‘Rain, wind and cold’ plus 44 stiles in the first half of the race alone were just a few of the challenges overcome by Jo Summers on her way to winning the Farthingstone Foot Fest off-road marathon in Northamptonshire on Saturday.
The North Herts Road Runners member and long-distance specialist said she ‘was so cold that I did consider stopping’ at the half-way checkpoint, but ‘knowing how cross I would be with myself I set off again before I could change my mind’.
Summers exchanged places with another runner twice in the last three miles, but her customary strong finish saw her hold the lead all the way to the line, where she recorded a time of 5 hours and 40 seconds.
Much warmer conditions on Sunday meant ice lollies were the well-deserved reward for Ali Mottram and Helen Govey after a ‘hot and hilly’ St Albans Half-marathon.
The two North Herts Road Runners athletes were both delighted with their finishing times, in Mottram’s case because her 2.32.37 clocking was a new personal best and in Govey’s because it was the first time she had run more than seven miles since being laid low by ‘a nasty virus’ at the end of February.
Reflecting on her result, Govey said ‘considering the circumstances I am pleased with it. Not every run is a race and today I learnt that not every race is a race either. Sometimes it is so much more than that.’
Vanessa Rolfe also tackled the 13.1 mile distance in the Jersey Half-marathon and said she would ‘definitely recommend the lovely course’ and the liquid refreshments and food at the finish. She celebrated her 2.25.39 finish with ‘white wine and tuna sandwiches’ courtesy of the race organisers.
Despite blisters from new insoles, Lorna Chambers said she was ‘glad to take part’ in the Milton Keynes Race for Life 10k. She ‘limped home’ in 1.03.36.
North Herts had three finishers in the top ten at Letchworth Parkrun, with Stewart Overton first across the line in 18.31, Matt Sayers fourth in 19.09 and Oliver Brady seventh in 19.30. Other NHRR finishers at Letchworth were Ian Datlen (21.41), James Dalton (21.58), Alex Jegan (27.17), Philip Flack (29.33), Steve Brenton (29.51) and Glyn Blakey (35.01).
Nick Malpeli led a four-strong contingent of Squirrels home at Stevenage Parkrun with a time of 19.12, followed by Dervla Downing (22.57), Jane Clarke (31.26) and Pat Norris (33.24).
Other NHRR Parkrunners were Chris Poole at Walthamstow (24.27), Peter Clarke at Ellenbrook Fields (18.10), Darren Matussa at Roding Valley (19.13) and Naomi Parkinson at Forest of Marston Vale (24.26).
“Such a stunning course with fun and friendly marshals, and plenty of countryside,” was Naomi Parkinson’s verdict of the inaugural Great Hertfordshire AONB Marathon which started at Offley. Naomi was pleased to finish the challenging course as 6th lady in 4:51.30. “From a runner’s perspective it was really enjoyable and well organised,” said Naomi. “I’d definitely recommend it for next year!” Also running the marathon was Alan Hazlehurst, who said: “I'm going to claim that it was looking at the views and watching the magnificent red kites that made me finish in 5:39:17.” Naomi and Alan were joined in the marathon by Sue Foot (5.25.32), Miranda Morgan (5.36.16) and Niccolo Bassani, who finished 10th overall in 04:04:34.
They weren’t the only Squirrels to take part in one of the event’s three races. Adam Wilson ran in the half marathon. “I think this could become a regular,” said Adam, who was delighted to finish his first attempt at a trail half marathon in 2.12.33. Jillian Boys and her running buddy Lulu (a choccy labrador) completed the half marathon in 2:11 and thoroughly enjoyed the “beautiful course and amazing atmosphere”.
Hailey Batson ran the 10km race in 1:08, citing the heat and the hills as reasons why it was one of the hardest races she had done in a while. Elwyn Howell also ran the 10km race, and finished in 58:28, coming first in in 60+ age category and 36th overall. Elwyn’s result was particularly impressive as he had also run the Stevenage parkrun the day before, finishing in 26:18.
Jillian Boys had also taken part in the Vitality London 10,000m on Monday 27 May in a time of 47.52. Before the race started it was perfect running conditions,” said Jillian, “not too warm and with a nice cool breeze. But whilst we were all waiting to start in our wave pens the clouds parted and the sun came out and it was suddenly very warm! Not quite a PB, but was 2 mins quicker than last year so I was pleased with that!”
This week’s parkrun results:
Tamar Trails parkrun: 25 Steve BRENTON 00:24:15
Stevenage parkrun: 49 Jillian BOYS 00:23:51; 109 Elwyn HOWELL 00:26:24; 124 Mike MORALEE 00:26:57; 286 Hayley COCKS 00:33:22
Wimpole Estate parkrun: 99 Naomi PARKINSON 00:25:18
Delamere parkrun: 9 Nick MALPELI 00:19:21
Brandon Country Park parkrun: 68 Sam BARRY 00:29:46
Ellenbrook Fields parkrun: 9 9 Ian DATLEN 00:19:39
Letchworth parkrun: 28 Glyn BLAKEY 00:24:36; 32 Jegan SIMON 00:25:10; 39 Angeliki SHEARSTONE STATHOPOULOU 00:25:51
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