Letchworth's only town centre running event is back by popular demand.
The races - over distances of 5k, 1 mile, plus a 1-mile fun run for all ages - will be held on Sunday 17 June. Roads including Leys Avenue, Eastcheap and the Broadway will be closed to traffic, providing a unique opportunity for runners of all abilities to race in the heart of the Garden City.
The event, billed as the Run Round the Garden, was first held in 2016 and is again being organised by North Herts Road Runners. The events will start at 10.00 with the 5k, followed by the 1-mile event at 11.00 and the fun run closing a great morning of running at 11.30.
The fun run will be free to enter, the 5k will cost £8 and the mile event will be £4. There is even a discount price of £10 for those keen enough to enter the 5k and 1-mile double challenge.
Race Director Richard Harbon said 'Run Round the Garden was a big hit when we put it on two years ago and people kept asking when we would be doing it again - so we are! You don't need to be fast - these events offer something for everyone. It will be a fabulous morning of running in the iconic heart of our Garden City'.
Full details and online entry is now open
Andrew Leach was the standout performer for North Herts Road Runners as the Letchworth-based club won an impressive clutch of medals at the Hertfordshire county veterans cross-country championships on Sunday.
‘It was fell running comes to Hertfordshire’ said Leach after dominating the 9km race on the demanding slopes of Royston Heath and taking the county 50+ age-group title.
The NHRR team of Linda Aird, Karen Dodsworth and Miranda Morgan were also crowned county champions as they took the team prize in the 55-plus category.
NHRR celebrated a series of further successes, with ‘supervet’ athletes Brian Bailey and Ian Sutcliffe taking silver and bronze respectively in the 70-plus age-group and Sheila Leavy winning the bronze medal in the 65-plus category.
Earlier in the weekend North Herts took four of the first eight places at the Great Denham Parkrun. Adam Bowller was first finisher in a new Parkrun personal best of 16.35 and John Auld dipped under 17 minutes for the first time with a superb 16.51 for third place. Stewart Overton was fifth in another PB of 17.09 and Darren Matussa completed the quartet with 18.40 and eighth.
Matt Sayers was another Squirrel clocking an impressive new 5k best time as he sliced an impressive 31 seconds off his previous mark with 16.54 at the Serpentine ‘Last Friday’ 5k in Hyde Park.
Several Squirrels were clocking up the miles in final preparations for the London Marathon, with Adrian Sherwood taking first place in the 50+ category at the Dorney Lake 20-mile run. Sherwood clocked 2.17.53 while John Auld said he took ‘a massive confidence boost for London’ after finishing in 2.08.35. Darren Matussa ran the 16-mile option in 1.49.03
North Herts had three representatives at the Bedford 20-mile race, with Jen Naisbitt well on track for London with a new best time of 3.44. Chris Poole and Helen Govey finished in 2.57 and 3.27 respectively.
Jim McConnell enjoyed the Lanzarote sunshine but not the windy conditions as he won the Club La Santa half-marathon in 1.18.20. McConnell reported ‘a decent test of the brain to keep on top of the pace’ as he tackled an uninspiring 3-lap out-and-back course.
Jo Summers competed the ‘Daffodil Dawdle’ off-road marathon in Suffolk in 4.37
Saturday saw seven hardy squirrels take part in the Ashridge Boundary Run a challenging trail race. It’s a 16.3 mile circuit of the Ashridge National Trust estate near Tring with over 1400ft of climbing and a spectacular run along the ridge of Ivinghoe Beacon in the early part of the race.
The Beast from the East made an unwelcome return on race day adding snow and bitter wind conditions for runners, but the real challenge was the mud. Lots of it.
Despite the harsh conditions our Vet Women did really well, Suzy Trott finished 1st in the FV40 category, in 2:29:02 with only 5 senior women ahead of her. Caroline Thrussell running well again after injury was 2nd FV50 in 2:48:16 and Miranda Morgan was first home in the FV60 category in 3:12:01.
Other finishes completing the challenge were Martyn Annetts 2:29:02, Barbara Sayers 2:44:45, Linda Aird 3:04:38 and Carina Quayle 3:31:24.
With a lot of running events cancelled on Sunday due to the extreme weather conditions most squirrels had an unexpected day off from racing. Andrew Drew did make the trip to Hastings for the half marathon finishing in a time of 1:39:29 and Jo Summers tested herself at the BoxFit 5 hour Endurance event, running 27.5 miles in 4 hours and 42 minutes.
Out at parkruns in Letchworh Eva McCabe was first lady in 23:31, James Dalton 9th 23:32, Chris Poole 16th 25:14 and Lewis Green 23rd 26:06. Stevenage results saw Naomi Parkinson 61st 26:16, Ellie Scott 62nd 26:19 and Brian Judkins 134th 34:06. Lucy Hurley finished Gedling parkrun 98th in 32:13, Joseph Sherry was 50th in Luton in 25:39 and Matt Davies finished 4th at Keswick parkrun in 20:06
On Saturday John Auld travelled to Yorkshire to race in the Silkstone Shuffle Series. The course was wet and muddy throughout and the stiles along the course were very slippery but Auld finished 2nd in a time of 28:30.
Husband and wife team Andy and Michelle Grudzinski took to the Thames to run the Meander. Andy opted for the half marathon option whilst Michelle, despite still suffering from a long term injury, opted to run the marathon distance. Even though the pain returned Michelle continued to the finish, even 'taking on all puddles and mud piles as going around them was too much effort' and finished just under 5 hours in 4:54:54.
Several squirrels travelled to Milton Keynes to take part in the Festival of Running on Sunday. Ben Ryan ran the 20 mile race in 3:07:11. Four opted for the half marathon; James Keogh 1:29:18, Katherine Burr 1:38:57; Helen Govey 2:12:02 and Brian Bailey 2:12:27. A further three chose the 10K race: Dave Frampton 43:41; Helen Ferguson 1:05:41 and Clare Hooley 1:20:13. Dave Frampton said after the race "I found the course unexpectedly hilly, running up ''Mount'' Campbell Park at the end seemed very hard work. I was quite pleased though as I was the first vet 60."
Now that the snow has gone Parkruns were being held again. Bedford saw two NHRR runners finish first and second place - Adam Bowller 16:53; and Stewart Overton 17:29. Joy Stroud ran in Poole in 30:53. Mile End saw Chris Poole finish in 23:38; Steve Lummis ran at Canons Park in 23:45; Joe Sherry, Ellenbrook Fields 26:19; whilst Letchworth Parkrun had Eva McCabe 24:24; Lewis Green 26:23 and Patrick Norris 43:01.
With so many Saturday morning parkruns cancelled due to the icy conditions, North Herts Road Runners’ First Saturday of the Month on Norton Common, Letchworth, shone like a beacon in the wilderness. 80 hardy runners and around 20 marshalls and helpers turned out in the snow to put on this renowned local event. Paula Holm, one of the brave runners said, “Thank you so much for making this amazing run happen! The absolute best way to start a Saturday off work! Superb atmosphere and that snowman that appeared from nowhere on our second lap was immense - I love snow and I love running - so this morning was a winning combination!”. Caroline Thrussell, added “thank you to the marshalls , hot chocolate maker and snowman builder. A lovely morning.”. Race Director Richard Harbon commented “A big hand to all those that turned out on the common to marshal, run, cheer and throw snowballs. We had 80 runners, so well done to all.” He continued “It was great fun. One of life's pleasures is running in the snow and we did so in great company this morning.” In terms of the results, the Squirrels had 5 of the first 6 finishers, as well as the first lady finisher. Jim McConnel won the race (18:03), followed by Stuart Overton Stuart 2nd (18:45), in 4th place Matt Sayers (19:21), with Paul Jackson 5th (19:36), Oliver Brady (Jnr) 7th (20:11), Matthew Davies 8th (20:32), Chris Stokes 14th (22:31), Eva McCabe (Jnr) 1st lady and 16th overall (22:39), John Cooper 19th (23:00), James Keogh 20th (23:01), Richard Harbon 23rd (24:00), Lucy O'Connor 33rd (26:19) NHRR, Caroline Thrussel 36th (26:46), Paul Holm 39th (27:25), Linda Aird 45th (28:28), Paul Bowal 48th (29:11), Geoff Murray-Rochard 49th (29:14), Karen Dodsworth §50th (29:24), Sheena Cook 51st (29:31), Andrew Porter 54th (30:15), Katrina Dixon 56th (30:36), Carina Quayle 57th (31:13), Gladys Cheng 58th (31:14), Helen Cromack 61st (32:08), Dan Martin 62nd (32:19), Joy Stroud 69th (33:57), Ali Mottram 71st (34:43), Brian Judkins 75th (35:29), Jo Sopala 79th (42:08) and Helen Govey 80th (42:08 )
London’s newest race, The Big Half, saw several Squirrels taking on the likes of Sir Mo Farah and Charlotte Purdue in a half-marathon around the capital. There were some supreme performances with Darren Sunter (having warmed up with Sir Mo) finishing in 1:15.04, John Auld achieving a Personal Best time of 1:16:40, David Weston, in his first half-marathon finishing in an impressive 1:42 minutes and Lindsay Cook in 2hr 25. John said, “I was planning on getting the sub-78 minutes that I narrowly missed last year. The second half was tough, but then it dawned on me that I was going to be close to sub 77. Towards the end I dug deep and pushed on again and was suddenly in the last 2 miles. Knowing I would be good in the last mile I started pushing. Seeing the clock at the end, I really put the hammer down and sailed under 77 minutes. Mission accomplished!”
Four plucky Squirrels also ran in this year’s Cambridge Half-Marathon with two personal best times clocked-up. Matt Sayers finished in 1:17:16 (PB), Sophie Thrussell, one of the club’s growing number of new members, crossed the line in 1:38:58. Chris Poole ran a PB with 1:40:12 and Sarah Mitcherson finished close on Chris’ heels in 1:41:27. Chris also ran Panshanger Parkrun (the only Squirrel park runner on Saturday) the day before, finishing in 66th place (24:42).
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