If at first you don’t succeed…
North Herts Road Runner Stewart Overton set a new Personal Best whilst representing the club in the Riga Marathon this weekend. A special and personal achievement made all the more significant as he suffered a loss in the family the Tuesday prior. Having trained all winter to run the Rotterdam Marathon and missing out on a personal target of finishing it in under 3 hours, it was the personal messages and support of his club mates, both in person through Dan Martin and through messages from the club, that enabled him to channel his emotion into running his first sub 3 hour marathon finishing in 2 hours and 59 minutes. Stewart said it was a difficult race with plenty of mental and physical challenges but felt truly emotional as he crossed the finish line.
Elsewhere Darren Matussa, who continues to go from strength to strength, recovered from winning the Watford Open 800 metres in a time of 2 min 24 seconds to run the Hackney Half Marathon alongside fellow squirrels Chris Poole, Steve Foster and Jillian Boys. On a beautiful warm day both Chris and Steve finished in 1hr 45 minutes followed by Jillian’s new PB of 1hr 49 whilst Darren missed out on his own personal target but was more than happy with his time of 1hr 26 minutes. On crossing the finish line Darren bumped into Steve who appeared to have blood running down his face so it is fair to say that new member Steve has represented the club through ‘Blood, sweat and tears’.
Lindsey Lucas couldn’t be happier having completed her first 10k at the Wimpole Hoohah. Having felt a cold coming on earlier in the week but not finding the excuses she needed via a quick google search it was time to get it over with. Running alongside her husband Viv and son George, Lindsey raised valuable funds for Addenbrookes Charitable Trust as a special thank you for the invaluable cancer treatment and care Viv received two years ago. Lindsey said, ‘It was lovely to be cheered over the finish line 1hr 20 later’ appreciating the increasingly familiar sight of the NHRR running vest and the support that comes with it when she spotted Brian Judkins and Lucy O’Connor finishing in 1 hr 7 minutes and 52 minutes respectively.
Jo Kenlin and Monica Cullin ran the Colchester Zoo 10k starting next to the elephant enclosure. A reversal of a traditional stampede if ever there was one, whilst Nick Malpeli ran the Greater Manchester Half-Marathon finishing in 23rd place with an excellent time of 1hr 21 minutes. Nick remarked that the, ‘Afternoon was very pleasant watching Tirunesh Dibaba, Mo Farah and most importantly my youngest Will Noble complete in the 10k’.
Rachel Annetts travelled to the Bedford Triathlon along with Andrew Robson. Andrew knocked 5 minutes of his PB due to the excellent training at North Herts whilst Rachel finished the winner of the V55 category stating, ‘Not only did I beat my time of 4 years ago by 3 minutes, I was first V55+ finishing in 1:32:27.’
Finally, Michelle and Andy Grudzinski eschewed the opportunities to take part in any local races and opted to fly out to Alberta, Canada to run the Red Deer Trail Marathon. Michelle commented, ‘ A great run, on a lovely 26.2 mile route in the parks of Red Deer city, in crazily warm weather, with excellent fellow runners, and the most amazing volunteers (not least because Andy joked about a cold beer at 27km and they handed Andy a Mimosa).’
Great to see North Herts Road Runners putting Letchworth and the surrounding areas on the international sports map once again.
58 Squirrels began North Herts Road Runners campaign in Division One of the Midweek League by battling rush hour traffic, steep hills and escaped bulls to compete in the picturesque Epping Forest in the first of four races of the Summer season. Some standout individual performances and superb team efforts meant that NHRR finished in second position overall. The men's team was led by Jim McConnell who finished in 2nd position and Katie Harbon was first female squirrel home, also in 2nd position. Darren Matussa commented that it was a "Fantastic evening. The team spirit was great!"
Sarah Mitcherson ran in Hitchin's inaugural 10km race and finished with a podium placing as 3rd lady (43:29) she described her experience as "a well organised, great 10km race around my home town". She was closely followed by Helen Cairns 1st FV35 (44:29). Other squirrels racing were Sonja Grbavac (52:13) and perfectly paced for a sub hour were Linsey Ashley and Jennie Andrews (58:58), Helen Ferguson (59:14) and finishing with a PB of 1:19 was Jo Kenlin.
There were perfect running conditions in Letchworth for NHRR's annual Greenway Challenge on Sunday, with record entrants and finishers, PBs a plenty and 31 squirrels representing the club. Jim McConnell was first in for the club in 75:58 and the first lady was NHRR’s Katie Harbon in 88:53. The Challenge also saw several squirrels complete their debut half-marathon, with Cara Sutton, Dervla Downing, Gladys Cheng and Geoff Murray-Rochard all joining the 13.1-mile club.
Jillian Boys travelled into Bedfordshire for the 36th annual Stevington 12km race "unexpectedly warm and there was literally not one flat part to the course!" Despite these challenges she was rewarded with 8th lady in a fantastic 59:18.
NHRR's youngest squirrel travelled to Lllanelli in South Wales to complete her first Youth Super Series Triathlon. 15 year old Eva McCabe endured a chilly 400m sea swim, followed by a 12km cycle and finished with a 2.5km coastal run.
Searing heat made for tough conditions for the few squirrels that took the short trip north for the Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend. Naomi Parkinson and Lucy Hurley took on the full 26.2 miles through Milton Keynes and the surrounding countryside. They set off in 23-degree temperatures that quickly climbed into the high twenties but thanks to the locals who turned out to support the runners with hoses and super soakers making the heat that bit more bearable. With more runners walking more than running the valiant squirrels scurried on to the finish. Naomi Parkinson finished in 4:30 and Lucy Hurley in 4:54.
Helen Govey, Brian Bailey, Jim and Melissa Marvell took the more sensible option of the MK Marathon Relay finishing in 4:54. Matt Davies and Michelle Grudzinski went for the half marathon option with Davies taking it easy in the heat to finish in 1:38 and Grudzinski doing well to finish in 1.59 which was only her third time under 2 hours.
Andrew Leach was running for the ‘England Masters’ vs the ‘Celtic Nations’ as part of The Great Birmingham 10k on Sunday. Selection for the England team was based on 2017 performances due to qualifying races being cancelled because of the Beast from the East. In a field of over 8,000 Leach finished 1st MV50 and was 22nd overall in 33.34. Leach admitted, ‘the second 5k was much slower than the first thanks to the heat and the last mile being uphill’.
Jim McConnel travelled to the very beautiful Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire to race an off-road half marathon called ‘Revenge of the Fifth’. Organised by How Hard Could it Be Events, the race involved over 800 metres of ascent with two steep downhills. McConnel won the race in 1:38:32 and was over 9 minutes ahead of the second-place runner. McConnel said, ‘it was a very enjoyable day in the sun and good preparation for the Snowdonia Trail Marathon in July’.
Jo Summers having completed over 200 marathons was at it again in an out and back course along the Flitch Way where she was the first marathoner to finish in 3 hours and 58 minutes.
Simon Poole headed to the Clumber Park Duathlon (5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run) on Saturday which was also a qualifier for the 2019 European Championships. Coming back from a foot injury he had set his targets low and went out conservatively on the first run. The bike went well and put him in a great position for the final run. Poole finished 1st in his age category which secured him a place at the Euros
Monday night was the Pednor 5 which incorporated the Herts County Vets Championships. Mark Vaughan took gold in the MV40 category and Linda Aird was 3rd FV55. The bank holiday heat wave was still an issue at 7pm when the race started. Aird said, ‘it was still too warm to be racing! And it's a hilly one, so even tougher in the heat’.
David Annetts continued his race walk campaign by winning the Herts County Vets 3000m championships at Ridlins in Stevenage finishing in 14:51.
Norton Common was bathed in sunshine for the First Saturday of the Month 5k which was enjoyed by 105 runners. First to finish was North Herts Road Runner Paul Jackson in 18:19 followed by Oliver Brady who was 2nd in 19:05 and Steve Mckeown finished 4th in 19:24. First lady finisher was North Herts Road Runner Sarah Mitcherson in 22:00. The next race will be Saturday 2nd June.
Parkrun result; Finsbury Park, David Weston 33rd 20:06, Westmill, John Russell 9th 23:34, Fulham Palace, Georgina Quayle 420th 33:59, Hereford, Linda Aird 54th 26:16, Tring, Stephen Lummis 48th 25:02 and Letchworth, Chris Poole 23rd 24:47.
News, Notifications and Race Results