North Herts Road Runners enjoyed cross country success this weekend in the third race of the Three Counties XC league at Wing, Bucks. The squirrels were very pleased with a strong team performance on the 4.8 mile countryside course. Mark Vaughan (5th), Jim McConnell (6th), Ed Price (8th), Adam Bowller (9th), John Auld (24th), Nick Malpelli (31st), Darren Matussa (32nd), and John Raynor (33rd) won the men’s team race and the ladies team of Katie Harbon (68th), Kat Burr (133rd), Paula Adams (175th) and Tash Pitman (176th) finished in 4th place in the ladies competition with North Herts Road Runners finishing in 2nd place overall on the day. In total, there were 34 squirrels, also running were Spencer Bevan (47), James Keogh (54), Adrian Sherwood (81), Richard Harbon (82), Vincent Wright (88), Peter Sibbett (115), Greg Pounder (128), Chloe Lucas (195), Yuko Gordon (204), Chris Poole (276), Jo Harbon (238), Linda Aird (249), Adam Wilson (251), Miranda Morgan (274), Paul Bowal (292), Andee Price (295), Rachel Pounder (298), Sue Vaughan (299), Sarah Millhouse (304), Lindsay Cook (317), Brian Judkins (334) and Monica Cullen.
Also in action on Sunday was Ian Sutcliffe at the Hatfield 5 mile, he knocked 2 minutes off last year’s time to record a new club record of 41:49. Jo Summers was in marathon action again finishing the 5 lap Colworth Hare and Tortoise Marathon in 4:20. Further afield, Michelle Grudsinski took part in the East Midlands 10km racing through the hangars, fire station and airport roads of East Midlands Airport. She was delighted to knock almost 2 minutes off her personal best finishing in 50:37.
In parkrun action on Saturday morning were Simon Poole (9th, 19:49) at Bicester, Helen Giffin (169th, 30:53) at Panshanger, Chris Poole (27th, 23:24) at Upton Court, Stephen Lummis (27th, 22:26), Ollie Garbas (41st, 23:44) and Bob Davis (65th, 25:40) at Stevenage.
North Herts Road runners defied the weekend’s stormy conditions with some impressive results in cross-country and half-marathon competition.
The biggest contingent of squirrels was at Wootton, Northants, for the second of five fixtures in the Three Counties Cross Country League. A strong set of performances on the four-mile parkland course saw the men’s team place second out of 12 clubs and the ladies seventh, making NHRR second club overall on the day.
The North Herts team was boosted by several members – Chloe Lucas, Jeni Spurr-Jones and Sheila Leavy – all making their cross-country debuts.
Mark Vaughan led the Squirrels home with an impressive second place, and Jim McConnell and Ed Price were close behind in fourth and seventh respectively. Katie Harbon was the club’s first female finisher in 58th.
Full NHRR results: 2nd Mark Vaughan, 4th Jim McConnell, 7th Ed Price, 17th Adam Bowller, 23rd John Auld, 27th Nick Malpeli, 30th Darren Sunter, 50th James Keogh, 58th Katie Harbon, 59th Stewart Overton, 84th Richard Harbon, 114th Pete Sibbett, 151st Hannah Fisher, 193rd Chloe Lucas, 198th Jo Harbon, 201st Yuko Gordon, 221st Matt Ankers, 224th Adam Wilson, 227th Linda Aird, 236th Helen Harbon, 253rd Chris Poole, 263rd Miranda Morgan, 274th Brian Bailey, 282nd Sue Vaughan, 302nd Lindsay Cook, 304th Jeni Spurr-Jones, 321st Sheila Leavy, 331st Brian Judkins.
A further 14 NHRR athletes ran the St Neots Half-marathon, where the strong headwind in the closing miles presented an extra challenge. Consistent training and regular racing delivered rewards for Vince Wright and Caroline Thrussell, who both beat personal bests of some years standing. Vince took 3 minutes off a 16 year-old PB with an excellent 1.28.08 finish and Caroline’s new best was 1.40.16. Darren Matussa was the first NHRR finisher in 1.23.51 and Paula Adams was third in the 45+ age group with 1.34.27.
Full NHRR results from St Neots: Darren Matussa 1.23.51, Vince Wright 1.28.0, Steve Tracey 1.29.02, Chris Stokes 1.34.06, Paula Adams 1.34.27, Mark Young 1.34.59, Martyn Annetts 1.37.11, Kat Burr 1.38.16, Barbara Sayers 1.39.40, Caroline Thrussell 1.40.16, Suzy Trott 1.41.53, Jane Clarke 1.45.21, Claire O’Sullivan 1.48.25, Nicky Kemp 1.49.58, Georgina Quayle 2.04.46, Carina Quayle 2.14.57.
Michelle and Andy Grudzinski travelled to north Wales for the Conwy Half-marathon, finishing the very hilly course in 2.09.33 and 2.17.47 respectively.
100 Marathon Club member Jo Summers clocked up yet another 26.2 miles by completing the Steppingley Step – an off-road route including Ampthill Park and Sharpenhoe Clappers. Jo finished in 4 hrs 41 mins.
As this year marked the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme North Herts Road Runners decided to lay poppies on the headstones of our WW1 heroes and read a poem in remembrance of all those who lost their lives during the two world wars and later conflicts. Three groups set out from the club on Sunday and ran to cemeteries in Hitchin, Willian and Norton before meeting together at the Cenotaph in Letchworth where they laid the final wreath of poppies. The poppy run proved to be a moving and emotional experience for all those who took part and will hopefully become an annual event for the club on remembrance Sunday.
Two squirrels took part in the Grand Union Half Marathon in sunny conditions. The course which ran along the famous canal path started in Uxbridge and finished in Cassiobury Park. Helen Govey finished her first half marathon in 2:24:02. She joined the club this time last year new to running in our Learn to Run course that took her from couch to 5k and has progressed brilliantly to complete her first half marathon within the year. Monica Cullen also ran finishing in 3:21:50 which secured her second place in the FV70 category.
Saturday saw five North Herts Road Runners take part in Parkruns. Simon Poole was quickest at Bedford in 19:42, in Stevenage Ollie Garbas finished in 21:58 followed by Chloe Lucas in 23:39. Chris Poole ran Aylesbury parkrun in 23:47 while Ellie Scott was in Norwich and finished in 24:19.
Several Squirrels ran Parkruns this week. Steve Tracey ran at Bedford, finishing 5th overall and 1st MV45 – in 19:15 – not quite a PB, but close. However, this was a PB for the course by 1 second. Simon Poole ran Finsbury, finishing in 13th in a time of 19:26. Brian Judkins ran Cambridge, finishing in 31:21. Steve Williamson ran Kettering, finishing in 22:19. Chris Poole ran Erddig, finishing in 25:27. Several squirrels ran at Stevenage. Darren Matussa finished 8th in 18:55. Chloe Lucas finished 41st and 4th Female in 22:46. Bob Davis finished in 25:28. Sarah Millhouse finished in a great time of 26:31. Lindsay Cook finished in 28:44 and Sheila Leavy finished in 29:13.
A few squirrels ran the Hitchin HOOP self navigation trail race. The route is an 12 mile undulating trail which starts in the market place and includes some of the Letchworth Greenway and Oughtonhead Common. Completing the course was Sue Foot, Caroline Thrussell, Andy Grudzinski and Stewart Overton.
Adam Wilson ventured into London for the River Thames half marathon in 1:57:56 achieving a fantastic PB by 2 mins.
Michelle Grudzinski ran the Marathon Eyrl. The race starts at the base of Snowdon and winds round the beautiful Autumn Welsh scenery which included two large hills. Michelle finished in 5:20:45.
Jo Summers completed the Start 30, along the River Stort starting from Bishops Stortford, she finished in 4:32, a PB by 14mins and retained her title in the UK Trail Running Association Championships for V50.
Linda Aird was the solitary squirrel running the Ricky Road Run. Battling the fog, the route was also a relentlessly undulating course, with two really big hills. Linda was well prepared for the conditions with the clubs recent hill training and also training on the Norfolk beach shingles. Consequently she finished 3rd V55 overall – however received silver medal in the county championships.
Nick Malpeli was the only squirrel at the Fenlan, Nick finished in 1:00:58, 21st overall and 3rd V50. The race incorporated Eastern Masters 10 mile championships, within which NIck won gold in MV50 category.
North Herts Road Runners had a great start to the Winter Cross Country Season on Sunday in Wellingborough. On a tough, hilly parkland course with 2 river crossings the men’s team were delighted to place 2nd and the ladies were 4th leaving NHRR in 3rd place overall after the first race. Mark Vaughan lead in the mens scoring team in 4th position, Jim McConnell was 6th closely followed by Adam Bowller (7), Ed Price (10), John Auld (26), Spencer Bevan (36), Nick Malpeli (42) and Dan Hills in (50). The ladies scoring team were lead home by Kat Burr in 130th followed by Paula Adams (162), Tash Pitman (168)) and Linda Aird completed the scoring team in 282nd place. Also running were James Keogh (67), Adrian Sherwood (87), Vince Wright (91), Dave Frampton (123), Chris Poole (281), Sarah Millhouse (311) and Sue Vaughan (336).
Further afield on Sunday, 3 squirrels ran the Great South run in Portsmouth, In this high quality race, Darren Matussa knocked an amazing 8 minutes off his previous personal best for 10 miles finishing in 1:02:43. Helen Nuttall also impressed completing the course in 1:07:14 (25th woman and 4th in age group). On a good day for running, Olly Garbas also ran a new personal best of 1:08:17.
In marathon action on Sunday was Martyn Annetts in Abingdon who finished in 3:33:10 and Jo Summers in Chelmsford finishing in 3:50.
In Stevenage on Saturday, 5 NHRR members took part in the parkrun. Simon Poole was first home in 17th in 20:41 and Stephen Lummis got a new personal best time of 22:12 (33). Also running were Christian Allen (39, 22:52), Sarah Millhouse (92, 26:33) and Sheila Leavy (14, 29:43). In other parkrun action were Chris Poole in Hadleigh (73, 26:58), Chloe Lucas (150, 23:35) and Ellie Scott (169, 23:57th) in Norwich ad Helen Giffin took part in the Wimpole Estate parkrun finishing in 277th in 31:52.
North Herts Road Runners kicked off the cross-country season with a strong set of performances at the Ampthill Trophy – the annual curtain-raiser before the first league fixture on the mud and hills next week.
On a challenging and very hilly course in scenic Ampthill Park, both NHRR men’s and ladies’ teams finished second – the men only beaten by a very strong contingent from Cambridge University.
The NHRR medallists for the ladies were Helen Harbon (14th lady in 57.04), Jo Harbon (15th, 57.30) and Linda Aird (17th, 58.00). The men’s team was Andrew Leach (7th in 37.41 and first in the 40-plus age group), Mark Vaughan (8th,37.58) and Adam Bowller (10th,38.08).
Other NHRR finishers at Ampthill were Richard Harbon (45.45), Dave Frampton (46.36 and first in the V60 age-group), Vince Wright (47.07), Matt Ankers (61.14) and Sue Vaughan (67.06).
Further afield, Darren Sunter delivered a stunning marathon debut with a 3.04.44 clocking in Amsterdam. Sunter was on course for a sub-3 hours finish until cramp struck with just 4 miles to go. He is now aiming to bank the experience and break the 3-hour barrier next year. Seasoned marathoner Andy Mutton ran an equally impressive 3.03.23 in the same race.
John Auld confirmed his impressive progress of recent months with a personal best of 1.20.54 in the Manchester Half-marathon. Auld reduced his half-marathon time by an amazing 3 minutes and joins team-mate Sunter in a growing group of NHRR athletes training for sub-3 marathon glory next year.
Also running in Manchester were Lindsay Cook, who was delighted with her time of 2.13-12 – well inside her 2.15 target – and John Rayner, who was pleased to complete the course comfortably after an injury lay-off.
Spencer Bevan recorded an excellent 1.25.58 in the heat of the Palma de Mallorca Half-marathon – finishing an impressive 42nd in the field of almost 4,000.