Sixty two hardy Squirrels battled the M25, road closures and rush hour traffic to defend their lead in the 3rd round of the Midweek League in Epping Forest. Their efforts were not in vain. Stewart Overton describing the ‘First Class’ commitment of club members commented “the men’s team have won all 3 rounds and currently hold maximum points going into the last round. Seeing 8 squirrels in the top 13 showed how dominant we have been at the sharp end with Tom Webb taking a well deserved win.” All eyes are now on the fourth and final race at Trent Park next week.
The Road Runners were out in force to take on the Hitchin Hard Half on Sunday. Linda Aird speaking after the race said she was very pleased to finish in 1:58:55 – “my best time on this course and first time I've run it in under 2 hours since then as well! I always enjoy this one, despite the challenging hills, and it is often quite warm - today was no exception”. Hitchin Hard Half results: Natalie Lawrence 1:27:13 Brent Lloyd 1:38:32 James Dalton 1:42:22 Chris Stokes 1:46:37 Caroline Thrussell 1:46:49 Rachel Arnott 01:49:28 Dan Martin 1:51:36 Steven Peel 1:58:34 Linda Aird 1:58:55 Adam Wilson 1:59:17 Lucy O'Connor 2:02:56 Alice Noakes 2:12:33 Alan Hazlehurst 2:16:57 Vanessa Rolfe 2:34:10
Hitchin Hard 10K results: Helen Cromack 1:09:49 Anna Greetham 1:09:52
Despite racing success during the week, less than 48 hours later, 20 club runners took part in the annual Greensands Ridge Relay Event consisting of 46 teams of 6 runners competing over 35 miles. The first of the NHRR teams narrowly missed first place by just 35 seconds. Team Member Alan Hazelhurst blamed his slower than anticipated time on the hot conditions, hills, a detour and his inability to run in straight lines!
Six squirrels travelled down the A1M to compete in the Welwyn 10K. The hills, including one at the end named ‘The Stinger’ did not prove a problem for Nick Malpeli who was 2nd V50 (Veteran, 50 or over runner) in both the main race and in the County Championships and to Andrew Porter 3rd V70 in both! Kat Gourd enjoyed the scenic course, despite the hills, and as the only female Road Runner was delighted to take the place of first lady home for the club in 0:52:24. David Weston struggled with the hills, lacking energy and dehydrated, but “drew on the power of his inner squirrel” for a strong finish in 0:43:53. Other finishers included;Christian ALLEN 0:50:17 Christopher POOLE 0:51:21 Ian SUTCLIFFE 1:00:09.
John Auld was pleased to finish 5th in the 4.6 mile Silkestone Shuffle, tackling high grass and stiles along the way and attributed his return to running fitness to his training partners and coaches at North Herts Road Runners.
The North Herts Road Runners’ Parkrun results for Saturday 22nd June: Letchworth – James DALTON 21:35 Glyn BLAKEY 23:10 Katherine GOURD 25:29 Damon CLEVELLY 25:43 Jillian BOYS 25:58 Jegan SIMON 26:05 Dave Braybrook 27:00 Jennie FRASER 27:11 Philip Flack 29:28 Carl GOODRUM 32:17
Stevenage –Dervla DOWNING 22:36 Mike MORALEE 27:38 Helen GIFFIN 31:28 Patrick NORRIS 35:24 Jane CLARKE 36:23 Ruth HICKS 36:40
Holkham – Matthew SAYERS 18:03
Marston Vale – Chris POOLE 24:09
Conkers -Naomi PARKINSON 24:11
Ruimsig, South Africa - Rhiannon BOTHA 24:01
Sunday saw North Herts Road Runners organising Letchworth’s Run Round the Garden - three running events in one day in the world’s first garden city: a 5k race, a 1-mile race & a free-to-enter kids' fun run. The sun shone in patches across the centre of the town as 500 runners took to the tree-lined streets for the 5K and 1 mile races. In the 5K men’s race NHRR’s Tom Webb stormed to victory with an impressive 16:10. In 2nd place, in a time of 16:53 was James Fox (Reading AC) and in 3rd place Dan McAlpine (Fairlands Valley Spartans) in 17:15. For the ladies Rebecca Newstead (Bedford and County) won the race (17:43), followed by two Bedford Harriers runners, Kirstie Sharman (18:55) and Stephanie MacLeod (20:49). In the men’s mile race James Fox was first in 4:53, followed by NHRR’s Ed price (4:56) and Hitchin Running Club’s Stuart Hansell (4”57). In the ladies’ mile race, Kirstie Sharman won in 5:47. In 2nd place was Bedford and County’s Maddison Webb (5:56) and in 3rd was Stevenage and North Herts AC’s Imogen Rose in 6:23.
Other finishers for the Squirrels were Lee Hayes (19:05), David Weston, who set an unexpected PB of 19:07. Dave said “I hadn’t prepared much due to a change in job limiting the amount of running and training I could do. However, I decided to go out hard and see if I could maintain the pace. It was a fast race and everyone had the same thought when the rain came down and we were all tip toeing round the 180 turns. Having the last KM downhill allowed for a final push and I was happy to knock 10 seconds off my PB and 26 seconds off this course from last year finishing in 19:06. Great support all the way round and a great race as always from the amazing team at NHRR”, Adrian Sherwood (19:39), Brent Lloyd (19:57), Ian Datlen (20:10), James Dalton (20:11), Stuart Cocks (21:14), Helen Nuttall (21:38), Liam Jones (21:43), Chrstian Allen (22:16), Andrew Robson (22:36), Andrew Coates (22:56), Chris Poole (22:57), Lucy O’Connor (23:41), Harry Agius (24:26), Andrew Cooper (24:32), Angeliki Shearstone-Stathopoulou (24:44), Alice Noakes (24:49), Linda Aird (25:13), Dave Braybrook (25:30), Alan Hazlehurst (25:35), Sue Vaughan (26:08), Mike Jones (26:32), Sherryl Chatfield (27:05), Elwyn Howell (27:09), Gladys Cheng (27:38), Jeanette Everitt (27:54), Philip Flack (27:58), Andrew Porter (28:01), Mike Hennessy (29:01), Helen Marson-Smith (a PB of 29:16), Hailey Batson also ran a PB. She said “I didn't expect much from myself as I haven't been training as much recently but got a new PB of 28.57. It was a lovely event, well organised and with great support!“. Helen Wilson (29:19), Natalie Williams (29:07 ,a new PB, and her first sub-30 minute 5k race), Naomi Parkinson (30:15), Joy Stroud (32:09), Hayley Cocks, 32:27 knocked 6 minutes off her time from last year and loved the support from her family, Shani Fielding (32:51), Glyn Blakey (33:05), Davinder Shekhon (33:44).
In the mile race, other Squirrel finishers were John Rayner (5:02), Stuart Cocks (5:56), Chrstian Allen (6:18), James Dalton (6:39), Chris Poole (6:46), Andrew Robson (6:57), Naomi Parkinson (6:57), Alice Noakes (7:13), Geoff Murray-Rochard (7:16), Harry Agius (7:23), Alan Hazlehurst (7:52), Helen Nuttall (8:05), Natalie Williams (8:54), Elwyn Howell (9:37), Gladys Cheng (10:29) and, on her return to running after a 9 month injury break, Sheila Leavy (13:59).
Three squirrels trekked over to North Wale to run the Coed-y-Brenin trail half marathon. Caroline Thrussell said “The race was everything I love about running. A great atmosphere and really well organised. After recent racing I went at a fairly relaxed pace. It was a challenging route through the forest park with muddy ups that meant one step forward and one slide back, rocky downs where your body goes too fast for your legs and you're not sure where your feet are landing. Lovely friends to support and stunning scenery.” Caroline was first V50 lady, finishing in 2:11. Adam Wilson finished in 2:29 and Paul Bowal in 2:45.
Pat Norris ran the Suffolk Trail Festival 24hr ultra over two days (Saturday and Sunday). Pat said “I managed to get my nutrition right this time but I got caught by not having the right clothing for the drop in temperature overnight and had to stop between 3.30 and 4.30 to wait for sun up before I carried on. The course was mostly on grass trail, which managed to wreck my right calf which eventually slowed me down.” Pat said he found running at night “quite different but rather relaxing” though he now has a lot of sleep to catch up on.
Quite a different experience running in the night but rather relaxing (just have to make up for the loss of sleep now). Talking about ultras he said “an ultra is all about one’s personal battle with the distance and terrain. There were teams entered for the event but I finished as a solo runner far from last place. I managed to complete 10 of the 20, 5-mile loops, giving me a 50-mile total in 22 hours. I was actually aiming for 60 miles but my leg prevented this (last year’s winner managed 85 miles) , but I'm still very happy with my result although my toes have never looked so bad as they are at the moment!”
Stewart Overton led the field at a very muddy the Letchworth Parkrun on Saturday, finishing 1st in 18:25. Oliver Brady was 3rd in 19:50. Other finishers for the Squirrels were James Dalton (21:27), Chris Stokes (24:40) Jennie Fraser (a course PB of 24:46), Ian Datlen (24:46), Ellie Scott (26:28), Carl Goodrum (29:09), Naomi Parkinson (30:56), Carol Goodrum (37:06). In other parkruns, Chris Poole ran Ellen Brook Fields in 24:42. At Wimpole Estate Vince Wright finished in 22:16, Jillian Boys in 25:24. Glyn Blakey ran Tees Barrage in 30:32. Helen Giffin ran Stevenage in 31:20. Brian Judkins ran Cambridge in 36:40 and Jane Clarke ran Moors Valley in 23:20.
‘Rain, wind and cold’ plus 44 stiles in the first half of the race alone were just a few of the challenges overcome by Jo Summers on her way to winning the Farthingstone Foot Fest off-road marathon in Northamptonshire on Saturday.
The North Herts Road Runners member and long-distance specialist said she ‘was so cold that I did consider stopping’ at the half-way checkpoint, but ‘knowing how cross I would be with myself I set off again before I could change my mind’.
Summers exchanged places with another runner twice in the last three miles, but her customary strong finish saw her hold the lead all the way to the line, where she recorded a time of 5 hours and 40 seconds.
Much warmer conditions on Sunday meant ice lollies were the well-deserved reward for Ali Mottram and Helen Govey after a ‘hot and hilly’ St Albans Half-marathon.
The two North Herts Road Runners athletes were both delighted with their finishing times, in Mottram’s case because her 2.32.37 clocking was a new personal best and in Govey’s because it was the first time she had run more than seven miles since being laid low by ‘a nasty virus’ at the end of February.
Reflecting on her result, Govey said ‘considering the circumstances I am pleased with it. Not every run is a race and today I learnt that not every race is a race either. Sometimes it is so much more than that.’
Vanessa Rolfe also tackled the 13.1 mile distance in the Jersey Half-marathon and said she would ‘definitely recommend the lovely course’ and the liquid refreshments and food at the finish. She celebrated her 2.25.39 finish with ‘white wine and tuna sandwiches’ courtesy of the race organisers.
Despite blisters from new insoles, Lorna Chambers said she was ‘glad to take part’ in the Milton Keynes Race for Life 10k. She ‘limped home’ in 1.03.36.
North Herts had three finishers in the top ten at Letchworth Parkrun, with Stewart Overton first across the line in 18.31, Matt Sayers fourth in 19.09 and Oliver Brady seventh in 19.30. Other NHRR finishers at Letchworth were Ian Datlen (21.41), James Dalton (21.58), Alex Jegan (27.17), Philip Flack (29.33), Steve Brenton (29.51) and Glyn Blakey (35.01).
Nick Malpeli led a four-strong contingent of Squirrels home at Stevenage Parkrun with a time of 19.12, followed by Dervla Downing (22.57), Jane Clarke (31.26) and Pat Norris (33.24).
Other NHRR Parkrunners were Chris Poole at Walthamstow (24.27), Peter Clarke at Ellenbrook Fields (18.10), Darren Matussa at Roding Valley (19.13) and Naomi Parkinson at Forest of Marston Vale (24.26).
In his 1st race back after injury, Andrew Leach finished 4th in the Grand East Anglian Run 10K, smashing the previous club V55 record set in 2003 by Derek Myall. Myall's record was 39.17 but Andrew ran an incredible 33.41 to break the record by 5 mins 36 seconds!
5 members of North Herts Road Runners travelled to the race, looking for some quick times before the RunHerts midweek league kicks off later in May. It was a flat course, with a few twists and turns as it snakes in and around the beautiful town of Kings Lynn. Mark Vaughan, one of the other NHRR runners said, “It was bitterly cold before the start, and a bit windy, but once we got going things warmed up. Conditions were perfect until about the 7K point where there was a strong headwind which slowed things down a bit, and then again just before the finish.” All 5 Squirrels had great runs: Andrew Leach 4th (33:41); Mark Vaughan 8th (34:05); Pete Sibbett 65th (39:42) (including toilet stop, which cost him over a minute!); Sue Vaughan 931st (53:39); Karen Dodsworth 980th (54:28). Mark continued “This is a great, well organised race with around 3000 runners, with some faster guys at the front end to provide some good racing and Kings Lynn is quite a nice place for a post-race shopping spree - what's not to like!”
At the 5k distance, Hayley Cocks continued her impressive form, running at the First Saturday of the Month at 9am on Norton Common in Letchworth. Turning up dressed for summer in a vest and star-spangled leggings, Hayley was taken aback by the bitter cold wind. She said, “I started off and felt pretty slow, but actually I wasn’t! I overtook about 5 people on the second hill of the first lap, which felt awesome. Training on that very hill on Tuesday had helped!” She managed to settle in after a tough 1.5 km and finished strongly, clocking up a new 30-second PB of 31.43. Hayley was elated. “Maybe the new running leggings helped!?”
Andy and Michelle Grudzinski entered two trail events on consecutive days. On Saturday they travelled to mid-Wales where they competed in the Red Kite Challenge. Michelle quipped, “As is usual for a Welsh race it started uphill, finished uphill and was longer than 13.1 miles. However, it was also stunning, beautiful and contained insane uphill sections! We both loved the event save for the strange part where we had already clocked over 13.1 miles and were then sent up and down a hill rather than to the finish line.” They finished the race in 2:49. On Sunday they headed to Winchcombe in the Cotswolds for the Winchcombe cross. Michelle continued, “Andy was doing very well but it soon turned into another photo running adventure with an ice lolly stop. We decided to stop at 13.2 miles and hit the cake shop!”
Clare Hooley and James Keogh were away visiting family over the bank holiday and of course that meant taking on the local parkrun (Lyme Park). Clare said “This is in fact one of the hilliest courses in the country and to boot the surface isn’t the easiest with uneven cobble tracks, woods and bogs. The positive is that you see all the major sights of the country park and have great views over Manchester.” James finished in 21:01 and was slightly disconcerted by the herd of red deer, “definitely more imposing than the deer you get in Norton Common!”. Clare continued, “The weather can have a huge effect on the course; last time it was winter and we ran round together and a very helpful marshal warned us of a slippy bog up ahead, only for me to go sploosh a few seconds later. This time the marshals warned us not to worry about the highland cattle - they were very friendly really and if they got too close they would move them on!” Clare finished in 39:04, 10 mins faster she had done it before.
On a day that will be long-remembered by the North Herts Road Runners, the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon saw no fewer than 16 Squirrels taking part, eight of whom completed the race in under three hours, helping to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
First home for the club was Adam Bowller, who saw the culmination of months of hard training come to fruition and produced an incredible performance to finish the race in 2:32:57 - the fastest time a North Herts Road Runner has ever run a marathon, beating a record which has stood since Paul Pearce, a GB paralympian, ran 2:34:34 in 2005.
Having taken the club record, an emotional Adam described himself as “humbled and honoured” and was quick to congratulate his teammates, many of whom also gained PBs. These included Darren Sunter, who finished second for the club in 2:39:09 and was eager to acknowledge the cheers he received from members of NHRR as well as other local running clubs. “Apart from seeing all the fabulous Squirrels on the course, all the running community from different clubs in Herts were all amazing and it was great to hear their support.”
Another runner to come away with a PB on the day was Matt Sayers (2:41:18), who raised money for the local charity TRACKS Autism. “They have been a great support to my family and do amazing work with young children with autism,” said Matt. “I’m pleased with all the donations - every pound makes a real difference to keeping TRACKS going.” Matt wasn’t the only runner from North Herts to raise money for TRACKS. Niccolo Bassani, who was the recipient of a club place in the marathon, also raised money for the Stevenage-based charity. Niccolo had run the Brighton marathon only two weeks before, and was pleased to finish at London in an almost identical time of 3:29:50.
Still more Squirrels finished the grueling 26-mile distance in under three hours. Nathan Pask was the club’s fourth finisher in 2:41:21. Not far behind was Rob Harris, whose time of 2:44:10 was also a personal best. After the race, he said, “I got to 30km and told myself it was time to properly knuckle down. I cramped up at Embankment and the Mall, as usual, but finished with an 11-second PB and a negative split (faster second half) overall.” Guy Jones ran 2:52:46, followed closely by Nick Malpeli (2:53:44) and Stewart
Overton, who ran a PB of 2:54:40.
There were plenty more successful races (and PBs) for the Squirrels, including Vince Wright (3:27:01), Hailey Batson, who finished close to her target time and was delighted to have doubled her initial sponsorship target for the mental health charity Mind. There was even another club record, as Andrew Porter got the club's over-70 marathon record. After the race, he said: “What an amazing day, the atmosphere, the encouragement from the crowds all helped me to keep going and achieving a time of 4 hours 49.”
Here’s the full list of Squirrels who ran the Virgin Money London Marathon, and their finishing times:
Bowller, Adam 2:32:57
Sunter, Darren 2:39:09
Sayers, Matthew 2:41:18
Pask, Nathan 2:41:21
Harris, Robert 2:44:10
Jones, Guy 2:52:46
Malpeli, Nick 2:53:44
Overton, Stewart 2:54:40
Wright, Vincent 3:27:01
Bassani, Niccolo 3:29:50
Sherwood, Adrian 3:43:35
Barry, Sam 3:57:56
Harding, Laura 4:10:16
Allen, Christian 4:45:26
Porter, Andrew 4:49:54
Batson, Hailey 4:55:02
London wasn’t the only major city to host a marathon at the weekend. Sue Foot ran the Düsseldorf Marathon. Although there were slightly fewer runners than at the London Marathon (around 5000), Sue enjoyed the route, which took the runners twice over the River Rhine. “I finished in 4.13.16,” said Sue. “This was my 21st road marathon and am now at 130 in total!”
In other news, Kat Gourd ran the Runthrough “Chase the Sun” Hyde Park 10k on Wednesday evening. “It was a bit repetitive,” said Kat, “but weather conditions were good and I got a new post-knee surgery PB of 51:41.”
David Annetts competed at the RWA National 10k Race Walking Championship at Warwick University. He finished 4th overall (3rd in the Senior men's race) in a time of 49:56, and said: “I’m happy to get a medal and a time just under 50 mins.”
The North Herts Road Runners’ parkrun results for Saturday 27th April:
Letchworth parkrun 7 Ian DATLEN 00:21:21 9 James DALTON 00:21:44 41 Katherine GOURD 00:26:07 46 Jennie FRASER 00:26:46 51 David WESTON 00:27:06
Great Denham parkrun 6 John AULD 00:19:38 15 Peter SIBBETT 00:21:06 44 Angeliki SHEARSTONE STATHOPOULOU 00:25:18 52 Karen DODSWORTH 00:26:43
Jersey Farm parkrun 2 Mark VAUGHAN 00:17:48 90 Sue VAUGHAN 00:27:56
Millom parkrun3 Glyn BLAKEY 00:23:59
Stevenage parkrun 43 Dervla DOWNING 00:22:55 46 Jane CLARKE 00:22:59 150 Bob DAVIS 00:28:05 252 Patrick NORRIS 00:34:41
Tees Barrage parkrun 200 Brian JUDKINS 00:30:50
Wimpole Estate parkrun 111 Lucy O'CONNOR 00:26:18
Sixfields Upton parkrun 29 Chris POOLE 00:24:37
The City of Lincoln 10km saw a flurry of personal bests from squirrels that made the trip to the scenic city which finished at the Cathedral. Tom Webb lead the way finishing 32:39 and 10th in a field of over 4500. The Lucas family, Chloe, Viv and Lindsey also produced some great results. Chloe took over a minute of her previous best and Lindsay over 4 mins. Lindsay said that she drew inspiration from the clubs recent talk on mental health and running – that and imagining the voice of a training partner Jo Sopala got her over the line.
Saturday was the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park First Saturday of the Month 10km and four squirrels made the trip into Stratford. Adam Bowller proclaimed the trip a success with two squirrels on the podium. Adam won the race in 34:44 closely followed by Stewart Overton in 3rd and John Rayner in 7th. Darren Mattussa finished in 33rd.
72 runners turned out for NHRR's very own First Saturday of the Month 5km in Norton Common. Paula Holm was first lady finishing 15th overall. Peter Clarke was the first Squirrel home finishing in 2nd place. Closely followed by James Keogh in 4th, James Dalton in 5th, Richard Harbon in 6th and Ian Dalton in 8th.
It was ideal cool and still conditions at the Sandy 10 mile. Tackling the hills and waving to the donkeys was six squirrels including Helen Cairns, Dervla Downing, Linda Aird, Lewania Agius, Ally Blunt and Vanessa Rolfe.
Chris Poole ran Manchester Marathon in memory of is dog, Millie. Chris worked hard to put himself in position for a personal best and despite fatigue setting in in the latter stages, Chris achieved a marathon best of 3:54.
Pat Norris ran the St Clare Hospice 10km near Harlow – a slightly undulating course where all proceeds went to the Hospice. Pat was happy with his even pacing as he went through 5km in 34 mins and finished in 69 mins.
Helen Nuttall ran the Reading half marathon on Sunday. She said “There was loads of support on the course, a couple of steep climbs, but a nice race, well marshalled and well organised (with free massages at the end!). I was very apprehensive and a little scared about trying to race after all my time off with surgery etc, but once I started was so happy to be out actually racing and trying to push the pace. I was 10 mins off my PB, but it's all relative and with the circumstances I'm immensely happy with a 1:36:17. More than anything it has given me a confidence boost that I will get back to where I was (and hopefully faster!!).”
Slightly closer to home Elwyn Howell ran a very muddy Welwyn half marathon, taking fully 10 minutes of his PB, finishing in 2:10:26.
Adam Bowler was first across the line for the club on Sunday in the Fleet half marathon, an England qualifying race. He finished in 14th place in 1:12:36, a PB. In perfect weather conditions Caroline Thrussell was thrilled to also run a 2 minute PB, finishing in 1:36:28, a new club record in her age category, but not quite fast enough for an England vest. Other finishers were Edward Price (1:17:58), Darren Matussa (1:25:14), Katie Harbon (1:28:56), Astrid McKeown (1:29:43), Paula Adams (1:30:48), Helen Cairns (1:41:10) and Jane Clarke (1:50:07).
Several North Herts Road Runners ran in the Milton Keynes Festival of Running. In the 10k race, Lorna Chambers was really pleased with her effort resulting in a time of 1.01.30, a 6.5 minute improvement on her debut 10K at Sandy last week. James Keogh said “Between the howling winds on Saturday and the hail storms after the race it definitely caught the best of the weekend weather. Not to say that there weren’t some blustery headwinds at points” James fininshed the half in 1:33:41. He continued “Owing to injury I’m only just getting back to this kind of distance so was pretty pleased with my time all things considered.” Other finishers were (10K) Clare Hooley (1:11:34). Half marathon, John Rayner was 11th in 1:21:28, Sophie Thrussell finished in 1:40:23, Ali Mottram in 2:35:24 and Jim Marvell in 2:35:25. Jim said, “It was my first half and I’m absolutely chuffed with my time of 2:35:24. (I’d been hoping for 2:45 or so!). The course was more scenic and a little more undulating than I’d expected. The last couple of miles were particularly tough but I found a small reserve of energy for the all-important sprint finish.” One brave Squirrel tackled the 20 mile course - Adam Wilson finished in 3:25:05.
Three runners completed the Ashridge Boundary Run in the Chiltern Hills. Linda Aird said “the 40+mph winds and miles of thick mud at Ashridge made it a very challenging run - going over Ivinghoe Beacon there were moments when I was afraid I would be blown off my feet!”. Linda completed the race in 3:12:46. Lindsay Cook added “it was just my kind of run. At least half of it was pretty muddy underfoot, it was fairly hilly and extremely windy”. Lindsay crossed the line in 3:40:04. Completing the trio of Squirrel ladies was Miranda Morgan who finished in 3:22:11
David Annetts continued his impressive race-walking form taking part in two races in a fortnight. In the Molly Barnett / England Athletics 10k Race Walk Championship at Warwick University David was happy to finish 8th in a high quality field in a PB of 49:17. On 16th March he travelled to Sussex for the opportunity to get a longer track race. Though it was wet and windy the conditions were less of a hindrance than he had anticipated. To cap it all, David said “I kept my concentration to continue to the finish knowing that I'd been given the bell a lap early!” David won the race in another PB of 48:29.3
Saturday saw the club run of the month at Letchworth parkrun. Battling 45 mph and ‘carnage corner’ the following club members battled Strom Hannah to record finish times: Peter Clarke (22:38), Richard Harbon (22:55), Phil Hunt (23:52), Pete Sibbett (25:12), Ian Datlen (25:31), James Walsh, Mat Ankers (27:20), Angeliki Shearstone (27:49), Jegan Simon (28:16), Lucy O’Connor (31:31), Rhiannon Botha (31:54), Jennie Fraser (31:54), Carl Goodrum (33:01), Andrew Underhill (33:34) and Carol Goodrum (41:05).
In other parkruns, Brian Judkins ran at Cambridge (33:31), Jillian Boys ran at Wimpole (23:56), Chris Poole ran at Jersey Farm (25:07) and 4 squirrels made the short trip to Stevenage. Ellie Scott was first home for the club (23:15) followed by Naomi Parkinson (24:42), Jane Clarke (29:51) and Pat Norris (34:56).
Squirrels raced up and down the country this weekend battling gale force winds, hills and mud.
Tom Webb, Jim McConnel and Matt Sayers competed for Hertfordshire in the GB Intercounties Cross Country Championship on an undulating and windswept 6.5 mile course at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough where there was a strong field and fantastic support including the loyal cow-bell ringing squirrels on tour. The squirrels finished: Tom Webb – 194th, 38:22 Jim McConnell – 213th, 38:44 and Matt Sayers – 263rd, 40:37. Not to be outdone by the men, North Herts’ youngest squirrel Eva McCabe also gained selection and finished in 198th place. She described the race as “cold, windy, hail and mud. Perfect cross country conditions!”
Having been diagnosed with lung cancer last year, Lisa Laundy travelled to London to complete her first Half Marathon this alongside club mate Ally Blunt while raising money for Macmillan. They crossed the line together in an inspiring 2:23:59. Stewart Overton, Darren Sunter and Lee Hayes took the first train of the morning to compete in the Big Half in London. Stewart, describing the course that takes in a lot of the London Marathon, said that despite it being wet and extremely windy beforehand, they all fared well and enjoyed the support, the fast finish and a well earned beer afterwards! Sunter was first home in 1:13:46, followed by Overton 1:17:30 and Hayes 1:26:45.
Pete Sibbett travelled up North to run the Chester 10km and finished 8th in his age category. Unfortunately the cold, wind and rain combined to make this quite a tough run and Sibbett who said he was unpleasantly surprised at the amount of long uphills finished in 40:26.
In her first return to racing since a prolonged period of illness, Helen Nuttall ran the Hillingdon 20 miles. Speaking after the race Helen said she was delighted to finish in 2:44:17 considering both the hail and the uphills into gale force winds!
Eight Squirrels ran the RSPB Race for Wildlife 10K at the Sandy Lodge reserve, a two-lapper taking in heathland and wooded areas and featuring a couple of tough uphills. They were concerned about the weather, but they picked the right place to race as the blustery winds were not too bad apart from on a couple of exposed bits of the course and the sun even made a brief appearance at one point! Dave Braybrook made his debut performance in a North Herts Road Runners vest and finished the course in a superb 58:02. Leading the squirrels home was Linda Aird: 56:42 followed by Lucy O’Connor 58:28, Andrew Porter 59:43, Ian Sutcliffe 1:00:57, Lorna Chambers 1:07, Brian Judkins 1:10 and Carly Bedwell 1:19:55.
Jillian Boys completed the Harpenden Half Marathon in extremely tough conditions exclaiming that it was not just cold, windy and hilly but VERY muddy too and was pleased to finish in 1:51:08.
Marathon runner Jo Summers ran the Cambridge Boundary race for the 5th time and immediately questioned why, as it is not a course she enjoys and was struggling with a cold. Despite the wind, cold symptoms and feelings of regret, Jo was “relieved to have finished in 4:35”.
Parkruns: Letchworth, James Dalton: 22:26, Richard Harbon 22:57, Chloe Lucas (first lady) 24:52. Stevenage Ian Datlen: 21:16, Helen Cairns: 22:23, Dervla Downing: 23:00, Matt Ankers: 26:21, Rhiannon Botha: 26:27, Jane Clarke 36:27. Ellenbrook Fields, Chris Poole: 24:22. Poolsbrook Stephen Lummis: 23:59. Exmouth, Andrew Underhill: 21:42. Colney Lane, Ellie Scott: 24:47. Wimpole, Brian Judkins 36:11. Old Deer Park, Christian Allen: 23:46. Swansea, Mark Robinson: 19:54.
Despite the damp conditions and it being the morning after the club’s annual awards night, there were a few personal best performances at the Cambridge Half Marathon.
Lindsay Cook admitted to feeling the impact of the awards night, ‘I felt the late night and ceilidh dancing in my legs over the first few miles so I was pleased to finish in 2:18:45.’ Lindsay wasn’t the only one happy with their efforts. It was Jillian Boys second time running at this event and she was delighted to finish in 1:47:38 an impressive 6 minutes quicker than the year before and a new personal best by over 2 minutes. Angeliki Shearstone also ran a personal best of 1:53:42.
Five Squirrels went to Trent Park to take part in the Herts County Vets Cross Country Championships on Sunday. There was much mud, but sadly no medals on this occasion.
Lee Hayes was running in the V50 category and finished the tough, challenging race in 44:32. Then competing over a shorter but no less muddy course of 7.2km, were our V60 and V70 men Ian Sutcliffe, Geoff Murray-Rochard and Brian Judkins, along with Linda Aird competing in the Vet women's race.
Ian Sutcliffe crossed the line in 47:16 to finish 4th V70, with Geoff Murray-Rochard just behind in 47:17. Brian Judkins completed the distance in 55:24. In the women's race, Linda Aird finished in 44:16.
Miranda Morgan, Andrew Porter and Sue Foot took part in the Chiltern Kanter. A map reading event where you make your own route with over 30 grid references to find along the way. This was to be Andrew’s first marathon but in the end the trio did just over 29 miles. The route took them to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon, Ashridge and parts of the Ridgeway and was made all the tougher by the mud, wind and rain.
Parkrun results: Cambridge Brian Judkins 37:08, Mile End Helen Cairns 22:06, Dulwich Georgina Quayle 26:51, Ellenbrook Fields Chris Poole 23:10, Letchworth James Dalton 21:45, Naomi Parkinson 25:24, Damon Cleveley 26:09, Great Denham Pete Sibbett 19:20, Pocket Joseph Sherry 25:38.
There was double success for North Herts Road Runners as their ladies and men won both team competitions at the Baldock Beast Half-marathon.
Men’s team member David Weston credited his part in the Squirrels’ success to the ‘lovely course and atmosphere’ on the rolling route through the villages east of Baldock. Despite unorthodox race preparation involving some ‘liquid carbs’ over a weekend of rugby-watching, Weston was ‘very happy and surprised’ to knock a remarkable six minutes off his previous best time for the 13.1 mile distance as he crossed the line in 1.36.23.
Weston was joined on the winners’ podium by Peter Clarke (1.29.49), Niccolo Bassani (1.35.35) and James Dalton (1.37.47).
Bassani admitted to treating the first half of the race as an ‘easy training run’, but then decided ‘it felt quite a waste of time and I sped up for the second half’. He ‘thoroughly enjoyed it’ – and the event t-shirt above all!’
A personal best time of 1.46.44 from Dervla Downing saw her complete the winning ladies’ line-up alongside Natalie Lawrence, who finished as second lady in the race in 1.26.56, and Caroline Thrussell, , who won the F55 category in 1.40.27.
Hailey Batson was another Squirrel to tame the Baldock Beast – a tough one to pick for her first half-marathon. She was spurred around what she described as a ‘relentless’ course by seeing ‘so many familiar faces’ among the marshals and supporters. She finished in 2.24.17.
Other Squirrels competing in Baldock were Lee Hayes (1:30:23), Ian Datlen (1:38:47), Chris Stokes (1:39:28), Andrew Underhill (1:43:42), Drew Norton (1:44:26), Phil Hunt (1:45:15) Jennie Fraser (1:54:15), Alice Noakes (1:55:33), Adam Wilson (1:59:47), Sue Foot (2:06:15), Andrew Porter (2:11:21), Helen Govey (2:15:49), Cara Sutton (2:15:25) and Miranda Morgan (2:16:47).
Stuart Cocks overcame ‘hot weather – in February!’ to secure a new half-marathon best of 1 hour 42.1 and 1,298th out of 15,00 runners at the Brighton Half-marathon. Hayley Cocks overcame a virus to smash an impressive 19 minutes off her pervious Brighton time to finish in 2.46.58 and Shani Fielding was another happy Squirrel with a new personal best time of 2.50.14.
Despite encountering a ‘very hilly course at the Frickley Country Park Parkrun in South Yorkshire, Andrew Robson recorded a new Parkrun best time of 25.01. Other NHRR Parkrunners at the weekend included Joe Sherry in Bedford (26:40, Steve Williams in Kettering (21:18), Pat Norris (33:32) and Jane Clarke (37:45) in Stevenage, Steve Lummis (24:36) at Linford Wood, Brian Judkins (33:50) in Northallerton, Linda Aird (29:35) in Ludlow and Adam Bowller (16:30 and first finisher) and Stewart Overton (17:02) at Great Denham.
Parkrunning on home ground in Letchworth were James Dalton (21:52), Steve Brenton (24:34), Jennie Fraser (27:46), Brian Bailey (29:45) and Naomi Parkinson (47:26).
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