60 in a time of 41.23.
There were also plenty of squirrels taking on a longer challenge at the Kimbolton Half Marathon. Those taking part described the event as lovely and really well organised. Adam Wilson was very happy to achieve a new personal best by four minutes with a time 1.52.53 and 9 minutes quicker than the last time he ran the event.
Endurance athletes Jo Summers and Sue Foot were in Wheathampstead for Leila's Run a four-lap undulating marathon course with constantly changing scenery to enjoy. Jo finished with a course PB of 4.07 and Sue finished in 4.50.
Steve McKeown was up early for the Triathlon National Championships at Box End, Bedford. He was happy to pick up an age group silver medal at the Sprint, finishing the 750m Swim, 20km cycle and 5k Run In 1:06:43. Paula Holm was also competing well after a period of injury finishing 18th in her age group in a time of 1:25:46. Natalie Lawrence had a brilliant race winning her age group in 1:09:25 and 4th overall.
David Annetts was 2nd at the Woodford Open 3000m Race Walk in a time of 13.49 on Tuesday evening.
Full Results for Thorney:
pos name time cat pos
2 Thomas Webb 00:26:30 1
3 Andrew Leach 00:27:05 1
4 Mark Vaughan 00:27:13 2
20 Peter Sibbett 00:30:19 3
25 John Auld 00:30:37 12
30 David Weston 00:31:41 13
45 Astrid McKeown 00:32:48 1
125 Andrew Coates 00:38:36 18
143 Richard Weber 00:40:03 15
149 F Lucy O'Connor 00:40:20 5
166 Linda Aird 00:41:30 1
182 Karen Dodsworth 00:42:14 8
206 Sue Vaughan 00:43:47 8
254 Jane Tyler 00:49:39 12
284 Joanne Sopala 00:54:38 18
298 Lindsey Lucas 00:58:28 17
Full Results for Kimbolton Half Marathon
Rachel Arnott - 1:42:48
Adam Wilson - 1:52:53
Jennie Fraser - 1:53:58
Alice Noakes - 1:55:58
Lucy Hurley - 2:03:05
Naomi Parkinson - 2:03:06
Alan Hazlehurst - 2:06:22
Allison Blunt - 2:09:21
Vanessa Rolfe - 2:19:52
Jim Marvell - 2:31:11
Alison Mottram - 2:31:55
Letchworth: 1 Matthew SAYERS 19:02, 7 James DALTON 22:43, 13 Steve BRENTON 24:40, 1 Katherine GOURD 25:25, 80 Helen MARSON-SMITH 32:46, 98 Naomi PARKINSON 34:11, 135 Anna GREETHAM 40:25, 154 Glyn BLAKEY 54:29. Stevenage: 2 Rhiannon BOTHA 22:04, 3 Dervla DOWNING 23:09, 46 Damon CLEVELEY 23:13, 142 Philip FLACK 26:51. Wimpole: 14 Jillian BOYS 25:43. Ormskirk: 116 Joseph SHERRY 28:50. Great Denham: 25 Andrew COATES 22:52, 75 Dave BRAYBROOK 25:46. Heartlands: 19 Andrew ROBSON 22:48. Tawd Valley: 25 Chris POOLE 26:14. Roding Valley: 8 Darren MATUSSA 20:00. Bath Skyline: 35 Ian DATLEN 23:33. Gunnersbury: 413 Georgina QUAYLE 29:39.
Making the most of the long summer days with some evening racing, Stewart Overton headed to Battersea Park after work on Tuesday to run the VAC 5-mile road race. Held over a flat and fast course Stewart set himself a target time of 27.30. Missing his target time by just 5 seconds Stewart finished in 27.35 taking first place. Stewart was happy with the result saying, ‘so close to my target time and nice to take the win.’
Also racing in the evening John Rayner travelled up to Sceddington in Lincolnshire on Friday night to race the Sleaford Striders Summer 10k. Expecting some family support John said, ‘It’s my dad’s club, I picked the race so he could watch but he was in Hertfordshire watching the Proclaimers instead.’ The blustery evening made conditions tougher than expected producing slower times for all the runners. John finished outside his target time but was happy with his effort considering the conditions securing 4th place overall and first V35 in a time of 36.18.
David Annetts had a busy weekend race walking at the British Masters Championships held at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium. The event was more about championship racing than times. David competed in two races in two days starting with the British Masters Championship 3000m Race Walk on Saturday where he finished 1st in 15:09.68. Sunday saw him competing in the 5000m Race Walk and again David showed his form by winning the event in 24:46.71.
Stevenage: Rhiannon BOTHA 22:47, Dervla DOWNING 23:04, Damon CLEVELEY 23:31, Elwyn HOWELL 24:47
Letchworth: Ed PRICE 18:30, Glyn BLAKEY, 23:55, Jegan SIMON 25:56, Linda AIRD 28:18, Ian DATLEN
28:18, Carl GOODRUM 29:05, Philip FLACK 30:36, Steve BRENTON 32:03, Brian JUDKINS 37:16, Lucy HURLEY 49:14
Ellenbrook Fields: Chris POOLE 24:43
Eden Project: Eva MCCABE 22:31
Conkers: Naomi PARKINSON 25:40
Penrose: Chris STOKES 20:47
Cirencester: Jillian BOYS 24:17
Rheinaue: David WESTON 20:06
A small bunch of squirrels made their way up the A1 to St Neots for the Riverside Runners' 32nd annual 10k race.
Run over a flat mix terrain course with some wobbly bridges and pretty scenery to distract the runners. Adam Wilson described it as ‘a very enjoyable run’ despite temperatures soaring to 27 degrees during the race. Admin was delighted to break 50 minutes for the first time with a new PB of 49.54. Helen Wilson was also pleased to finish her first 10k in about three years in 1.07.06. Other squirrels completing the race were Glyn Blakey in 47.48, Andrew Coates 50.57, Kat Gourd 50.57, Ian Sutcliffe 59.57, and Ally Blunt 1.00.58.
Adam Bowller unexpectedly found himself taking part in the Clun Carnival Canta on Friday evening in Shropshire. The course was 5.5 miles of what could be considered as a fell race due to the steep off road climbs and descents. Adam said the descents were, ‘so steep that I had to walk in places and I was leading over the peaks. I clearly have to work on my descending however as I ended up 2nd by just 5 seconds’. Adam completed the incredibly tough course in a time of 39.45.
Taking a break from road racing Darren Matussa and Stewart Overton took part in the SOAR mile on Friday evening at the Olympic Stadium warm up track in Stratford. Darren was first up and ran a new PB of 5:09. Stewart’s race also hosted the Women’s Elite mile and in a competitive field he finished in a time of 4:51. Stewart said ‘It was Great fun to run on the track graced by so many Olympians and international stars since 2012’
Pete Sibbett broke the clubs V55 parkrun record at Great Dunham on Saturday in 18.54 and Karen Dodsworth was delighted with her time of 23.53.
Other Parkrun results:
Bury St Edmunds Patrick NORRIS, 35:26, Stevenage Dervla DOWNING 23:24, Wimpole Estate Jillian BOYS 23:47, Joseph SHERRY 29:19, Stretford Ian DATLEN 20:18, Letchworth Damon CLEVELEY 23:46, Lucy HURLEY 27:24, Naomi PARKINSON 27:25, Glyn BLAKEY 36:51, Great Denham Peter SIBBETT 18:54 and Karen DODSWORTH 25:53.
Superb performances at the prestigious MK 5000 PB Special saw members of North Herts Road Runners seize places at the top of the national rankings.
The Letchworth-based club sent five runners to compete in the series of 5000 metre races on the Stantonbury Athletics Track in Milton Keynes. With the men’s and women’s A races also serving as the English 5000 championships, the Squirrels found themselves rubbing shoulders with plenty of high-profile GB runners. NHRR member Stewart Overton said ‘The chance to watch the current and future stars of GB athletics from lane 4 and the chance to interact (and get the odd photo) with them puts this event on a par with any track meet’.
Andrew Leach was the standout performer for North Herts as a superb 16.04 clocking put him first in the national rankings for the 55+ age group by over a minute, while Mark Vaughan’s 16.28 put him 18th in the country in the 45+ category.
Nathan Pask had a ‘bittersweet’ result, securing a 12-second personal best with 16.00, but missing a sub-16 clocking by just 0.68s of a second – ‘literally a dip for the line’ according to team-mate Overton, who finished in 16.33.
Tom Webb closed out what Overton summarised as ‘a great evening of racing for NHRR’ with 15.43 for the club’s fastest time of the night.
Damp conditions did not stop Elwyn Howell from enjoying the ‘nice scenery’ and securing 7th place in his age category as he finished the Lee Valley 10k in 55.40. Kat Gourd completed the 10-mile version of the same event in 1 hour 23 mins, and was 11th female. She said it was ‘an absolute treat to run in cooler temperatures under cloudy skies and rain after all the hot weather lately! ‘
Andrew Robson achieved new personal bests in all three triathlon disciplines as he finished third in his age group at the Galeforce Events Bedford Tri Crazy sprint triathlon. Despite the rain, ‘which could have made the ride tricky’, he was pleased to finish in 1.27.53. Andrew commented ‘It is a very friendly local triathlon and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to dip a toe in the triathlon water, so to speak. The next race is on 29th September.’
As ever there was a strong NHRR turnout at Parkruns far and near:
Luton Wardown: Chris Stokes 20:30; Newcastle, Joe Sherry 28.20; Medina (Ise of Wight), Damon Clevely 23.38; Stevenage, Jennie Fraser 26.21, Paul Bowal 27.13, Helen Giffin 31.17, Pat Norris
33.42; Wimpole Estate, Jillian Boys 24.51; Whinlatter Forest, Glyn Blakey 26.48; Holkham, Ian Datlen 20.58,; Letchworth, James Fox 17.30, Peter Clarke 19.25, James Dalton 21.29, Jegan Simon 25.20, Ellie Scott 27.29, Carl Goodrum 28.30, Philip Flack 28.45, Lucy Hurley 31.27, Naomi Parkinson 31.28, Carol Goodrum 35.59; Fletcher Moss, Chris Poole 25.40.
North Herts Road Runners were celebrating on Friday night with success at the Bedfordshire AAA 10k. In unseasonably damp conditions, nine Squirrels made their way to Bedford. It looked like the evening was going to turn sour as the rain started pouring down at the start of the race. Nevertheless, the Squirrels’ spirits were still high from a successful Midweek League race series, and the conditions didn’t put a stop to some decent performances all round. In fact, the men's team scooped up the team award, narrowly beating Bedford & County on their own patch.
Mark Vaughan, who had spent the day celebrating his 49th birthday, was first home for NHRR, and ran a season’s best time of 33:44 to finish in an impressive 3rd place overall (fastest V45). Sue Vaughan also ran, and the husband and wife team were first man and first lady home for the Letchworth-based club, with Sue finishing in a time of 54:21 – what a way to celebrate a birthday!
Andrew Leach was second home for NHRR in 5th (fastest V55). Matthew Sayers (9th) and Stewart Overton (10th) were both happy to get in under 35 minutes. John Rayner and Wayne Bell were not far behind and men's team captain Peter Sibbett was in good form. Also representing the ladies was head coach Karen Dodsworth. (See below for all Beds AAA results.)
Three Squirrels travelled north to run the 40th Northumberland Coastal Run. Linda Aird, Lucy O’Connor and Andrew Porter described the event as “fabulous, with stunningly beautiful coastal scenery”. It starts in Beadnell, and heads south to eventually finish on the beach at Alnmouth. “We started on the beach and almost immediately our shoes were soaked as we had to run through the retreating tide.” said Linda. “When we eventually left the first beach section we found we had to clamber over slippery rocks and seaweed to get up onto the coast path. We were rewarded by spectacular views of the very impressive - and very ruined - Dunstanburgh castle, before hitting the half-way point in the lovely little harbour at Craster. Another climb up, and some more beach sections with added seawater for our shoes, then a few miles on roads and tracks before eventually descending to the beach again at Alnmouth for a 1.5 mile run across more sand, rocks and seawater to cross the finish line at Alnmouth.” The weather was in the trio’s favour (unlike last year's event, apparently) with sunny intervals and a pleasant breeze - which turned into a bit of a headwind on the final push across the beach in Alnmouth, making for a tough finish to a challenging event. Linda was very happy with to knock four minutes off her previous time there ten years ago, and finished in 2:15:41. Lucy O’Connor’s time was 2:17:00, and Andrew Porter was was awarded the prize for 2nd V70, and finished in 2:19:22.
Closer to home, Jo Summers, Sue Foot, Alan Hazlehurst and Lucy Hurley were among a number of Squirrels to take part in the FVS Challenge at the weekend. “Perfect running conditions - warm and sunny” was Jo Summer’s verdict after she completed the marathon in 4.35 (first lady). Also running the marathon was Sue Foot, who was going along nicely when she tripped in mile 10 and somehow scraped her nose. “One very helpful runner patched me up with a plaster,” said Sue. “It caused me to walk for a while but with no other damage apart from a bloody nose and swelling i was soon back running if a bit slowly and finished in 5.56.”
Alan and Lucy took part in the half marathon, and finished in 2:25. Alan described it as “a lovely self guided run around the countryside near Stevenage. Lucy's navigation was impeccable,” he added, “as was her encouragement for me in the last few miles as I slowed badly after. A really enjoyable friendly event with great company!”
Stuart Cocks ran the London Asics 10k in 43.41, beating last year's time by five minutes. He was joined by Hayley Cocks, who finished in 1.08.50, which although not a PB was still 21 minutes quicker than the previous year. Hayley had decided to run it with her sister Shani Briers (“my partner in crime” says Hayley) and just enjoy it. The plan was to run steady and both were very consistent which meant they were able to produce a sprint finish at the end.
Helen Harbon (50:58) and Matt Ankers (52:17) ran the Run Norwich a 10k race in the centre of Norwich. “It was a lovely run through some of the great sites of Norwich,’ said Matt after the race. “It was incredibly hot but lovely.”
Vanessa Rolfe ran the inaugural Ilkley Half Marathon on Sunday 14th July, after gaining permission to run from her husband (it was their wedding anniversary!). She described the event as “a definite recommendation for a running weekend away” and finished in 2:24:58.
Beds AAA Results
Mark Vaughan 3rd 33:44 (V45 winner)
Andrew Leach 5th 34:02 (V55 winner)
Matthew Sayers 9th 34:57 (PB)
Stewart Overton 10th 34:59
John Rayner 18th 35:41
Wayne Bell 20th 35:53
Peter Sibbett 63rd 41:24
Sue Vaughan 160th 54:21
Karen Dodsworth 162nd 54:40
NHRR parkrun results 20/07/2019
210 Helen GIFFIN 00:30:10
251 Sarah MILLHOUSE 00:32:35
346 Jane CLARKE 00:38:57
Wimpole Estate parkrun
20 Ian DATLEN 00:21:07
54 Rhiannon BOTHA 00:23:48
84 Jillian BOYS 00:25:09
5 James DALTON 00:21:29
19 Andrew ROBSON 00:24:04
24 Steve BRENTON 00:24:35
28 Damon CLEVELEY 00:25:01
42 Adam WILSON 00:26:18
59 Lucy HURLEY 00:27:39
71 Paul BOWAL 00:29:29
74 Philip FLACK 00:29:46
96 Helen WILSON 00:32:05
22 Glyn BLAKEY 00:22:20
32 Andrew COATES 00:22:53 (PB)
38 Katherine GOURD 00:23:21 (PB)
249 Sheila LEAVY 00:43:14
67 Chris POOLE 00:25:55
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