With it being half term for many, this weekend proved popular for a spot of Parkrun tourism. Elwyn Howell recorded a fantastic 21:58 PB finishing 1st in his age category, 19th overall.
Ten club runners made the short trip over to the new Henlow Bridge Lakes Parkrun. Stuart Overton finished 2nd overall in a time of 18:37 closely followed by John Auld in 4th (18:58). Kat Hinett was 2nd lady in a time of 23:56. Staying within Bedfordshire, Mark Vaughan ran an amazing PB of 16:56 over at the Great Denham Parkrun.
Down at the local Letchworth Parkrun, Tom Webb led the pack finishing first in a time of 17:45. Natasha Pitman was 1st lady with a time of 21:58.
The results from last weeks opening Cross Country race in Cheshunt are in. The men’s team were 2nd with the masters team winners. Ladies were 10th but its very close in the scoring. The masters team were 5th on the count back. Overall we were 2nd behind Watford and just ahead of Trent Park. These are great results and it’s a great start to the season.
Full Parkrun results
Kettering Parkrun, Steve Williamson 23:19
Stevenage Parkrun, Anna Greetham 23:19 (3rd lady), Andrew Coates 23:36, Julie Toland 24:42
Homewood Parkrun, Vincent Wright 20:34
Mount Edgcumbe Parkrun, Steve Brenton 25:28
Dogellau Parkrun, 22:10
Letchworth Parkrun, Tom Webb 17:45, Phillip Hawkes 20:54, James Dalton 21:21, Natasha Pitman 21:58, Ian Datlen 22:48, Ellie Scott 26:40, Carl Goodrum 27:15, Elenor Biggs 30:16.
Great Denham Parkrun, Mark Vaughan 16:56, Sue Vaughan 27:05.
Teignmouth Promenade Parkrun, Elwyn Howell 21:14.
Henlow Bridge Lakes Parkrun, Stewart Overton 18:37, John Auld 18:58, Dave Braybrook 22:03, Richard Harbon 22:51, Richard Weber 23:15, Kat Hinett 23:56, Lucy O’Connor 25:08, Tim Banting 25:49, Rob Milburn 27:45, Jillian Boys 29:29.
Storeys Field Parkurn, Joseph Sherry 26:47
Squirrels were out racing in force this weekend with some pushing for their Half Marathon PBS on the back of their marathon training, with Oxford and Cambridge battling it out to put on the most scenic and well supported races! While others dusted off their spikes and warm coats in preparation for the cross country season ahead.
The Cross Country season commenced this weekend with the first of five meets in the Sunday XC League. Twenty squirrels made the journey to Cheshunt to race the challenging course which was described as “quite tough terrain with thick grass and quite a bit of mud about. A lovely course with nearly 3 laps of the grassy muddy hills - which got more and more muddy each lap”. Cross Country representative for the club John Auld “really enjoyed running with team mates, competing as a team again and greatly appreciated the support from the cheer squad”. Positions for the club were as follows; 117 Astrid Mckeown, 133 Tash Pitman, 207 Paula Adams, 225 Helen Cairns, 282 Charlie Jones making the North Herts Road Runners Ladies A Team and 332 Lindsay Cook, 334 Karen Dodsworth, 361 Sue Vaughan completing the Ladies B Team. The Men’s Scoring Team were; 3 Tom Webb, 8 Andrew Leach, 13 Adam Bowller, 16 Mark Vaughan, 17 Stewart Overton, 18 Rob Harris, 41 Vince Wright, 49 John Auld with 86 Ian Datlen, 93 James Keogh, 200 Richard Harbon, 281 Kyle Stout completing the course.
Five squirrels headed to Ampthill for a local Cross Country race - the Ampthill Trophy 10k.
They described the day as “perfect conditions for racing and with a fairly small field there was a super friendly atmosphere and lots of encouragement from the marshals' and supporters.” Ryan had a cracking race and with only 30 seconds between 2nd & 5th place runners, he ran brilliantly to place 4th. Matt ROBERTS and Anna GREETHAM ran together and got lots of cheers for North Herts Road Runners. GREETHAM was very pleased to be the 3rd lady across the finish line.
Georgina & Carina QUAYLE (daughter & Mum) both had strong races and with GREETHAM, QUAYLE and QUAYLE being the only 3 ladies from the same club competing, they also won the Team Ladies medals! Results: 4th Ryan NICHOLL 41.38 24th Anna GREETHAM 50.48 (3rd lady) 25th Matt ROBERTS 50.49 45th Georgina QUAYLE 56.16 61st Carina QUAYLE 69.10.
Declaring similarly perfect weather and recommending the completely flat course, was Dan MALLETT who travelled to Portsmouth to compete in the 10 mile Great South Run. Favourable conditions enabled him to finish in 1:18:36 (a personal best for the distance).
Shaun ALLIN, Dave BRAYBROOK, Kat HINNIT, Lucy O'CONNOR and Arnie PARMAR visited Cambridge for the well organised, excellent, Half Marathon, which takes a varied and scenic route starting at Midsummer Common and heads through the centre of Cambridge, including a fun detour through the iconic King's College, then out to picturesque Grantchester, before returning back through the winding backstreets of the city centre. ALLIN was “super happy” with his PB performance of 1:36:21 and BRAYBROOK 1:41:03, HINNIT 1:43:54 and O’CONNOR 1:50:06 all recorded their second fastest half marathon times with PARMAR clocking a respectable 2:07:45. HINNIT spoke of her delight at being “rewarded with fab medals and an excellent jute goodie bag, filled with a range of much-needed culinary delights including a Twix bar, posh crisps, and a random but retro sachet of Horlicks, in case we need help getting to sleep tonight after all the excitement of the day!” While O’CONNOR (4th in her age category) enjoyed running “a race where there were so many competitors and crowds lining the streets while bands played around the course which gave it a real party atmosphere.” Ian HARVEY attended the Cambridge Town & Gown 10km race the previous day and was elated to smash his previous PB by over 2 minutes to finish in 41:21.
Elwyn HOWELL and Steve BRENTON journeyed West to race the Oxford half marathon - both enjoying the lovely run through the beautiful streets of Oxford. BRENTON completed the course in 1:43:01 – a personal best for the distance, just two weeks after completing his first marathon! And HOWELL clocked a 1:48:56 finishing 23rd out of 120 in his age category.
Jillian TOOLEY-BOYS and her faithful running companion Lulu travelled to Wales to participate in the Red Kite Cani-trail. With over 2,881ft of elevation over the distance, they completed the course in an incredible 4:54:20. TOOLEY-BOYS speaking after the event said “As always, Lulu was an absolute superstar – I couldn’t ask for a better running buddy to tackle those trails”.
With the London Marathon buzz still firmly in our minds, two squirrels headed up to Manchester to compete in the UK’s second largest marathon, the Manchester Marathon. After a few inevitable Covid delays and cancellations they finally took their place on the start line, in atypical Manchester autumn bright blue skies and warm sunshine, to race the 26.2 miles. Mike Roberts had a superb race that went ‘exactly to plan’, and finished in a superb time of 2 hours 38 minutes. Mike Banister also represented NHRR and was ‘over the moon’ with his finishing time of 2 hours 59 minutes, just ducking under that 3 hour barrier. With crowds lining the course and an electric atmosphere, it sounds like one to think about next year!
The weekend also saw the Willow 10k take place in the beautiful surroundings of Hatfield House. Elwyn Howell stormed the course to finish in 13th place just missing the 50 minute barrier by 2 seconds, nevertheless a phenomenal time of 50:02.
Park run was yet again a popular choice for many squirrels who ventured far and wide. In our home town of Letchworth 12 squirrels raced the undulating and muddy course. James Dalton led the club home in 21:06, followed closely by Ian Harvey in 21:27 and Ian Datlen in 21:37. Philip Hawkes also ducked under 22 minutes in a superb time of 21:45, followed by Richard Harbon who managed to keep 24 minutes out of sight to finish in a time of 23:54. Kat Gourd was the first female squirrel home in a fantastic time of 23:56, with Helen Cairns (23:59), Ellie Scott (24:16), Amy Murch (27:12) and Rhia Botha (27:34) also making NHRR proud. Steven Brenton and Philip Flack also ran Letchworth in times of 28:57 and 30:40 respectively. Just down the road in Henlow, four squirrels ran the beautiful Henlow Lakes park run, with Rob Milburn (24:47), Lucy O’Connor (25:14), Rachel Annetts (28:36) and Brian Judkins (33:20) all representing NHRR. Sue Vaughan and Jane Clarke were at Stevenage park run over the weekend with great times of 27:54 and 42:14. Just over the border at Wimpole, Matt Roberts, Anna Greetham and Andrew Coates all smashed out outstanding times on the hilly course in 24:57, 24:57 and 26:11. Slightly further afield, Steve Williamson completed Kettering parkrun in 22:39, John O’Gorman completed Luton Wardown parkrun in 24:07, Darren Matussa completed Gunpowder parkrun in 22:16, Glyn Blakey completed Bower Parkrun in 34:42 and Joe Sherry completed Storeys Parkrun in 25:58.
12 squirrels were thrilled to be pounding the streets of London as the iconic London Marathon returned after a 2 ½ year absence due to Covid. Off the championship start Matt Sayers set a new V45 club record of 2.39.24 finishing just 4 seconds ahead of V50 clubmate Mark Vaughan. Sayers said, “It’s fantastic to be back at London, the atmosphere was electric and the support from clubmates around the course amazing. Running a PB and automatic qualifying time for next year was the icing on the cake.”
Vaughan’s debut marathon was simply sensational and resulted in a 9th place finish in the World Masters V50 competition with yet another club record. Completing the hat trick of club records was V55 Nick Mapeli who stormed across the line in 2.55.33 closely followed by Stewart Overton, 2.57.21. A cracking run from Natalie Lawrence saw her record an amazing 3.01.59 with Sophie Thrussell delighted with her 3.17.27 PB. Anna Gibson was thrilled to finish in 4.06.46 and Steve Brenton bravely battled with cramps in the last 10 miles to run 4.24 and raise an incredible £1362 for Headway Herts, NHRR’s charity of the year in 2020.
Despite the temperature rising during the morning members starting off from later waves also ran superbly and recorded impressive tines: Sue Foot 4.39.30, Julie Toland 4.43.45, Lindsay Cook 4.59.43 and Andrew Porter, 5.20.06. No less impressive were their fund arising efforts with driving instructor Julie raising over a thousand pounds for BRAKE, the road safety charity, and Lindsay Cook and Andrew Porter both supporting the Garden House Hospice Care, NHRR’s current club charity. Lindsay was ecstatic to finish in under 5 hours and record her fastest marathon since 2008. Arnie Parmar finished in 5.07.04 raising money for Leonard Cheshire.
At another iconic venue, Dorney Lake, the setting for the 2012 Olympic rowing, 3 squirrels also undertook the marathon distance. Despite the side winds making conditions challenging strong running saw Dave Braybrook finish in 3.51.49 followed by Cara Sutton, 4.26.52, and Saab Bharaj 5.14.25.
Vanessa Rolfe also mastered the 26.2 miles of the marathon with a 5.47.06 clocking in Belfast whilst Ali Mottram showed incredible determination to complete London virtually in 6.35.28.
On Saturday Dan Mallett took part in the Para10 at the Colchester Garrison. With all entrants having to carry a 15kg rucksack Dan ran strongly to finish in 1.28.38.
Also on Saturday, North Herts Road Runners’ First Saturday of the Month 5km took place on Norton Common. Matthew Ronayne scored a spectacular win in 19.06 whilst Katie Harbon was 1st lady across the line with her dog, Daisy. Road Runners also organised a children’s fun run with all participants receiving a lovely wooden medal from the super squirrel at the finish.
This Sunday morning saw the popular annual Standalone 10km race finally return to Letchworth after a 1-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race also served as the Herts Veterans County Championships, which saw the county’s best veteran runners toe the line.
Fortunately, the weather gods were smiling down on Standalone farm for the long-awaited return of the North Herts Road Runners’ flagship event, which took place on a perfect autumn morning with ideal running conditions. As in previous years, the race started on Wilbury Road outside Standalone farm and headed out into a 10km loop through the closed roads of Letchworth, Norton, and Stotfold, before passing the Fairfield estate and finishing back at the farm itself, where a cheering crowd, Samba band, and delicious local catering facilities awaited. Almost 800 runners completed the race, and were treated to cheers of encouragement around the course from enthusiastic volunteers from the North Herts Road Runners, with over 90 marshals positioned around the 10 km route. Due to the ongoing uncertainties with the COVID-19 pandemic, the race committee pulled out all the stops, only having 3 months to organise the event compared to the usual 9 months!
Both the men’s and ladies teams from the North Herts Road Runners won the team prizes. James Fox was the first squirrel home in a stunning 33:28 taking 2nd place overall, after a hard-fought battle with first placed Stephen Buckle from local rivals St Albans Striders. He was joined in the men’s winning team by Andrew Leach 34:20, Eliot Buckner 35:18, Steward Overton 35:27, Ed Price 36:10, Peter Clarke 37:07, Rob Harris 37:55 and Vince Wright 39:12. Andrew won the Herts County Veterans 50-59 category, with Steward winning the 40-49 age group. The winning ladies team was led home by Katie Harbon in 38:00, who is having her best season to date and an impressive second place, behind the very experienced Herts Phoenix athlete Lizzie Janes who has dominated the ladies field in the last decade having won six of the seven Standalone 10k races she has entered. Katie was backed up by her teammates Tash Pitman 42:00, Astrid McKeown 43:54, Paula Holm 45:10 and Lucy O’Connor 50:26, who finished an impressive fourth place in the over-55s age category.
Every finisher received a Standalone t-shirt as a memento; the colour of these highly sought-after and collectible shirts changes each year, and this year the colour scheme was white and red to reflect team GB’s success at the Olympics.
Meanwhile, squirrel David Glennie decided to venture a little further afield and ran the Great Manchester Half marathon in a new personal best of 2:31:44. He was delighted with his time which was 20 minutes quicker than his previous half marathon, and commented that the race had “perfect weather and a great atmosphere.”
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