On Sunday 19th June, the North Herts Road Runners hosted their popular 5k and 1 mile Run Round the Garden races in Letchworth Garden City, for the first time since 2019.
The fast and flat course through Letchworth town centre is a popular event for those seeking a new 5k personal best time or trying out the 1-mile distance, but also attracts runners of all abilities, with the 1-mile fun run in particular enjoyed by club runners, novices, and children alike.
The squirrels turned out in force on the day, organising, marshalling, and running. It was a beautiful sunny morning with perfect running conditions. In the 5k event, Ian Datlen was first male squirrel home and fifth overall in a new PB of 18:46, closely followed by Daniel Martin (18:56) and William Harrison (19:11), while Karen Townsend led the NHRR ladies home in 19:46, followed by Paula Holm (19:56, and third lady overall), and Rhia Botha (19:59). In the 1 mile event, Ian Datlen was again the first squirrel to cross the line in a speedy 05:39, with Rhia Botha first NHRR lady (06:03) and second overall.
Many squirrels also achieved impressive personal bests in the 5k race, including Tracy Pitcairn (20:15), Elwyn Howell (21:24), Andrew Weisel-Shaw (27:18, which was about a minute quicker than she’d hoped for), and Rhia Botha, whose time of 19:59 secured her first official sub-20 minutes 5k. Botha explained “Today was my first opportunity since joining the club to actually run this race and I couldn’t be happier with my new PB! Such a fantastic atmosphere and so well organised. Today I am a very proud squirrel!” Paula Holm, who also ducked under the 20 minute mark for the first time, agreed: “It was fabulous to work with such a great bunch of squirrels, pushing each other on and to be encouraged by such amazing marshals along the route.” Jon, Sue, and Jillian Boys attended the race as a family and by all accounts it was a successful morning out. Jon, for whom the race was his third 5k event since a heart attack in 2020, was pleased with his time of 42:17, while Sue won her age category in 36:06, and Jillian sped home in 24:31. Meanwhile, Linda Aird also ran the “tough but enjoyable” 5k event – her first proper race for nearly 3 years – and was very happy to finish well under 30 minutes in 27:35, adding “It was so lovely to be able to wear my NHRR vest again in an actual race!”
NHRR will now look ahead to their annual flagship race, the iconic Standalone 10k, this autumn. The 35th Standalone 10k is on Sunday 25th September starting from Standalone farm in Letchworth, Herts. Entries are now open at http://www.nhrr.org.uk/standalone-10k.html
Meanwhile, in a busy weekend of running for the club, on Friday, Stewart Overton travelled down to Walthamstow for the annual Fast Friday 10000 event that doubles up as the English National 10000 championships. He took part in the fourth race of the evening, and even though this did not start until 8:30pm the high temperatures on the track (30 degrees Celsius) meant that any time goals had to be readjusted. He was pleased to finish in an impressive 36:02, and said he would recommend the race as either a participant or spectator, with “lots of supporters taking advantage of the trackside bar with ice cold beer and wine!”
On Saturday, a team of six NHRR ladies piled into a campervan and headed to Leighton Buzzard for the annual Greensand’s Ridge Relay: a relay race comprising 6 segments and covering a total distance of 34 miles in Bedfordshire. Paula Holm ran the first leg, which she completed speedily despite getting a bit lost and seeking help from some local youths, and successfully handed the baton to Jo Harbon. Katie Harbon, Helen Harbon, Sue Vaughan, and Jane completed the team, and despite having to contend with pouring rain and a tough uphill ridge climb (taken on expertly by Helen Harbon), the ladies did brilliantly, winning the silver medal and a very well-deserved podium finish!
Five squirrels made the journey to Wales on Saturday to run in the Coed y Brenin train half marathon. Adam Wilson said ‘it’s the best half marathon I’ve ever done in the glorious Welsh mountains. Well done to Katherine Burr, Helen Cromack, Andy Grudzinski, Dawn Power, Caroline Thrussell and Adam Wilson.
The full NHRR parkrun results for this week are: STEVENAGE Vincent Wright 19:15, James Poulton 22:51; QUEEN’s PARKRUN BELFAST Joseph Sherry 22:53; CLACTON SEAFRONT John Russell 25:10; LETCHWORTH James Dalton 21:48; Tim BANTING 26:13; Brenton 26:40;Geoff Pettengell 34:54; HENLOW BRIDGE LAKES Mike Phillips 21:24, Dave Braybrook 23:25, Jillian Boys 26:00, Matt Roberts 26:54, Rhia Botha 27:53, Andrew Coates 27:57, Natalie Phillips 28:42; AKROTIRI Alice Noakes 23:30.
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