“Beast from the East hits Baldock, however the runners didn't freeze!” was Darren Matussa's summary of Sunday morning's Baldock Beast Half Marathon - referring to the results rather than the conditions. The race is a tough hilly local, multi terrain course. The wind was up and the temperature was down. Squirrels wore a range of clothing from vest and shorts to full length base layers, buff and hats. NHRR carried home a bunch of trophies. The club won both the men and women team trophies. The men's team was Jim McConnel, John Auld, Darren Matussa and Olly Garbis and the ladies were Astrid McKeown, Paula Holm and Sarah Mitcherson. Other silverware won was 3rd place for Jim McConnel. Astrid Mckeown was 3rd lady. On her Birthday weekend, Paula Holm was 1st FV35. Paula said afterwards that her weekend “couldn't get any better”. Sarah Mitcherson was 3rd FV35 and Lucy O'Connor was 1st FV55. Joy Stroud also set a new club FV70 half marathon record, finishing in 2:24:49. Jim said afterwards that it was “a top effort from all who battled today and tamed the beast” - he added “I couldn't wait to get past half way and have the strong wind blow me back down the hill”. NHRR were also had huge support on route from fellow runners either on the cheer squad or as official race marshals.
A scurry of Squirrels travelled to Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath for the National XC Championships. The start of the race is epic. Adam Bowller said afterwards “the start is like nothing I've experienced, big wide start with 2500 runners charging up a hill that narrows, you have to go hard or you'll lose so much ground”. Adam continues to describe “brutal, sapping mud in places” and “you wonder why your putting yourself through it”.
Christian Allen was in the junior men's race, but unfortunately jared his back and had to pull out of the race. Next was the ladies race which featured four flying feisty female squirrels making up a team which finished 101st. First home was Sarah Mitcherson (432nd) followed by Paula Adams (608th), Lindsay Cook (1079th) and Jane Tyler (1095th). Last on the course were the men who didn't have a team due to injuries, but had five men braving the terrain churned up by the 9 races before hand. First home was Andrew Leech (239th) followed by Adam Bowller (323rd), Darren Sunter (475th), Mark Vaughan (792nd) and Johnny Spinks (2153rd).
Three Squirrels ran the Brighton Half Marathon. Colin Calcutt finished in 2:28. Hayley Cocks and Shani Fielding both finished in 3:06. The pair were running their first half marathon and raising money for the Garden City Hospice after completing the clubs Couch to 5km last June.
Saturday morning was rather chilly too, but it didn’t deter the Parkrunners too much. Two Squirrels headed to Bedford and came away with a couple of Parkrun PBs and an NHRR first and second in the race. John Auld finished in 17:16 and Stewart Overton finished in 17:23. Chris Poole ran his 199th Parkrun on a course named after him, Poole, (may be a co-incidence) and finished in 22:27. At Stevenage Sarah Milhouse finished in 25:43, Coach Karen Dodsworth finished in 26:33 and Helen Giffin finished in 29:32. In Letchworth, 5 Squirells ran. Darren Matussa was first home for the club in 22:58. Other finishers were Naomi Parkinson (24:43), Ellie Scott (24:48), Jo Sherry (26:23) and Brian Judkins (33:33).
David Annetts continued his increasingly successful conversion to race walking by winning the London Vets AC title over the 3000m indoor distance.
Annetts took up race-walking after injuries curtailed his running and he has been getting to grips with the demanding technical requirements of the event.
His latest race, held at the Picketts Lock athletics centre in north London and doubling as the Southern Masters Championships, was an ‘A’-graded event where judging is applied strictly and Annetts received two yellow and two red ‘paddles’ for technique infringements. Forced to ease off in the last 800 metres to avoid a third red and instant disqualification, he was delighted to cross the line first in 14.44 – comfortably inside his 15-minute target time.
Annetts said ‘I’ve not had a red in any previous race, but I am at the point in my walking where you really are treading a fine line to satisfy the judges. From that point of view it was a valuable experience to learn from - which I will!’
Meanwhile Darren Sunter sliced a second off the course record for the new Letchworth Parkrun, crossing the line first in in 19.04.
Stewart Overton took a trip to the seaside to race the Worthing Half Marathon as part of his training for the Rotterdam Marathon in April. The flat course produced some fast times and training obviously paid off as Overton finished 25th with a new PB of 80:05. Overton said ‘I was really pleased as I felt strong throughout but I am disappointed to have missed out on sub 80’.
Naomi Parkinson and Lucy Hurley travelled to Stamford for the St. Valentines 30k. It was the 25th year of the event organised by Stamford Striders. Mixed weather conditions meant they ran through sunshine, wind and hail. The hills made for a challenging but scenic course and provided no protection from the bitter wind. However, they finished strongly in 3:16:48. What better way can there be to show your love of running than to run 18 miles through Lincolnshire and Rutland on a freezing February morning?
Seven squirrels opted for a shorter race at the Love Welwyn Garden City 10k. First in for the club was Dervla Downing in 52:29, followed by Hannah Keeble in 53:07. Sam Martin in her first race since joining the club finished in a new PB by more than 3 minutes of 56:19. Other finishes included Chris Poole 1:00:21, Jennie Andrews 1:04:14, Linsey Ashley 1:04:14 and Monica Cullin who finished 2nd FV70 in 1:33.03.
A few took part in Parkruns: At Letchworth finishing 11th was Matthew Davies in 22:47, 67th Sarah Millhouse 28:55, 109th Joy Stroud 33:59 and 128th Lindsey Lucas 39:24. At Stevenage Parkrun Joseph Sherry was 104th in 27:47 and Helen Giffin finished 124th in 28:36. Chris Poole was at Ellenbrook Fields and finished 54th in 25:39.
Two NHRR members, John Rayner and John Auld travelled to London to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park First Saturday of the Month 10K. Both had a fantastic race with Rayner finishing in fifth position in a new PB of 35:24 and Auld in sixth. Auld said after the event "I finished 6th in 35:54, 8 seconds over my PB, but I was 11th with 2km to go. I was very happy to give the guys in front of me a lesson in finishing strongly"
Three squirrels travelled to Watford to run the rather hilly Half Marathon. Niccolo Bassani finished in 1:35:06, Tom Brownlee in 1:58:19 and Vanessa Rolfe in 2:34:12.
Closer to home the club held their own First Saturday of the Month event as usual at Norton Common. The popular 5K run had 87 people running the full event with one junior taking the option of one lap instead of both laps. It was won by Darren Purchase who finished in 20:01. First lady to finish was squirrel Paula Holm in 21:45. The next free event will be on Saturday 3rd March at 9am and is open to everyone.
Parkruns were run by Helen Cairns (Stevenage) first lady finisher, 22:35; Steve Williamson (Kettering) 20:50; Chris Poole (Barking) 22:31 and Lewis Green (Letchworth) 25:08.
News, Notifications and Race Results