North Herts Road Runners celebrated the scorching summer with a ‘Dawn and Dusk’ double-header version of their monthly 5k run on Norton Common.
The ‘First Saturday of the Month’ 5k is well established as a popular fixture in the local running calendar with a regular 9.00am start time, but the one-off addition of an evening run proved popular,, with over 150 people taking part over the two runs – including 10 who completed both. Many runners and their families rounded off the evening event with a picnic and a celebration after the World Cup excitement. Race Director Steve McKeown said ‘It was a chilled and fun atmosphere, with lovely weather. I imagine we’ll be doing it again next midsummer’.
Home club NHRR enjoyed a 1-2-3 finish in the morning event with Paul Jackson first in 18:25 and James Keogh and Adrian Sherwood close behind. Fellow Squirrel Sarah Mitcherson took the ladies’ honours in 20:37.
Hitchin Running Club’s Oliver Saville stormed home first in the evening with a time of 17:15 and Emily Hutchinson was first lady in an excellent 18:49.
Fresh from masterminding the ‘Dawn and Dusk’ event, NHRR’s Steve McKeown was up early the next morning to lead a strong contingent of Squirrels at the Hitchin Triathlon. Steve won the event overall, completing the 400m swim, 20k bike section and 5k run in a blistering 59:51.
John Auld chose the Hitchin event for his triathlon debut and finished 19th despite finding that he ‘really struggled off the bike – it’s horrible!’ Lindsay Cook, Helen Cairns, Jo Harbon and Andrew Robson were also competing, with Lindsay and Andrew among those reporting faster times than last year.
It was a double celebration for the McKeowns as NHRR Chairperson Astrid McKeown won the Ware 10-mile race in 1:09:11 and reported her gratitude at being ‘hosed down by local residents – a nice touch’ in the hot conditions.
Earlier in the week five NHRR runners tackled the first race in the Midsummer Series 5-mile race at the Woodhall Estate in what Linda Aird described as ‘very, very hot’ conditions’. Naomi Parkinson was the first NHRR finisher, taking the third senior lady spot in 40:04, with Jillian Boys in 41:04, Lucy Hurley 43:43, Linda Aird 45:07 and Alan Hazlehurst 45:11.
Michelle Grudzinski overcame running ‘low on fuel reserves and struggling a lot’ in the latter stages of the 46k Maverick Ultra in the Peak District. Despite feeling ‘sick and shaking’, Michelle finished in 9 hours 54.
Jo Summers completed a remarkable Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday three marathons in a week as part of the Great Barrow 10 in 10 Days Challenge, including setting a new course record of 3 hours 52 for the Wednesday route.
Monica Cullin reported it was ‘very hot, but I managed to get round’ after finishing the Weybridge 10k in 1:39:23 and Jennie Andrews and Linsey Ashley complet
Wednesday saw the final Mid Week League Race of the Summer take place in Stevenage. North Herts entered the race in 4th place looking to secure their position and avoid relegation having only been promoted last year to division 1. The rallying call went out from President Harbon and the squirrels responded. Either by making vast quantities of delicious rolls and cakes, donning hi-vis jackets and cheering on all the runners as loud as possible, handing out desperately needed water or running as fast as possible to secure our division 1 place.
The rolls were delicious.
The marshalling was efficient.
The water was thirst quenching.
The racing was sublime.
Not only did North Herts secure their place in division 1, they finished an incredible second overall. This was down to outstanding racing in the final run. The men’s team, women’s team, men’s vets team and women’s vets team all finished 1st in their respective category. Jim McConnel finished 2nd in 34:15 followed by Andrew Leech in 34:29 and Darren Sunter in 34:56. All in all 62 squirrels took place including an outstanding Katie Harbon finishing first female in 38:57 making her first female overall. In addition the Vets Men finished 1st overall. Once again North Herts Road Runners demonstrated their team spirit and support for one another and running in general with a superb attitude from everyone whether marshalling or running. Congratulations to Ellie Scott as MWL Rep for organising such a successful season.
Elsewhere this week Jo Summers continued to tick off the marathons by finishing the Great Barrow Challenge day 4 of 10 marathons in 10 days in a time of 4:39 and Naomi Parkinson and Alan Hazlehurst ran the Great Bassingbourn half marathon. Naomi finished in 1hr 59 and Alan in 2hr 04 on a very hot and undulating course with absolutely no shade!
Stewart Overton continued his fine form by winning the King’s Lynn Parkrun in a time of 17:16 and Dave Annetts entered the Jim Sharlott 10k incorporating the BMAF 10k championships. This being a famous race in the walking calendar Dave managed to complete the course in 54:02 winning the V50 category and finishing 2nd overall
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