North Herts Road Runners turned up at the FVS 3k relays with a fast and furious attitude on Thursday.
The event, which is organised by Fairland’s Valley Striders and has been missed for the past couple of years due to Covid and hot weather. The race is a Road Relay for Men and Women from local running clubs in Hertfordshire / Bedfordshire. Each leg is 3km and 4 members must complete a leg to make up team. 56 North Herts Road Runners turned out making up 8 mixed teams, 2 ladies teams and 4 men’s teams.
Provisional results show that North Herts Road Runners women’s team came a phenomenal 1st place overall, with NHRR men finishing 2nd, not far behind Luton. North Herts Road Runners also collected county gold in both the women and men’s races, and the vet’s men’s team won county gold with vet women in silver. Mixed teams from NHRR also finished 2nd and 3rd overall.
John Auld, North Herts Road Runners men’s club captain, said, ‘The event was fantastic. We've all missed the event and it was yet another fantastic evening for NHRR. I was very pleased to see so many squirrels running together, for each other. The atmosphere was amazing.’
Philip Flack took part in the Millennium Country 100th parkrun. Philip came 120th in the race in a superb time of 31:27 and 1st in his age group. The organisers invited runners to wear black so Philip wore his club vest with pride.
Elsewhere, Mike Phillips took part in the Wimpole Estate Parkrun in a time of 21:42. Jim McConnel ventured to Newark Parkrun and finished 2nd place in a time of 18:10. Georgina Quayle completed Sheffield Parkrun in 27:08. Closer to home, James Dalton, James Godfrey and Steve Brenton went to Letchworth Parkrun and finished in 21:23 , 25:54 and 27:26 respectively. At St Marys Linda Aird finished in a great time of 28:41.
Henlow saw a scurry of squirrels take part in the 2 lap course with Dave Braybrook leading the team home in 22:10. James Poulton (23:06), Ian Harvey (24:47), Barbara Sayers (27:56), Rachel Annetts (28:44), Tracey McCreath (34:07), Jillian Boys (37:32) and Sue Boys (37:35).
North Herts Road Runners were finally able to award their 2021 trophies at a wonderful summer garden party on Sunday. Mark Vaughan and Tom Webb were jointly awarded Best Male Club Runner with ladies’ team captain Natasha Pitman scooping the female award.
After battling injuries for a number of years Natasha Pitman enjoyed a stunning 2021 setting 2 club records at Parkrun and 5 miles and winning the Short Course, Long Course and Run of the Month championships. V55 Andrew Leach retained his short course title with a stunning 16.21 5k clocking whilst V50 Mark Vaughan’s 2.39.28 London Marathon debut topped the Long Course championship. Men’s team captain John Auld also retained his Run of the Month Championship trophy taking part in all 13 races in this series.
Matt Roberts ad Anna Greetham both showed great commitment to their running through lockdown and were rewarded with Most Improved trophies.
Two awards are voted for by cub members with Cara Sutton winning NHRR Personality 2021 for being a true superstar and motivating coach whilst the 101% Award was presented to Lead Coach Karen Dodsworth, who organised online strength and conditioning sessions and quizzes throughout the year to keep the club together.
The Coaches also award trophies to runners in each group who have regularly attended training, shown determination in training and been supportive to others in the group. The purple group winner was Clare Hooley, Richard Webber and Helen Cromack scooped the yellow group award, Green group trophy was awarded to Tracy Pitcairn and Michael Over with John Auld and Katie Harbon receiving the blue group award.
Coach David Annetts was honoured with an Outstanding Achievement Award for race walking following his British Masters V55 10k record set in May and his individual 5km silver and 20k team gold at the recent World Masters Track and Field Championships in Finland.
An amazing number of members set club records in 2021 from U19 to V75! 7 ladies ran superbly to set the following new figures: U19 Parkrun Eva McCabe 21.28, V40 Parkrun Paula Holm 21.46,V45 Parkrun Natasha Pitman 20.35, 5M 32.4 and 10M 67.40, V60 Parkrun Lucy O'Connor 25.08 and V65 Parkrun Anna Priestley 30.13. 9 new male records were set by: V35 Parkrun Tom Webb 16.14, V40 Marathon Darren Sunter 2,33.24, V40 5k Stewart Overton 16.25, V45 Marathon Matt Sayers 2.39.24, V50 Parkrun Mark Vaughan 16.56 and Marathon 2.39.28, V55 5M Andrew Leach 27.04 and Parkrun 16.59, V55 Marathon Nick Malpeli 2.55.33, V60 Parkrun Elwyn Howell 21.14, V75 5M Ian Sutcliffe 48.25 and 10k 59.28.
To start a busy weekend several squirrels ran a Parkrun on Saturday. Tom Webb set a new course record of 17.23 when winning at Henlow Bridge Lakes with Stewart Overton 2nd in 17.37. Ian Datlen ran 20.36, Matt Roberts 26.03, Anna Greetham 26.20, Jillian Tooley-Boys 26.27, Andrea Weisi-Shaw 27.40 PB and Natalie Philips 29.31. Local course Letchworth was also a popular venue with 9 squirrel finishers: James Dalton 21.28, Andrew Grudzinski 26.42 PN, Tim Banting 26.45, Kat Gourd 27.14, James Poulton 27.14, Linda Aird 29.33, Geoff Pettengell 33.49 PB, Philip Flack 34.15 and Mike Bullock 37.49. Sue Vaughan raced Stevenage in 29.13 and Richard Harbon recorded 23.48 at St Albans.
Wednesday saw the final event in the Summer Herts Midweek League road race series in Welwyn Garden City when teams from all three divisions came together to compete against each other in the infamous "Mob Match". This was followed the awards presentation for overall team and individual winners from the 4 race series in the 3 divisions. Local clubs taking part were North Herts Road Runners based in Letchworth (the squirrels), Fairlands Valley Spartans based in Stevenage and Hitchin Running Club (the hares) who all relished the opportunity of some friendly rivalry on a rather hot and humid evening. The squirrels, came 3rd, followed by the Striders in 9th and the Hares in 18th. First lady home for the squirrels was Katie Harbon in fine form in 2nd place, closely followed by team mate Anna Klucnika in 4th place on a stunning debut race for the club. Ben Hadham led the male squirrels home in 3rd position after a sprint finish, just 2 seconds short of second placed St Albans rival Stefano Federici. At the post race awards ceremony 3 individual NHRR athletes picked up awards for their performances over the 4-race series. Caroline Thrussell scooped first female veterans 55 award, while Stewart Overton came away with 2nd male in an extremely competitive veterans 40 category. Finally, Tash Pitman was delighted with 3rd place in the female veteran 45 category. Lots of the Mob Match squirrels stayed behind to cheer their clubmates successes and Club Chair Karen Dodsworth commented “it was a shame there wasn’t a trophy for loudest cheer, as we’d have won outright!” On Friday evening Adam Bowller headed over to Bedford to take part in the Beds AAA 10km, where he clocked a speedy 34 minutes and 19 seconds to finish 3rd in the Bedfordshire County Championships.
On Friday evening several squirrels ran the Beds AAA 10km race in Bedford and it proved another hot evening. Adam Bowller said the hot conditions meant it wasn’t particularly quick, although he ran a very quick time of 34:19 and finished 3rd in the race, which also served as the Bedfordshire County Championships. Lucy O’Conner managed an excellent 51.18 and first female veteran 60, while Richard Weber was pleased to get a 2nd best ever 10k time of 46.37. Club coaches Pete Sibbett and Karen Dodsworth also raced and were pleased with their efforts and Dan Mallet used the race to hit his mileage target. They were all happy to be cheered on by the excellent support crew of Brian Judkins and Anna Gibson.
MK 5000 PB Special
Stewart Overton and Mark Vaughan travelled to Milton Keynes on the warm Saturday afternoon to take part in the MK5000 track meet. Stewart said “Due to the heat we both took on a conservative start and paced evenly to work our way through the fields of our respective races.”
Mark finished 2nd in race H in 16:55 and Stewart finished 7th in race G in a time of 16:41. They were both pleased with their performances given the heat the time we raced. A travelling supporting party of Sue Vaughan, Karen and Pete, and John Auld certainly helped to keep us on track with their loud cheers every lap. The NHRR beer and cheer squad was certainly the loudest and helped us both find some extra energy for fast last K’s.
The event took in 12 races concluding with the ladies and mens elite race, A race in which 8 men ran under 14 minutes and the track record was broken in a time of 13:38 !
XTerra Snowdonia Mountain Marathon
Richard Barker had his first DNF aged 50! He completed 20 of the 28 miles of the Cousteau which included Snowdon as he “bonked out at Pen y Pass… hot hot hot but great fun.” His running partner from Biggleswade AC completed it in 6 hrs 30 mins. Richard said it’s “really well organised.. beautiful terrain.. just unusually warm. Recommend it for next year if anyone is interested!”
ASICS London 10k
Elwyn Howell completed this 10km in 51:02 on a boiling day in central London and was pleased to finish a very respectable 14th out of 119 in his age category.
Ian Sutcliffe ran his 2nd Park Run at Henlow Lakes on Sat and his time of 30.38 was 10 seconds quicker than his first visit and he bettered his own club record!
Gedling parkrun: Ed Price 18:07. First place
Letchworth parkrun: Matt Roberts 22:15; James Dalton 22:16; John Russell 25:53; Anna Greetham 25:58; Peter Clarke 33:45; Geoff Pettengell 34:00
Jersey Farm parkrun: Richard Harbon 23:51; Lucy Hurley 28:08
Henlow Bridges parkrun: Jillian Boys 26:55; Anna Gibson 27:02; Rachel Annetts 28:53; Sue Vaughan 29:20; Andreea Weisl-Shaw 29:26; Ian Sutcliffe 30:38; Vicky Haskell 34:15; Sue Boys 37:39
Storeys Field parkrun: Brian Judkins 35:10
Durlston Country Park parkrun: Jim Mcconnell 21:36
A mix of fine team and individual performances was the order of the day as North Herts Road Runners made the most of the summer road running season.
‘It was brilliant running as a team again’ said Ladies’ Captain Tash Pitman after the Squirrels sent a strong contingent of 39 runners and supporters to tackle the hilly 10k course at Trent Park in the fourth and final race in the Summer Midweek League series.
A determined set of performances on the night kept the Letchworth-based club clear of the relegation battle as they secured third place in the end-of-season standings. Rhia Botha led the NHRR ladies home in an excellent time of 44:23, with Paula Holm just a few second further back in 44:45. James Fox was the first male Squirrel home, taking third place in a superb 35:03.
The Squirrels are now looking forward to the end-of-season ‘Mob Match, which will see teams from all three divisions racing together at Welwyn Garden City.
The week’s individual performances were topped by Vince Wright, who said he was ‘honoured’ to be part of the England Masters V45 team at the Wales Half-marathon in Tenby. ‘The course was brutal’, reported Wright’, ‘It felt we were either going up or down hills, and going down was just as painful as going up’. Wright recorded 1:22:27 for his debut in an England vest – his second-fastest half-marathon ever and placing him 8th in his age category. ‘I am so pleased to have this opportunity and will remember the experience’, he said.
Closer to home, Sophie Thrussell was the first lady home at the Hitchin Triathlon, completing the 400m swim, 20k bike course and 5k run in an outstanding 1:10:54 to claim top spot on the podium.
First Saturday of the Month 5k
47 runners enjoyed the July edition of NHRR’s regular First Saturday of the Month 5k on Norton Common. Matt Sayers was first across the line in 19:42 and Paula Holm was first lady in 21:23. The run is free to enter – just turn up with your barcode or register for one in advance at http://www.nhrr.org.uk/fsotm-pre-reg.html
Finally, ultra-marathon specialist Sue Foot turned out for her first-ever Parkrun at Luton’s Wardown Park. Despite ‘not having run 5k for a very long time’, she said she was ‘pleased to finish the three-and-a-half laps in 27:28’ – a new Club record!
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