Twenty North Herts Road Runners enjoyed a chilly but sunny Baldock Beast on Sunday with many running to support their local race a week before the Cambridge Half. James Dalton was the 1st squirrel across the line in 1.35.33 with Rachel Arnott enjoying a super race to finish 3rd lady in 1.36.58. 2nd V55 Lucy O’Connor, running according to her London marathon training plan, felt strong and happy throughout the 13.1 miles finishing in 1.55.54 but just couldn’t quite catch club mate Eve Surridge, 1.55.51, in the finishing straight. Also enjoying the challenging, hilly course and delighted with their finishing times were: Ian Datlen 1.36.36, David Edwards 1.38.38, Mark Seddon 1.48.12, Stuart Cocks 1.49.40, James Poulton 1.54.02, , , Jennie Fraser 1.58.19, Grace Cleary 1.57.44, Alice Noakes1.58.03, Matt Roberts 1.58.33, Rhia Botha 1.58.34, Michael Over 1.58.34, Andrew Coates 2.01.10, Frances Stanton 2.02.07, Harry Barker 2.05.48, Sue Foot 2.07.34 and Alan Hazelhurst 2.12.44.
Racing in the Bedford Half Marathon Richard Springall enjoyed a stunning debut in his NHRR vest finishing 2nd overall in a wonderful new PB of 1.19.40. Ian Harvey was competing in the 10k event and finished in 40.49.
Our final Half marathon hero was racing down on the south coast at the Brighton Half. Dervla Downing finished in 1.42.54. This was Dervla’s second fastest half and her fastest since injury last year.
Fastest squirrel of the day over the half marathon distance was Stewart Overton who was delighted to return to racing with a 77.12 at the Wokingham Half.
Katie Harbon ran at the Serpentine Last Friday 5k and finished with a very impressive time of 18.13.
Laura Fairbanks, Anna Gibson and Lucy O’Connor completed the Stamford 30km. The trio were warned the course was very hilly and “it didn’t disappoint on that front!” Laura had intended to take it easy and treat it as a training run but commented that she always finds it hard to do in races when her competitive spirit kicks in. The course was absolutely beautiful with near perfect conditions for running. At the halfway point Laura felt really good and pushed the pace for the second half. Her last 5k was energy busting with the hills intensifying but overall she was happy with the performance, finishing in a time of 2hr 49 mins and “lots of lessons learnt for Manchester marathon in April”. Laura also gave huge congrats to her fellow lovely team mates who both ran fantastically. Lucy O’Connor finished in 2:45:44 and 3rd FV60 whilst Anna Gibson finished in 2:58:12.
Harrow Hill 10k
Linda Aird headed back to an area where she grew up - down the A1 to Harrow, to run the Harrow Hill 10k. Linda reports “The name doesn't lie”. After starting at the Harrow School sports ground, it quickly heads up “what feels like a near-vertical ascent” to emerge near the top of the eponymous hill. The course then follows two laps of an undulating circuit, with some nice downhills but some strength-sapping uphills to contend with. Linda was very unsure about how she’d cope with the hills this time, but managed to get round in just under an hour - 59:38 chip time. “It was a hard slog, and a new personal worst at 10k”. However Linda finished 2nd in her age category of FV60. Linda caught up with her cousin while I was there - whom is the coach that trains the winning lady, whose mile splits were mostly faster than Linda’s km splits.
Stevenage: Ian Harvey (19:43), Ian Datlen (20:03), Sophie Thrussell (20:51), Michael Over (20:54), Mike Philips (21:25), Steve Tracey (21:42), Chris Stokes (22:17), Emma Sandham (23:11), Sarah Mitcherson (24:21), Jane Clarke (24:22), Matt Roberts (24:27), Tim Banting (26:24), Natalie Philips (29:12).
Ally Pally: Kris Whitmore (19:04)
Keswick: Jo Harbon (27:45)
Letchworth: Philip Hawkes (21:29), James Dalton (21:33), Chloe Lucas (22:15), James Poulton (23:28), Steve Brenton (23:59), Philip Flack (30:32), Aimee Flack (35:49), Hayley Cocks (42:05).
Henlow Bridge Lakes: Tracy Pitcairn (22:15), Bob Milburn (26:03), Rachel Annetts (30:22), Brian Judkins (32:44), Laura Fairbanks (32:45), Anna Gibson (32:46).
Yarborough Leisure Centre: Anna Greetham (25:14)
North Herts Road Runners achieved an unprecedented treble triumph in the Three Counties Cross-country League, taking a clean sweep of victories in the final fixture at Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, to secure the ladies’, men’s and combined titles in the end of season standings.
Cross-country Rep and Men's Captain John Auld hailed ‘a tremendous feat’ in achieving what ‘NHRR have not accomplished before’ by lifting all three trophies. 76 Squirrels turned out across the League’s five fixtures and Auld thanked ‘everyone who contributed to the season - everybody should be very proud of their contribution to this amazing team effort.’
All three competitions came down to the last fixture on the 4.6 mile Sharnbrook course. Recent dry weather made for mostly firm conditions and the Squirrels sped around the fields and woods to narrowly edge out Bedford Harriers for the ladies’ crown and Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers for the men’s.
NHRR’s Katie Harbon and Mike Roberts led the way as first female and male across the line respectively. Hannah Ridley (3rd lady), Tash Pitman(7th) and Rhia Botha (12th) joined Harbon in the ladies’ scoring team while the men packed their eight scorers into the first 21 finishers, with Nathan Pask (6th), Stewart Overton (10th), Wayne Bell (11th),Ben Sewell (13th), Ed Price (15th), Vince Wright (19th) and Matt Sayers (21st) all giving Roberts great support.
Also in action at Sharnbrook for the NHRR ladies were Jane Clarke (22nd female), Paula Adams (24th), Laura Fairbanks (34th), Helen Cairns (47th), Lucy O’Connor (48th), Anna Gibson (54th), Cara Sutton (57th), Mel Flynn (60th), Helen Ankers (61st), Jo Harbon (75th), Dawn Power (77th), Natalie Philips (82nd), Linda Aird (89th), Sue Vaughan (95th), Amanda Greig (98th), Lindsay Cook (106th), Helen Cromack (107th), Miranda Morgan (119th) and Carina Quayle (120th).
Running for the NHRR men were Nick Malpeli (23rd male), Shahab (Ahmed (24th), John Auld (47th), Ian Datlen (62nd), James Walsh (65th), Steve McKeown (72nd), Michael Over (81st), Matt Roberts (107th), Dave Braybrook (118th), Richard Weber (143rd), Richard Harbon (160th) and Brian Judkins (194th).
There was individual glory for North Herts as well, with several athletes taking awards in the open competition and age categories:
Katie Harbon - 1st female
Mike Roberts - 2nd male
Hannah Ridley - 1st F25-29
Ben Sewell - 1st V30-35
Stewart Overton - 3rd V40-44
Jane Clarke - 3rd V40-44
Tash Pitman - 1st V45-49
Vince Wright - 1st V45-49
Ed Price - 2nd V45-49
Matt Sayers - 3rd V45-49
Paula Adams - 1st V50-54
Lucy O’Connor - 1st V60-64
Meanwhile in London, several Squirrels enjoyed success at the London Winter 10k. Elwyn Howell’s 45.00 finish time saw him secure an outstanding 11th place out of 239 in his age category and 983rd out of nearly 14,000 finishers. Alison Blunt said she ‘enjoyed my first run for a while’ and finished in 1.05.59.
Other NHRR finishers in London were Ian Harvey (40.32), George Wright (47.53), Viv Lucas (56.13), Stephen Bidewell (59.47), Georgia Barker (1.03.07) and Julie Taylor (1.08.51).
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