Stellar Performance by Both Men’s and Women’s Teams
A whopping 47 squirrels participated in the Three Counties XC League at Delapre Abbey, Northampton, hosted by Wootton Road Runners. The course was refreshed with a new route in the reverse direction to the usual one, adding an extra layer of challenge as all the ups became downs and vice versa. The weather may have been cold, but the sun shone bright, creating a fabulous morning for cross country.
Women's Team Triumph
Our women's team emerged victorious, beating both Rugby and Northampton A.C. and Wootton Road Runners on their own turf. Katie Harbon led the charge, securing the first position, followed by Hannah Ridley (8th), Rhia Botha (12th), and Tash Pitman (15th), who all played crucial roles in the triumph.
Men's Team Excellence
The men's team showcased their strength, securing a commendable 2nd place behind a superb Rugby and Northampton A.C. The combined team results placed NHRR 2nd overall, narrowly trailing behind Rugby and Northampton A.C.
Scoring for the men were: Sam Coxon (7th), Mike Roberts (8th), Darren Sunter (9th), Ben Sewell (21st), Stewart Overton (23rd) Vince Wright (25th), Rob Jowett (27th) and Shahab Ahmed (30th).
After two races, our women's team unsurprisingly stands strong at the top, leading by 2 points. The men's team is holding 2nd place, trailing by 2 points to RNAC but leading AFF by 2 points. In the combined team competition, NHRR is in 2nd place, level on points with RNAC. The next event is our home race, so as team captain John Auld puts it, let's embrace the mud and kick off the festive period with some fantastic running!
The Joker (a.k.a Paula Holm) fled from Batman and Robin to achieve 1st ‘Masked’ Lady while Mike and Natalie Phillips achieved their Parkrun PBs in 19:36 and 23:01 respectively..Here are the results:
Full list of results;
Richard Springall 1:29:12, Rachel Arnott 1:32:47, Paula Holm 1:37:05 Dave Braybrook 1:44:22 Phil Hunt 1:50:33, Laurie Scott 1:55:57, Anna Gibson 2:01:19, Gregor Bowie 2:03:26, Jenna Manggos 2:07:52, Richard Barker 2:07:53, Nick Walker 2:11:14, Ruth Summers 2:11:15, Alan Hazlehurst 2:17:39.
MK Wolverton 5 Miles
Steve and Astrid McKeown, Karen Dodsworth and Linda Aird ran the Wolverton 5 on Saturday. This is known as a fast, one and a half lap race around Willen Lakes in Milton Keynes. The trees were looking beautiful in their autumn colours, and they were looking forward to running around the lakes, despite the drizzle and a strong breeze blowing. Aird comments “we could see during our warm ups that this was a competitive field, with many speedy looking runners getting ready to race (results show the first man home finished in 23:29, impressive for a 5 mile race.)” Those at the slower end soon found themselves running mainly on their own. Aird would have liked more lakeside running and less roadside, but comments that it was a pleasant, traffic-free course around the redways and underpasses of MK. Steve McKeown was first Squirrel home in 32:23, followed soon after by Astrid in 34:05 (1st V50 and a new club FV50 record) Linda Aird finished in 45:18, closely followed by Karen Dodsworth in 45:35.
Two squirrels headed to Brighton to compete in the Brighton 10k on Sunday. An out and back course along the sea front should have made for a fast, flat race but the 40mph winds meant a great tailwind on the way out for the first 5k, but a brutal headwind on the way back towards the finish. Pete Sibbett finished in 41:30 and Katie Harbon who was racing for Hertfordshire, finished 4th female in a time of 36:42. Katie commented “the crowds and marshals were great and it was, as always, an honour to wear the county vest!”
Cross Country Championships
John Auld was the only Squirrel to run at the Eastern Athletics Association (EAA) and Eastern Masters (EMAC) Cross Country Championships on Saturday held at Horseheath Racecourse.
Designed for horses, Auld says that the course is fantastic - a proper cross country course! Up and down hills for no reason other than to make it difficult. The ground was very soft from all the rain. The route takes runners over some of the obstacles for the horses and includes some very short sharp hills and bits through the woods. Another part went up a hill to turn round a cone at the top to come straight back down to another cone - and head straight back up again! Auld’s best part was a huge water feature that you had to run through 3 times! The course climbed a hill into the wind, just to bring competitors back down to go through the water, only to head straight back up the hill again - this time with wet, cold legs!
Auld set off dead last but ran his way up and past 3 people to finish 33rd/36. He ran 2 laps tempo then pushed on in the last lap and had a battle with someone which was satisfying to win.
Conwy Half Marathon
Jo Sopala travel to Conwy to take part in the Conwy Half Marathon in what can only be described as atrocious conditions! Sopala said they were drenched before they even started and the wind gained in strength as the miles ticked (dragged?) by. Describing the course, Jo said, the advantage of the two mile uphill climb on the Orme is usually the two mile downhill run where you can make up a lot of time. But that was not the case this year. Having fought their way to the summit, they rounded the bend to be hit by brutal winds and even more driving rain. The runners could barely stand, let alone run. Sopala commented that for once she was grateful of her very short stature as she could see a lot of tall guys struggling even more! Sopala finished in 2:36, a long way off her planned time, but a course PB. She gave kudos to the marshals on the course, the real heroes of the day, who withstood the storms to keep the runners all safe.
On Saturday, six North Herts Road Runners headed to the heart of running, Battersea Park in London to take part in the Sri Chimnoy 10k. Ben Sewell explained that the conditions were perfect, and the flat course made for perfect PB potential. And they certainly achieved that!
Sophie Thrussell was NHRR’s first lady over the line in a superb time of 40:59, followed by Emma Sandham who got a huge 1 minute 40 second PB of 46:21 following an extremely successful new training plan.
In the men’s race, Stewart Overton led the pack out for the first 4km, ultimately assisting three runners to huge PB’s. Ben Sewell crossed the line first, dipping just under 34 and a half minutes, in a time of 34:28, closely followed by Tom Barclay with a 35 second PB of 34:37. Shahab Ahmad followed with another PB coming home in 34:43 and Stewart Overton powered to the finish in 35:03. A shout out to Stewart for controlling the pace and leading the guys out for the first half!
Age Group Success By Nightlight
Elsewhere, six squirrels headed to Rutland Water to take part in the Rutland Water Nighttime 10k. Lucy O’Connor, Linda Aird, Miranda Morgan and Georgia Barker all achieved age group placing, with Lucy in 2nd place, Linda 1st, Miranda in 3rd and Georgia in 4th.
Jo Kenlin and Richard Barker also took part in the event. Lucy said it was a fab event and very popular with around 450 runners taking part. Plenty of runners choose to wear fairy lights and due to the out and back design of the course, many runners see a stream of lovely colourful lights as runners make their way back to the finish.
Parkrun round up
North Herts Road Runners turned out in huge numbers at the Run Around Garden event, held on their doorstep in the centre of Letchworth Garden City on Sunday. An amazing 62 Squirrels tackled the 5k race and a further 21 took on the one mile challenge, with some doubling up and doing both races before joining their families in the follow-up Fun Run.
The festival of running was organised by Love Letchworth and supported by local businesses, with NHRR providing many of the marshals and helpers. Andreea Weisl-Shaw spoke for many when she said she said ‘ It was a lovely experience on a crisp sunny morning - fantastic to spend time with our club mates and to see so many of them get personal bests and generally do a brilliant job. I felt very proud to wear the club vest for sure!’
Tom Webb stormed to victory in the 5k, his 16:10 finish putting him more than two minutes clear of the 231-strong field. Ian Datlen was third in an excellent 19:08.
Hannah Ridley made it a North Herts double by taking the ladies’ title in 19:36. Rhia Botha and Sophie Thrussell ensured an all-NHRR female podium with 19:39 and 19:43 respectively.
Shahab Ahmad clocked a superb 5:17 to take gold in the mile race, with Michael Over and Ian Datlen close behind in 5:39 and 5:41. Rhia Botha went one better in her second race of the day; finishing as first lady this time in 6:00, with Tracy Pitcairn second in 6:19.
Other NHRR finishers:
Michael Over, 19:23; Nathaniel Rosa, 19:33; Mike Phillips, 19:36; Ian Harvey, 19:52; Pete Sibbett, 20:02; Oliver White, 20:05, David Edwards, 20:12; James Dalton, 20:10; Will Harrison, 20:14; Alex Robinson, 20:24; Andrew Wallis, 21:11; Tracy Pitcairn, 21:35; Aaron Gillich, 21:49; Simon Clapham, 21:55; David Weston, 22:24; Laura Fairbanks, 22:28; Dan Mallett, 22:42; Stuart Cocks, 23:05; Natalie Phillips, 23:21; Andrew Coates, 23:36: Matt Ankers, 23:44; Nicola Withington, 24:11; Phil Hunt, 24:06; Barbara Sayers, 24:10; Eve Surridge, 24:10; Georgina Quayle, 24:41; Laurie Scott, 24:51; Ellie Frid, 25:13; Lucy O’Connor, 25:24; Anna Gibson, 25:32; Tim Banting, 26:17; Stuart Braid, 26:15; Jane Molloy, 26:40; Andreea Weisl-Shaw, 27:02; Grace Cleary, 26:53; Linda Aird, 27:31; Jillian Tooley-Boys, 27:47; Natalie Fiddy, 27:56; Andrew Robson, 28:18; Alan Hazelhurst, 28:54; Lucia Perez-Alonso, 29:13; Victoria Markham, 29:26; Geoff Davis, 29:56; Aimee Flack, 29:56; Philip Flack, 30:20; Neill Withington, 30:37; Anna Priestley, 30:49; Julie Taylor, 30:52; Amanda Greig, 31:08; Helen Giffin, 31:14; Carina Quayle, 33:01; Brian Judkins, 33:59; Caroline Nobbs, 34:05; Farzana Bhatti, 34:31; Eleanor Hill, 34:35; Hayley Cocks, 39:18
David Edwards, 5:53; Nathaniel Rosa, 5:57; Simon Clapham, 6:12; Stuart Cocks, 6:30; Phil Hunt, 7.03; Laurie Scott, 7.12; Andrew Coates, 7,17; Natalie Phillips, 7,24; Georgina Quayle, 7:29; Andrew Robson, 8:32; Alan Hazelhurst, 8:45; Andreea Weisl-Shaw, 9:56; Farzana Bhatti, 10:43; Sheila Leavy, 12:21
First Saturday of the Month 5k
There were 43 finishers on a very wet and muddy Norton Common in the November First Saturday of the Month 5k. Matt Sayers was first across the line in 20:09 and Astrid McKeown was first lady in 23:48.
Other NHRR finishers:
John Auld, 21:05, Steve McKeown, 21:17; Mike Phillips, 23:04; Dave Braybrook, 23:13, Richard Harbon, 23:54; Ian Datlen, 23:56; Andrew Coates, 26:24; Matt Roberts, 26:27; Jillian Tooley-Boys, 26:30; James Dalton, 26:53; Anna Greetham, 27:04; James Walsh, 27:06; Ian Harvey, 27:47; Rhia Botha, 28:39; Natalie Phillips, 28:40; Michael Over, 28:41, Alan Hazelhurst, 30:45; Amanda Greig, 33:40; Helen Harbon, 35:10; Farzana Bhatti, 41:57
Yet more Squirrels headed to Knebworth for the Hertfordshire Half Marathon. Georgia Head made her 13.1-mile debut in fine style, clocking 1:53:55, despite having to stop for a herd of deer crossing the course at mile nine!
Caroline Thrussell was first in her age category with 1:47:36 and Dervla Downing recorded her best time on this course with 1:47:26 in what Georgia described as ‘perfect weather for the race, if a bit of a headwind in places’. Adam Wilson finished in 1:58:37.
Parkrun round-up Saturday 4 November
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