North Herts Road Runners kicked off the cross-country season with a strong set of performances at the Ampthill Trophy – the annual curtain-raiser before the first league fixture on the mud and hills next week.
On a challenging and very hilly course in scenic Ampthill Park, both NHRR men’s and ladies’ teams finished second – the men only beaten by a very strong contingent from Cambridge University.
The NHRR medallists for the ladies were Helen Harbon (14th lady in 57.04), Jo Harbon (15th, 57.30) and Linda Aird (17th, 58.00). The men’s team was Andrew Leach (7th in 37.41 and first in the 40-plus age group), Mark Vaughan (8th,37.58) and Adam Bowller (10th,38.08).
Other NHRR finishers at Ampthill were Richard Harbon (45.45), Dave Frampton (46.36 and first in the V60 age-group), Vince Wright (47.07), Matt Ankers (61.14) and Sue Vaughan (67.06).
Further afield, Darren Sunter delivered a stunning marathon debut with a 3.04.44 clocking in Amsterdam. Sunter was on course for a sub-3 hours finish until cramp struck with just 4 miles to go. He is now aiming to bank the experience and break the 3-hour barrier next year. Seasoned marathoner Andy Mutton ran an equally impressive 3.03.23 in the same race.
John Auld confirmed his impressive progress of recent months with a personal best of 1.20.54 in the Manchester Half-marathon. Auld reduced his half-marathon time by an amazing 3 minutes and joins team-mate Sunter in a growing group of NHRR athletes training for sub-3 marathon glory next year.
Also running in Manchester were Lindsay Cook, who was delighted with her time of 2.13-12 – well inside her 2.15 target – and John Rayner, who was pleased to complete the course comfortably after an injury lay-off.
Spencer Bevan recorded an excellent 1.25.58 in the heat of the Palma de Mallorca Half-marathon – finishing an impressive 42nd in the field of almost 4,000.