Sixty two hardy Squirrels battled the M25, road closures and rush hour traffic to defend their lead in the 3rd round of the Midweek League in Epping Forest. Their efforts were not in vain. Stewart Overton describing the ‘First Class’ commitment of club members commented “the men’s team have won all 3 rounds and currently hold maximum points going into the last round. Seeing 8 squirrels in the top 13 showed how dominant we have been at the sharp end with Tom Webb taking a well deserved win.” All eyes are now on the fourth and final race at Trent Park next week.
The Road Runners were out in force to take on the Hitchin Hard Half on Sunday. Linda Aird speaking after the race said she was very pleased to finish in 1:58:55 – “my best time on this course and first time I've run it in under 2 hours since then as well! I always enjoy this one, despite the challenging hills, and it is often quite warm - today was no exception”. Hitchin Hard Half results: Natalie Lawrence 1:27:13 Brent Lloyd 1:38:32 James Dalton 1:42:22 Chris Stokes 1:46:37 Caroline Thrussell 1:46:49 Rachel Arnott 01:49:28 Dan Martin 1:51:36 Steven Peel 1:58:34 Linda Aird 1:58:55 Adam Wilson 1:59:17 Lucy O'Connor 2:02:56 Alice Noakes 2:12:33 Alan Hazlehurst 2:16:57 Vanessa Rolfe 2:34:10
Hitchin Hard 10K results: Helen Cromack 1:09:49 Anna Greetham 1:09:52
Despite racing success during the week, less than 48 hours later, 20 club runners took part in the annual Greensands Ridge Relay Event consisting of 46 teams of 6 runners competing over 35 miles. The first of the NHRR teams narrowly missed first place by just 35 seconds. Team Member Alan Hazelhurst blamed his slower than anticipated time on the hot conditions, hills, a detour and his inability to run in straight lines!
Six squirrels travelled down the A1M to compete in the Welwyn 10K. The hills, including one at the end named ‘The Stinger’ did not prove a problem for Nick Malpeli who was 2nd V50 (Veteran, 50 or over runner) in both the main race and in the County Championships and to Andrew Porter 3rd V70 in both! Kat Gourd enjoyed the scenic course, despite the hills, and as the only female Road Runner was delighted to take the place of first lady home for the club in 0:52:24. David Weston struggled with the hills, lacking energy and dehydrated, but “drew on the power of his inner squirrel” for a strong finish in 0:43:53. Other finishers included;Christian ALLEN 0:50:17 Christopher POOLE 0:51:21 Ian SUTCLIFFE 1:00:09.
John Auld was pleased to finish 5th in the 4.6 mile Silkestone Shuffle, tackling high grass and stiles along the way and attributed his return to running fitness to his training partners and coaches at North Herts Road Runners.
The North Herts Road Runners’ Parkrun results for Saturday 22nd June: Letchworth – James DALTON 21:35 Glyn BLAKEY 23:10 Katherine GOURD 25:29 Damon CLEVELLY 25:43 Jillian BOYS 25:58 Jegan SIMON 26:05 Dave Braybrook 27:00 Jennie FRASER 27:11 Philip Flack 29:28 Carl GOODRUM 32:17
Stevenage –Dervla DOWNING 22:36 Mike MORALEE 27:38 Helen GIFFIN 31:28 Patrick NORRIS 35:24 Jane CLARKE 36:23 Ruth HICKS 36:40
Holkham – Matthew SAYERS 18:03
Marston Vale – Chris POOLE 24:09
Conkers -Naomi PARKINSON 24:11
Ruimsig, South Africa - Rhiannon BOTHA 24:01
Sunday saw North Herts Road Runners organising Letchworth’s Run Round the Garden - three running events in one day in the world’s first garden city: a 5k race, a 1-mile race & a free-to-enter kids' fun run. The sun shone in patches across the centre of the town as 500 runners took to the tree-lined streets for the 5K and 1 mile races. In the 5K men’s race NHRR’s Tom Webb stormed to victory with an impressive 16:10. In 2nd place, in a time of 16:53 was James Fox (Reading AC) and in 3rd place Dan McAlpine (Fairlands Valley Spartans) in 17:15. For the ladies Rebecca Newstead (Bedford and County) won the race (17:43), followed by two Bedford Harriers runners, Kirstie Sharman (18:55) and Stephanie MacLeod (20:49). In the men’s mile race James Fox was first in 4:53, followed by NHRR’s Ed price (4:56) and Hitchin Running Club’s Stuart Hansell (4”57). In the ladies’ mile race, Kirstie Sharman won in 5:47. In 2nd place was Bedford and County’s Maddison Webb (5:56) and in 3rd was Stevenage and North Herts AC’s Imogen Rose in 6:23.
Other finishers for the Squirrels were Lee Hayes (19:05), David Weston, who set an unexpected PB of 19:07. Dave said “I hadn’t prepared much due to a change in job limiting the amount of running and training I could do. However, I decided to go out hard and see if I could maintain the pace. It was a fast race and everyone had the same thought when the rain came down and we were all tip toeing round the 180 turns. Having the last KM downhill allowed for a final push and I was happy to knock 10 seconds off my PB and 26 seconds off this course from last year finishing in 19:06. Great support all the way round and a great race as always from the amazing team at NHRR”, Adrian Sherwood (19:39), Brent Lloyd (19:57), Ian Datlen (20:10), James Dalton (20:11), Stuart Cocks (21:14), Helen Nuttall (21:38), Liam Jones (21:43), Chrstian Allen (22:16), Andrew Robson (22:36), Andrew Coates (22:56), Chris Poole (22:57), Lucy O’Connor (23:41), Harry Agius (24:26), Andrew Cooper (24:32), Angeliki Shearstone-Stathopoulou (24:44), Alice Noakes (24:49), Linda Aird (25:13), Dave Braybrook (25:30), Alan Hazlehurst (25:35), Sue Vaughan (26:08), Mike Jones (26:32), Sherryl Chatfield (27:05), Elwyn Howell (27:09), Gladys Cheng (27:38), Jeanette Everitt (27:54), Philip Flack (27:58), Andrew Porter (28:01), Mike Hennessy (29:01), Helen Marson-Smith (a PB of 29:16), Hailey Batson also ran a PB. She said “I didn't expect much from myself as I haven't been training as much recently but got a new PB of 28.57. It was a lovely event, well organised and with great support!“. Helen Wilson (29:19), Natalie Williams (29:07 ,a new PB, and her first sub-30 minute 5k race), Naomi Parkinson (30:15), Joy Stroud (32:09), Hayley Cocks, 32:27 knocked 6 minutes off her time from last year and loved the support from her family, Shani Fielding (32:51), Glyn Blakey (33:05), Davinder Shekhon (33:44).
In the mile race, other Squirrel finishers were John Rayner (5:02), Stuart Cocks (5:56), Chrstian Allen (6:18), James Dalton (6:39), Chris Poole (6:46), Andrew Robson (6:57), Naomi Parkinson (6:57), Alice Noakes (7:13), Geoff Murray-Rochard (7:16), Harry Agius (7:23), Alan Hazlehurst (7:52), Helen Nuttall (8:05), Natalie Williams (8:54), Elwyn Howell (9:37), Gladys Cheng (10:29) and, on her return to running after a 9 month injury break, Sheila Leavy (13:59).
Three squirrels trekked over to North Wale to run the Coed-y-Brenin trail half marathon. Caroline Thrussell said “The race was everything I love about running. A great atmosphere and really well organised. After recent racing I went at a fairly relaxed pace. It was a challenging route through the forest park with muddy ups that meant one step forward and one slide back, rocky downs where your body goes too fast for your legs and you're not sure where your feet are landing. Lovely friends to support and stunning scenery.” Caroline was first V50 lady, finishing in 2:11. Adam Wilson finished in 2:29 and Paul Bowal in 2:45.
Pat Norris ran the Suffolk Trail Festival 24hr ultra over two days (Saturday and Sunday). Pat said “I managed to get my nutrition right this time but I got caught by not having the right clothing for the drop in temperature overnight and had to stop between 3.30 and 4.30 to wait for sun up before I carried on. The course was mostly on grass trail, which managed to wreck my right calf which eventually slowed me down.” Pat said he found running at night “quite different but rather relaxing” though he now has a lot of sleep to catch up on.
Quite a different experience running in the night but rather relaxing (just have to make up for the loss of sleep now). Talking about ultras he said “an ultra is all about one’s personal battle with the distance and terrain. There were teams entered for the event but I finished as a solo runner far from last place. I managed to complete 10 of the 20, 5-mile loops, giving me a 50-mile total in 22 hours. I was actually aiming for 60 miles but my leg prevented this (last year’s winner managed 85 miles) , but I'm still very happy with my result although my toes have never looked so bad as they are at the moment!”
Stewart Overton led the field at a very muddy the Letchworth Parkrun on Saturday, finishing 1st in 18:25. Oliver Brady was 3rd in 19:50. Other finishers for the Squirrels were James Dalton (21:27), Chris Stokes (24:40) Jennie Fraser (a course PB of 24:46), Ian Datlen (24:46), Ellie Scott (26:28), Carl Goodrum (29:09), Naomi Parkinson (30:56), Carol Goodrum (37:06). In other parkruns, Chris Poole ran Ellen Brook Fields in 24:42. At Wimpole Estate Vince Wright finished in 22:16, Jillian Boys in 25:24. Glyn Blakey ran Tees Barrage in 30:32. Helen Giffin ran Stevenage in 31:20. Brian Judkins ran Cambridge in 36:40 and Jane Clarke ran Moors Valley in 23:20.
‘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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