A strong contingent of North Herts Road Runners delivered a series of good performances at the most popular event in the local racing scene’s Christmas calendar – the Buntingford 10.
Stewart Overton headed the 16-strong team of Squirrels, securing a podium finish with third place and a new best time of 56.11 over the 10-mile course. Looking to ‘push for a good time, Overton said he ‘started fast with the aim of settling in before the hills arrived and with a pack of 3 other runners we reached 5 miles in just under 28 minutes’. After dropping off the pack he managed to ‘move back in around 8 and a half miles’. With 300 metres to go and coach Karen Dodsworth ‘shouting advice’, he managed to ‘kick on for 3rd place’.
Matt Sayers (6th), Rob Harris (15th) and Vince Wright (24th) were not far behind, with Wright transferring his fine recent cross-country form to the roads to knock almost four minutes off his previous best time for the 10 mile distance with 1.03.46. Susan Mansfield recorded 1.26.43 in her debut over 10 miles.
Dave Braybrook just missed his 1.30 target with 1.31.58 and said he ‘would have been just under my target if it wasn’t for the last mile – my legs had nothing left to give’.
Full Buntingford 10 results:
Stewart Overton, 56:11; Matthew Sayers, 57:57; Rob Harris 01:01:12; Vincent Wright, 01:03:46; Peter Sibbett, 01:09:26; Ian Harvey, 1.11.42; Caroline Thrussell, 01:12:10; Stuart Cocks, 01:15:25; Mike Bullock, 1.17.17; Dervla Downing, 01:17:24; Chris Poole, 01:23:21; Lucy O’Connor, 01:24:39; Matt Roberts, 01:25:51; Susan Mansfield, 1.26.43; Helen Harbon, 01:26:54; Matt Ankers, 01:31:40; Dave Braybrook, 01:31:58; Andrew Porter, 1.34.20; Hailey Batson, 01:44:57; Brian Bailey, 01:46:49
Ian Sutcliffe took first prize in the 70-plus age group at the Cambridge 10k with an impressive 54.58, closely followed by Allison Blunt with a new personal best of 58.36 and Elwyn Howell in 55.07.
Ultra-distance specialist Sue Foot ticked off yet another marathon at the Great Barrow ‘Triple Tipple’. Foot admitted she ‘had been suffering with foot pain and not long ago had the flu, but still wanted to get one more marathon in before the end of the year’. She finished in ‘4.46 with lots of walking breaks!’.
The Serpentine 5k was also on the Christmas agenda for some London-based NHRR members, with Darren Matussa completing the 5k Hyde Park course in 18.58 to round off what he said had been ‘a quiet year for me racing-wise’. Team-mate Stewart Overton also took part, finishing in 16.19.
37 Squirrels flew the NHRR flag (or vest) at Parkruns across Britain and beyond over the festive weekend, with Rhia Botha first female at Alberts Farm, Johannesburg, in 23.40 and Sarah Millhouse and John Russell popping up at Parkruns in Australia and the USA respectively. Ed Price was first finisher at Tyne Green Parkrun in 17.06.
NHRR superheroes Susan Mansfiled and Mike Bullock tackled Stevenage Parkrun dressed as Batwoman and Spiderman respectively, with Susan reporting that ‘Mike needed to use all his Spider senses and help from BatWoman to navigate the course as his hero face mask reduced visibility down to zero’. They finished together in 28.26.
Full NHRR Parkrun results this week:
Peter Clarke, 22.24; James Dalton, 22.32; Ian Datlen, 23.20; Dave Braybrrok, 28.52; Angeliki Shearstone, 28.59; Adam Wilson, 29.48; James Poulton, 30.01; Philip Flack, 40.13, Steve Brenton, 54.40
Stuart Cocks, 24.05; Chris Poole, 25.44; Hayley Cocks, 34.32
Claire O’Sullivan, 25.39; Naomi Parkinson, 26.24; Jillian Boys, 26.58; Russell Hagan, 27.22; Susan Mansfield and Mike Bullock, 28.26Danielle Lister, 28.28; Helen Giffin, 28.46; Elwyn Howell, 29.04; Carina Quayle, 30.41; Glyn Blakey, 32.53
Ellie Scott, 24.46
Darren Matussa, 24.29
Brian Judkins, 34.27
Ed Price, 17.06
Carl Haskell, 22.45; Abbie Haskell, 35.25; Vicky Haskell, 35.29
Steve Williamson, 23.37
Bury St Edmunds
Pat Norris, 40.19
Andrew Robson, 24.01
Alberts Farm, South Africa
Rhia Botha, 23.40
Roosevelt Island, DC
John Russell, 26.16
Sarah Millhouse, 28.05
The 100th edition of the Letchworth Parkrun was the most popular place to be for North Herts Road Runners at the weekend, and their recent series of cross-country races proved to be ideal preparation.
12 squirrels tackled the famously demanding Letchworth course, which the organisers declared to be in its ‘muddiest ever’ state after recent downpours.
Stewart Overton found the slippery conditions much to his liking as he stormed through sections described by Parkrun volunteers as ‘the swamp’ and ‘a new sheep dip’ to cross the line first in an excellent 19 minutes and 15 seconds. Overton credited his mastery of the conditions partly to his ‘grippy’ footwear, but also to his determination to ‘just plough through the mud and puddles’. He hailed the ‘great support from the marshals and fellow runners as ever’ and saluted Letchworth Parkrun on being ‘100 not out’.
James Dalton was close behind as fourth finisher in 22.30 with Angeliki Shearstone sixth female in 28.44.
Two Squirrels encountered very different conditions as they took part in Parkruns in South Africa and Australia. Rhia Botha flew the NHRR flag at the Roodepoort Parkrun in Johannesburg, where she finished as second female in 24.10, and Sarah Millhouse clocked 28.18 at the Whitford Nodes Parkrun in Perth, Western Australia.
Full NHRR Parkrun results this week:
Stewart Overton, 19:15; James Dalton, 22.30; Steve Brenton, 26.03; Andrew Coates, 26.15; Angeliki Shearstone, 28.44; Lucy Hurley, 28.54; Naomi Parkinson, 28.54; Tim Banting, 29.26; Jennie Fraser, 31.38; Philip Flack, 32.37; Carl Goodrum, 35.48; Glyn Blakey, 41.07
Carl Haskell, 22.45; Abbie Haskell, 28.36
Helen Giffin, 28.44
Ellie Scott, 25.46, Jane Clarke, 25.51
Jillian Boys, 25.42
Chris Poole, 23.14
Brian Judkins, 33.11
Roodepoort, South Africa
Rhia Botha, 24.10
Whitford Nodes, Western Australia
Sarah Millhouse, 28.18
Sunday morning saw the 3XCX league return to the champions HQ of Standalone farm. A heavy dose of rain and misery had ensured prime cross country conditions were in place. Despite the look of terror on many a runner’s face there was a palpable sense of excitement at charging through the filth and battling carnage corner.
NHRR went into the race in first place but an outstanding effort from the Ampthill men and the Wellingborough ladies means it is all to run for in the final race of the league in Dunstable in the 12th. Currently the men are on level points with Ampthill and the women are 1 point behind Wellingborough. A total of 41 die hard squirrels ran the race with a special mention to Katie Harbon who has already won the individual women’s title by obtaining an unassailable points lead in the first 4 races.
Elsewhere, as sure as day follows night, John Auld ran the Silkstone Shuffle. It is a 4.5M multi- terrain race ran in each season and the aggregate time is the series time you are awarded. It’s 2M up hill followed by 2.5M down hill but over farmers fields separated by woods and stiles.
‘On the day I finished 1st! Meaning that I finished 4th in the series, but won the first senior man outside of the top 3.
It was a surprise to be leading as we belted out and I settled in 4th. I’d even given up on top 3 at this point. But when the real part of the hill started, I slowly moved from 4th up towards the guys, and then decided to push the pace and lead. I ended up leading still at the top of the hill, and from here I knew I had to go for the victory - so I pushed on!
It was so slippy and wet, windy and a bit of snow at the end - it was so much hard work. Stiles and wooden bridges to cross in the wet. This was my 19th event and this is the worst I’ve seen the course. I also ended up with a bunch of cuts on my legs and arms from brambles.
I got my head down and pushed on, All I could hear was the jingle bells attached to my vest, I couldn’t hear any other footsteps, but dare not look back. However towards the end, after a few little looks over my shoulder I realised nobody was with me.
I was absolutely delighted to win the race for only the 2nd time, especially in those conditions. The field was a little light, due to the conditions, I feel. So only the truly mad and GC contenders were on the start line. I fall into both categories, hence the win.’
As it stands no complaints have been upheld regarding John having bells attached to his vest during the race.
Northampton’s Delapre Park was the venue for the third fixture of this year’s Three Counties Cross-Country League, and the North Herts Road Runners were again victorious! Both the women’s and men’s teams took first place, ensuring that the Squirrels won the combined prize, as they have in each of the previous races, cementing their position at the top of the league.
“This is an amazing result that really sets us up for a great last couple of races,” said the club’s XC secretary John Auld. “There's a lot of work still to do in the remaining two events. But we do have the treble in sight.”
In total, twenty-four Squirrels took on the unforgiving terrain and strong winds to produce another dominant display. Leading from the front was women’s team captain Katie Harbon, who won the women’s race for the third time this season, heading a scoring team that also included Astrid McKeown (8th), Paula Adams (10th) and Lucy O’Connor (41st).
The star for the men’s team was young Oliver Brady, who showed great courage to bounce back from a tough first experience of the 3CXC league two weeks earlier. He produced an impressive run and finished strongly in 17th position, taking his place as one of the eight men in the NHRR scoring team, all of whom finished inside the top 20. The other scorers were Ed Price (2nd), Stewart Overton (6th), Mark Vaughan (9th), Wayne Bell (10th), Nathan Pask (11th), John Auld (14th) and John Rayner (19th).
The cross-country came just a day after the Santa Canta, the special Christmas edition of the NHRR-organised First Saturday of the Month at Letchworth’s Norton Common. Over 320 runners took part, almost all of them in fancy dress, helping to raise money for Garden House Hospice Care. The first festive finishers were Freedom Tri’s James Parsons (19:11) for the men and Hitchin Running Club’s Anna Bruce (22:38) for the women. North Herts Road Runners’ first finishers were James Dalton (21:09) and Katie Harbon (23:20).
On Sunday, Ali Mottram ran the MK Winter Half in a time of 2:29:27. “It was a really lovely route on footpaths along canals, round fishing lakes and through lovely green spaces,” said Ali. “Though the first mile or so was incredibly busy with little room to manoeuvre.”
The weekend’s parkrun results:
Stevenage parkrun 81 Russell HAGAN 25:39
Wimpole Estate parkrun 67 Naomi PARKINSON 25:14
Hillsborough parkrun 191 Jillian BOYS 28:52
Letchworth parkrun 37 Carl GOODRUM 31:25
Sunny Hill parkrun 15 Chris POOLE 24:49
Darren Sunter finished the Valencia Marathon with a new personal best time 2:35:21 and in 290th place overall. Pleased with his run, Darren said afterwards that it was a great course and really brilliant event. He enjoyed the superb course even though his hamstrings took a hammering on the flat.
Several squirrels ran the Bedford Half marathon. Described as a lovely undulating single lap course through rural Bedfordshire with a great down hill after mile 9. Ryan Nicholl (1:23:48) was the first squirrel home closely followed by Adrian Sherwood (1:29:22). Other squirrels running were Lucy O'Connor (1:55:41), Sue Foot (2:00:15), Andrew Porter (2:04:19), Tom Brownlee (2:05:24), David Braybrook (2:06:20), Miranda Morgan (2:14:46) and Vanessa Rolfe 2:23:55. Sue was 2nd in her age category. It was the first time running this race for Lucy and she really enjoyed it. Linda Aird and Kat Gourd were spectating on the 9 mile mark in Cranfield and reported how impressed they were with everybody looking strong. They were holding a big bowl of jelly babies for runners.
News, Notifications and Race Results