This weekend, the North Herts Road Runners hosted their flagship annual Standalone 10k race. The popular event, which is now in its 35th year, is a very popular annual fixture in the running diaries of local runners and those from further afield alike.
As in previous years, the race started on Wilbury Road outside Standalone Farm in Letchworth, before heading out in a 10km loop through the closed roads of Letchworth, Norton, and Stotfold, before passing the Fairfield estate with a lovely downhill section back down Wilbury Road to the finish at the farm itself. This year, there were 813 finishers, who were blessed with perfect running conditions of a cool but sunny day basked in beautiful September sunshine. The race was well supported, with enthusiastic NHRR marshals out in force to keep the runners safe and well supported, along with many local spectators cheering them along the route.
The men’s race was won by Stefano Federici of the St Albans Striders in a very impressive 32:29, and the female winner was reigning champion Lizzy Janes of Herts Phoenix in 35:27. Hot on their heels were the NHRR mens’ and ladies’ teams who secured both team prizes. The first male home for the club (and coming in 2nd place overall, just a few seconds behind the winner) was Tom Webb in a stunning 32:36, with his fellow teammates Ben Hadham (32:54), James Fox (33:16), Darren Sunter (33:24), Adam Bowller (33:32), and Stewart Overton (34:45, who also won the MV40 age group) securing the majority of the top places in a flurry of squirrel successes! In addition, Andrew Leach (33:52) placed 7th overall and was first in his age category (MV50). Meanwhile, the NHRR ladies’ team also put in a similarly wonderful performance, with Katie Harbon leading the team home in a new personal best of 36:30 and securing second place overall, with Karen Townsend (39:51), Paula Holm (42:03), and Rachel Arnott (42:19) making up the rest of the winning team and coming in third to fifth place. Tracy Pitcairn was close behind her clubmates, coming in as sixth lady overall (42:59) and won her age category (FV35). There were many other successes from other local clubs as well as runners who had travelled much further distances, including the winner of the FV45 age category, Julie Kelly of the Sydney Striders in Australia, who is visiting the UK to run the London Marathon next week. She completed the Standalone 10k in an excellent 43:36, and surely also deserves a prize for most far-flung runner!
The event was a huge success overall, with the runners all enjoying a fantastic morning in the autumn sunshine, with plenty of praise for the well-organised event and lots of thanks to the NHRR marshals for their excellent help and support. Those who opted to receive the iconic, and arguably highly collectable, annual Standalone t-shirt were rewarded by a recycled t-shirt in a vibrant electric green shade this year, whereas others chose to have a tree planted on their behalf in ongoing efforts to make the event as green and eco-friendly as possible. Race Director Richard Harbon said: “Every year the Standalone 10k just seems to get better and better. This was the 35th year of this superb event and the sun always shines. It was no different this year with over 1000 runners signing up and so many great personal stories from the race. It is an incredible community event where so many people come together to run, spectate, or help out. Thank you to each and every one of them”.
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