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.
32 North Herts Road Runners put in some great performances in the second race of the Three Counties Cross-Country League on Sunday in Wing. The best performance, however, was that of the whole team, with the club sweeping the board with 1st place for the ladies‘ team, 1st for the men’s team and 1st overall, which leaves the club top of the leader board in all three categories with three races to go, extending their lead in the combined category. Mark Vaughan said “It was a great team performance by all today. Thanks to all the supporters and runners who helped to put us firmly in the driving seat in this year's 3CXC league.”
Ed Price was first home for the club, in 2nd position overall, closely followed by James Fox (5th), Adam Bowller (6th), Wayne Bell (9th), Mark Vaughan (11th), Matt Sayers (16th), Nathan Pask (17th) and John Auld (20th), who all scored for the team. In the ladies’ race, Squirrel Ladies captain Katie Harbon was the 1st lady across the line. Other scorers were Astrid McKeown (10th), Paula Adams (11th) and Rhia Botha (21st).
Other finishers for the club were Vincent Wright (37th), Steve Mckeown (40th), Peter Sibbett (51st), Ian Datlen (54th), David Weston (83rd), James Walsh (84th), Oliver Brady (129th), Andrew Coates (154th), Lucy O’Connor (44th), Jo Harbon (49th), James Poulton (193rd), Andrew Cooper (203rd), Geoff Murray-Rochard (204th), Karen Dodsworth (67th), Sue Vaughan (78th), Georgina Quayle (84th), Brian Bailey(223rd), Carina Quayle (101st), Helen Govey (106th) and Brian Judkins (230th).
At almost the same time, 10 Squirrels ran in the Hatfield 5m Road Race, which incorporated the Veterans’ Hertfordshire 5 Mile Championships. Clare Holley said, “this is a nice flat course - the antithesis of XC! It’s also super well marshalled.” There were many notable results amongst the team. Adam Wilson ran a PB in 39:26. Elwyn Howell claimed a 41:10 PB, having completed the Stevenage Parkrun the day before. Abbie Haskell finished in 43:19. Ian Sutcliffe finished in 43:36 and was 2nd V70 in the Veterans’ Championships. Lorna Chambers notched up a 46:48 PB, Hailey Batson secured another PB, finishing in 47:50, and Lindsay Lucas powered to a 57:08 PB. Clare Hooley finished in 55:56, 2 minutes faster than her time on the course last year. First home for the club was Carol Haskell in 32:57. While not PB-ing, Vanessa Rolfe finished in 50:41 and Natalie Williams crossed the line in 51:23.
There were several parkruns on Saturday. Chris Poole travelled to Darlington South, finishing in 23:35 while John Russell finished in 33:24 in Leamington Spa. The Haskell family ran at Salcey Forest, where Carl finished in 23:23, Abbie in 56:01 and Vicky in 56:02. Closer to home, there were 12 Squirrels at the Stevenage parkrun: Ian Harvey finished in 18th place, Dervla Downing was 35th (3rd lady), Andrew Coates was 48th, with other finishers including Darren Matussa (75th), Naomi Parkinson (84th), Elwyn Howell (115th), Claire O’Sullivan (123rd), Philip Flack (134th), Georgina Quayle (178th), Carina Quayle (208th), Helen Giffin (227th) and Pat Norris (284th). In Letchworth there were 8 Squirrel runners. James Dalton was first home for the club in 3rd place, followed by Ian Datlen (10th), Steve Brenton (12th), Christian Allen (37th), Lucy Hurley, storming home in 51st place, Angeliki Shearstone-Strathopoulous (52nd), Jennie Fraser (54th) and Glyn Blakey (109th).
Sunday saw 38 squirrels travel north to Wellingborough for the start of the Three Counties Cross Country League. As defending champions North Herts Road Runners were hoping for a strong start to this year’s campaign and they weren’t disappointed.
A strong team performance saw six squirrels finish in the first twelve with both the men’s and ladies’ teams finishing 2nd in their respective competitions. The combined result put North Herts Road Runners on top spot after the first race in the league. The scoring teams were Jim McConnell, Wayne Bell, Ed Price, Adam Bowller, Stewart Overton, Matt Sayers, Mark Vaughan, John Auld, Katie Harbon, Paula Adams, Rhia Botha and Kat Gourd.
Not a fan of cross-country Clare Hooley decided to race the Bonfire Burn 10k in Cambridgeshire instead. She finished the multi terrain course in 1:12:17. Richard Webber was also running and was very happy to finish with a new 10k PB of 49.41, over a minute faster than his previous effort over the same course.
Caroline Thrussell enjoyed perfect running conditions for the Harlow Half Marathon. Caroline described it as a ‘really hilly course everything is either up, very up or very down, but also really scenic.’ She knocked 2 minutes off her time from 3 years ago and was pleased to finish in 1:44:11.
David Annetts caught an early train with his bike south from Amsterdam to Rotterdam for the first of the Rotterdam Winterserie (winter series) hosted by the Rotterdamse Wandelsport Vereniging Club. A 10k racewalk which consisted of 10 laps around a park on a bright autumn morning. He finished 2nd with a new personal best of 47:51.
The First Saturday of the Month 5k started an hour earlier than usual due to the Rugby World Cup final. 56 runners took advantage of the early start. James Fox finished first in a time of 17:44 and Eva McCabe was first lady to finish in 21:44.
Norwich: Ellie Scott, 26:40. Eglinton: Christine Sharp, 32:26. Cannon Hill: Glyn Blakey, 29:48. Stevenage: Helen Giffin, 32:51, Patrick Norris, 34:14. des Dougnes, Cubnezais: Chris Poole, 22:43. Wimpole Estate: Ria Botha, 24:14, Naomi Parkinson, 26:12. Letchworth: Stewart Overton, 19:15, James Dalton, 22:09, Ian Harvey, 22:58. Frickley: Andrew Robson, 24:47.
The leaves have turned golden, the smell of wood fires fill the air and the gentle knocking sound of runner’s knees waiting in the cold can only mean one thing...the XC season is upon us. There is no better way to welcome this season then to head over to Ampthill and run the Ampthill Trophy. A full 10k course without a single blade of grass that isn’t pointing downhill at 45 degrees or uphill at 45 degrees. Many a runner has been taken hostage by this course. Not for the fainthearted or sensible of mind - nonetheless the course was visited by a number of squirrels. Oliver Brady stormed into 1st place in the Men’s Under 20 category with a time of 41.11 which also placed him 9th Overall. Not to be outdone Andrew Porter also won his age category of V70 in a time of 62.59. Also running were the President (of the club) Dickie Harbon in 47.11, Miranda Morgan in 66.19, Hannah Keeble in 70.12 and Brian Judkins in 75.13.
Adam Bowller sought a different challenge to the Ampthill Trophy and decided to represent the East of England XC team in Bury St Edmunds racing against Cambridge Uni and the RAF who put up a tough flight but ran out of fuel towards the end. Adam finished the 6 mile course in 30th place in a time of 35:25.
John Rayner continued his fine form by beating 19,923 people to finish 77th in the Great South Run. A race close to John’s heart as Portsmouth was where his grandparents lived as well as being the city where he went to uni and where he met his wife. The city obviously remembered John as the weather played nice and offered a tail wind for the final 2 miles of this 10 mile course enabling John to set a new PB of 58.13. A superb time. Sheryl Chatfield also ran the race and finished in a fine 1:30:42.
Stewart Overton and Darren Sunter continued their targeting of the marathon distance by running the Yorkshire Marathon. Stewart was aiming to finish in 2hrs 45 mins. Stewart finished in 2hrs and 45 mins...which I guess means the training plan worked… This was a new PB for Stewart and as all runners know he enjoyed this achievement for 20 minutes before setting himself a new target for his next marathon. Darren Sunter used this a training run(!) for the Valencia marathon and finished in 2:53:25. Jim Marvell was pleased to set a new post-injury PB in this race as well with a time of 5:07:58. In other marathon news Jo Summers ran the Chelmsford marathon in an excellent 3hrs 46mins. This is only the 50th time Jo has run a marathon in under 4 hours. A brilliant achievement considering the ridiculous amount of Gummi bears she consumed on her way round.
Clare Hooley and James Drew ran the Cambridge Town and Gown 10k. Clare was pleased to be able to take part having missed out on the race last year due to injury. Clare finished in 1:10:09 having enjoyed the beautiful scenery running alongside the river Cam past King’s College.
130 9 Rhiannon BOTHA North Herts RRC 00:21:33
25 22 Darren MATUSSA North Herts RRC 00:23:54
31 28 Steve WILLIAMSON North Herts RRC 00:22:01
37 5 Paula HOLM North Herts RRC 00:22:24
45 7 Dervla DOWNING North Herts RRC 00:22:52
99 14 Sarah MILLHOUSE North Herts RRC 00:25:12
146 117 Philip FLACK North Herts RRC 00:27:30
195 51 Sarah MITCHERSON North Herts RRC 00:30:22
199 55 Helen GIFFIN North Herts RRC 00:30:36
265 95 Jane CLARKE North Herts RRC 00:34:49
269 173 Brian JUDKINS North Herts RRC 00:34:55
Undeterred by weather forecasts of torrential rain, record numbers took part in the North Herts Road Runners-organised Standalone 10K, and as always, the event saw some incredible performances from local runners.
In the women's race, Lizzy Janes of Herts Phoenix took her 6th Standalone victory, with Rebecca Newstead of Beds & County taking second place. Katie Harbon (3rd) 38:05 was the first female North Herts Road Runner to finish, also taking the bronze in the County Champs and led the NHRR ladies team home to silver county medal position. Caroline Thrussell (11th) 44:02 described her nerves before the race but said they soon turned to excitement. Despite a tricky 5th mile, she still managed a PB, and won the Over 55s (open race and county). She was also delighted to be awarded a county team medal along with her niece Sophie Thrussell (20th) 44:49 who completed the team.
The male Squirrels were led to victory by Andrew Leach who finished first overall in a time of 33:14. He was closely followed by Tom Webb (2nd) 33:32, Mark Vaughan (4th) 33:56 and Stewart Overton (6th) 34:19 to make up the winning men’s team for both the race and the County Champs. Second in the men’s team competition were Darren Sunter (7th) 34:25, Nathan Pask (8th) 34:32, Jim McConnel (9th) 34:39 and Matt Sayers (12th) 35:22.
As always, Standalone Eve saw the First Saturday of the Month – perfect for those looking to loosen the legs ahead of Sunday’s event or for those club members who would be busy marshalling the 10K. The event saw 49 runners enjoying Norton Common with NHRR’s own John Auld coming in 1st position with 18:47. The field included another 14 Squirrels James Keogh (3rd) 19:56, James Dalton (4th) 20:18, Paula Holm (8th) 22:49, Kat Gourd (13th) 23:48, Alice Bates (16th) 25:26, Adam Wilson (18th) 26:25, Carl Goodrum (20th) 26:51, Chris Stokes (26th) 27:59, Gladys Cheng (30th) 28:23, Phil Flack (35th) 29:00, Dawn Power (40th) 31:18, Helen Giffin (41st) 32:08, Clare Hooley (46th) 37:18, Lorna Chambers (47th) 37:18.
Jillian Boys travelled to Wales to compete in the first ever Canicross Long Distance event – the Red Kite Cani Trail. Boys described the day as “amazing and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Twenty-two miles of the most challenging trails across the Welsh mountains, taking in bogs, streams, fallen trees and angry cows and some of the steepest ascents I have even seen”. She paid tribute to her running partner Lulu who “took the whole thing in her stride and is the best teammate anyone could ask for”.
Closer to home, Elwyn Howell took on the Willow 10K at Hatfield House and was pleased to finish in 54:40 while raising money for such a worthwhile cause.
Vanessa Rolfe journeyed to Poland to participate in the Warsaw Marathon. Rolfe enjoyed the route, the plentiful toilets, well stocked drink/feed stations and the local bands playing along the course. She completed the course in 5:14.
Sue Foot competed in the Great Barrow Challenge marathon, taking in four laps of 6.55 undulating miles of road and trail with a fantastic finishing time of 4:43.
North Herts Road Runners sent two teams to the SEAA road relays at Crystal Palace. The relays are a prestigious event that provide road runners from across the South of England a great opportunity to race alongside some of the country's best. Once again, NHRR equipped themselves well and produced creditable performances all round. Jim McConnel (19:02), Matt Sayers (19:05), Ed Price (19:05) and Mark Vaughan (19:25) ran the M40 race and finished as 4th M40 team overall. Steve McKeown (20:35), Adrian Sherwood (21:30), Richard Harbon (23:37) and Pete Sibbett (22:06) ran the M50 race, finishing in 11th place.
On Wednesday 18th September NHRR fielded a team in the Ridlins 5000m Challenge in Stevenage. The Squirrels finished in 3rd place. Nathan Pask won the race in 16:18, John Auld finished in 18:10, Adrian Sherwood in 18:32, Darren Matussa in 18:42 74.8% and Rhia Botha in a new PB of 20:55.
At the Millenium Arena in Battersea Park, Stuart Overton took part in the VAC 10,000 metre championships. This was his first time taking part in this distance on the track. Stuart said “front-running a pack for 18 laps certainly cost me places in the later stages but I finished in a time of 34:45 which I was pleased with.” He should have been, as this was enough to rank as the 3rd V35 and the 1st Eastern Masters V35.
Jo Summers ran the Great Barrow Challenge which, according to Jo “has ventured into the murky world of laps… of 6.55 miles, with added interest by running loops 1 and 3 clockwise and loops 2 and 4 anti-clockwise.” She continued “Suffolk is not flat. Neither clockwise nor anti-clockwise. I admit to struggling with some of the hills”. Jo finished in 4.06, first lady and took 42 minutes off the female course record which was set the previous day.
Jennie Fraser ran the Norfolk Coastal marathon, which she described as “a beautiful race taking in the coastline from Holme-Next-the-Sea to Morston Quay”. It was a hot day for marathon running, but with an unrelenting headwind the temperature seemed cooler but the distance longer! The route took in soft deep sand for a couple miles in Holkham, navigating marsh mud and beach-worn shingle paths. Jennie finished in 4:59:34 and would highly recommend the route!
Two squirrels ran the Welwyn Garden City half-marathon. Vanessa Rolfe finished in 2:27:26. Having enjoyed the same race last year she said she “found it particularly tough this time”. She was 4th in her age group, just missing out on a medal. “I must try harder! She said. Helen Marson-Smith ran too, in her first half-marathon, another of the last couch to 5k group the club coached to tackle the distance. She finished in a very creditable 2:35:53.
International Squirrel Michelle Grudzinski has been living in Greece recently and finally got her trainers on and took part in the Ioannina Lake Run 30km. Michelle telegraphed that “it was an opportunity to visit a different town in Greece and to kick myself back into action!” She continued “30km was perhaps 20km too far, but I managed it in a time that would make a tortoise cry (3:51)” Michelle is now looking forward to thinking about training, before returning to blighty in November.
Clare Hooley and James Keogh joined Vince Wright at the last minute for the “Steeple Chase 10k”. This low-key event is a trail run through countryside around Steeple Morden with proceeds going to the local primary school. The route, gave beautiful views across the fields, skirted the former airfield and included a long straight stretch of the Icknield Way trail. There were also cross-country elements around field edges and a short distance across a ploughed field. James told us that “the weather was good, if a little warm, and the threatened thunderstorms didn’t materialise.” Vince and James finished second and third respectively in under 43 mins. Clare was pleased to finish in just under 1hr 24mins, following couple of months off through injury.
Jo Harbon, Andrew Porter and Matt Ankers ran the St Paul’s Walden Burt 10K race. Matt commented that it was an “incredibly hard run. The heat mixed with never-ending ups and downs meant we were all a bit slower than usual! Lovely views though as usual, and lovely ground too!” Matt finished in 55:39, Jo in 58:54 and Andrew in 1:01:55.
17 Squirrels ran in weekend parkruns. At Stevenage Ellie Scott finished in 25:20, Russell Hagan in 26:45, Pat Norris in 33:33 and Jane Clarke in 34:39. Jillian Boys finished Wimpole Estate in 35:19. Rebecca Nicholl travelled to Cleethorpes and finished in 32:18. Chris Poole took on Ellenbrook Fields and finished in 23:35. Naomi Parkinson went to Crewe and finished in 25:34. Finally, at Letchworth there were 9 NHRR finishers. John O’Gorman was first home for the club in 19:06, followed by Ian Datlen in 20:43. Other finishers were Rhia Botha (22:42), Steve Brenton (24:06) Kat Gourd (24:12), Alan Hazlehurst (27:50), Amy Murch (29:16), Glyn Blakey (29:55) and Carol Goodrum (33:35)
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