Some stunning results, a popular annual club tradition plus plenty of Parkruns, near and far, made for a busy week for the North Herts Road Runners.
“It was a perfect way to end the racing year,” said speedy Squirrel Stewart Overton at the end of Sunday’s 10-mile road race in Buntingford. The race is now a well-established part of the local running calendar, and knowing that this challenging course is on the horizon has helped many a road runner to stay on the straight and narrow over the festive season. But it proved to be no trouble for the North Herts Road Runners, as they won the overall men’s team prize, and came away with three age-category podium finishers.
Caroline Thrussell was the first Vet 55 Woman, continuing an impressive run of recent results to finish in a time of 1 hour and 13 minutes (beating her own club record for the 10-mile distance by five minutes). Adrian Sherwood ran 64:43 to finish as second Vet 50 Man, while Mark Vaughan was the third Vet 40 and finished in 58:17. Joining Adrian and Mark in the winning men’s team were Overton and Matt Sayers, who both also ran the 10-mile distance in under an hour. The team just finished ahead of rivals Trent Park, who had taken the top spot by a small margin the year before. Another fourteen Squirrels took part at Buntingford, including Lucy O’Connor, who was running this race for the first time, and was pleased to finish in 1:27:53, and David Weston who ran 69:32, knocking no less than six and a half minutes off his previous best for the distance.
The exertions at Buntingford capped off a week that had started with the Letchworth-based club’s annual ‘Mulligatawny Run’. This is a club tradition, in which a group of club members run together over the hills at Pegsdon before enjoying some festive cheer (and some actual Mulligatawny soup!) back at Lilley. “Super muddy but beautiful views,” was long-standing club member James Walsh’s summary, adding “the views at the top were worth it.”
Sue Foot ran the Great Barrow Triple Tipple Marathon on Friday 28th December. This was the first day of a three-day event held each year in Barrow Suffolk. “The event is famous for its checkpoint at mile 20 where you can choose from a very welcome selection of liqueurs!” said Sue, who nevertheless managed to finish in an impressive time of 4.45.
Christmas week also saw the Squirrels test their mettle at Parkruns aplenty across the UK. Close to home, club coaches Karen Dodsworth and Pete Sibbett, along with Mark and Sue Vaughan, ran the Great Denham Parkrun on Christmas Day – and all achieved significant results! First to finish for the club was Mark Vaughan who was third in the race, winning the V45 age group in 17.19. Pete Sibbett went sub-20 for the first time this year clocking 19.46 to win the V55 age category, and Sue Vaughan ran 26.27 to win the FV50 age group. Coach Karen Dodsworth also finished third lady in 25.01 and won her age group, FV55. Also in Bedfordshire was Hayley Cocks, who ran Luton Parkrun and was pleased to finish fifth in her age category.
Further afield, Ellie and Tom Webb took on the sandy Exmouth park run in Devon. Despite having to deal with the sand which had been washed up along the course by waves and wind, Ellie ran the course in 22:28, while Tom finished in 16:25. Lindsay Cook took advantage of a Christmas trip to the Peak District to take part in the Parkrun at Bakewell. “You can really feel the downhill and it makes for a nice fast finish,” said Lindsay, “I was 230th in 30:23 which I was pleased with.” Meanwhile, spurred on by his exertions at the Mulligatawny Run, James Walsh travelled to North Wales, and took part in the Penrhyn Parkrun in Bangor, running the course in 20.59. “Held in the impressive setting of Penrhyn Castle,” said James, “the run has its start and finish line immediately under the castle's portcullis!”
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