“Beast from the East hits Baldock, however the runners didn't freeze!” was Darren Matussa's summary of Sunday morning's Baldock Beast Half Marathon - referring to the results rather than the conditions. The race is a tough hilly local, multi terrain course. The wind was up and the temperature was down. Squirrels wore a range of clothing from vest and shorts to full length base layers, buff and hats. NHRR carried home a bunch of trophies. The club won both the men and women team trophies. The men's team was Jim McConnel, John Auld, Darren Matussa and Olly Garbis and the ladies were Astrid McKeown, Paula Holm and Sarah Mitcherson. Other silverware won was 3rd place for Jim McConnel. Astrid Mckeown was 3rd lady. On her Birthday weekend, Paula Holm was 1st FV35. Paula said afterwards that her weekend “couldn't get any better”. Sarah Mitcherson was 3rd FV35 and Lucy O'Connor was 1st FV55. Joy Stroud also set a new club FV70 half marathon record, finishing in 2:24:49. Jim said afterwards that it was “a top effort from all who battled today and tamed the beast” - he added “I couldn't wait to get past half way and have the strong wind blow me back down the hill”. NHRR were also had huge support on route from fellow runners either on the cheer squad or as official race marshals.
A scurry of Squirrels travelled to Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath for the National XC Championships. The start of the race is epic. Adam Bowller said afterwards “the start is like nothing I've experienced, big wide start with 2500 runners charging up a hill that narrows, you have to go hard or you'll lose so much ground”. Adam continues to describe “brutal, sapping mud in places” and “you wonder why your putting yourself through it”.
Christian Allen was in the junior men's race, but unfortunately jared his back and had to pull out of the race. Next was the ladies race which featured four flying feisty female squirrels making up a team which finished 101st. First home was Sarah Mitcherson (432nd) followed by Paula Adams (608th), Lindsay Cook (1079th) and Jane Tyler (1095th). Last on the course were the men who didn't have a team due to injuries, but had five men braving the terrain churned up by the 9 races before hand. First home was Andrew Leech (239th) followed by Adam Bowller (323rd), Darren Sunter (475th), Mark Vaughan (792nd) and Johnny Spinks (2153rd).
Three Squirrels ran the Brighton Half Marathon. Colin Calcutt finished in 2:28. Hayley Cocks and Shani Fielding both finished in 3:06. The pair were running their first half marathon and raising money for the Garden City Hospice after completing the clubs Couch to 5km last June.
Saturday morning was rather chilly too, but it didn’t deter the Parkrunners too much. Two Squirrels headed to Bedford and came away with a couple of Parkrun PBs and an NHRR first and second in the race. John Auld finished in 17:16 and Stewart Overton finished in 17:23. Chris Poole ran his 199th Parkrun on a course named after him, Poole, (may be a co-incidence) and finished in 22:27. At Stevenage Sarah Milhouse finished in 25:43, Coach Karen Dodsworth finished in 26:33 and Helen Giffin finished in 29:32. In Letchworth, 5 Squirells ran. Darren Matussa was first home for the club in 22:58. Other finishers were Naomi Parkinson (24:43), Ellie Scott (24:48), Jo Sherry (26:23) and Brian Judkins (33:33).
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