It was a busy fireworks weekend for the North Herts Road Runners, with plenty of racing action on offer.
Several squirrels headed to Knebworth House in Stevenage on Sunday morning, under clear and sunny skies (although accompanied by a freezing brisk wind) to take part in the Herts half marathon and 10k races. Both races started in front of the iconic Knebworth House, and began with a loop around the impressive grounds of the estate before heading out into the surrounding undulating country roads. Despite a very cold and windy start, the squirrels soon warmed up and ran brilliantly with some very notable performances. In the half marathon, Ian Harvey was the first squirrel home in a superb personal best of 1:35:33, closely followed by Ben Ryan who also smashed a fantastic new personal best of 1:40:28. Dave Braybrook (1:41:37), Mark Bulley (1:42:03), Caroline Thrussell (01:47:32), and Ellie Scott (1:57:28) also achieved excellent times, while Carina Quayle nabbed a last-minute entry and completed the race in 2:20:17, just a week after running the Baldock Beast half marathon last Sunday. Gladys Cheng also managed to knocked 7 minutes off her Baldock Beast time finishing I 2:06:23. Kat Hinitt (1:48:13) found the hilly course rather challenging, probably partly because it was her third half marathon in a month, but was pleased to complete the race with a new personal best for the course. Kat crossed the finish line with fellow club member Jenny Wilkinson (1:48:26), who really enjoyed it “despite it being a bit windy”, and added “the course was lovely, with lots of animals to see on the way around – sheep, cows, dogs, dinosaurs and of course some NHRR squirrels!” Meanwhile, Elywn Howell and Russ Hagan both opted for the 10k race at Knebworth. Both runners achieved fantastic new personal bests, with Elwyn coming in at 44:38 and winning his age category, and Russ finishing in 51:06, adding that the goody bags for finishers were a highlight.
Over the border in Cambridgeshire, Richard Weber and Brian Judkins ran the appropriately-named Bonfire Burn 10k in Histon, Cambridge. Weber achieved a new course personal best of 46:44 (and his second every fastest 10K), and Judkins finished in 1:09:57. Meanwhile, Stewart Overton ventured to Reading to race in the half marathon there, which he completed in a superb 1:18:21.
Back on home turf, on Saturday the North Herts Road Runners hosted their popular monthly First Saturday of the Month free 5km race at Norton Common in Letchworth. There were an impressive 75 finishers, with Matt Sayers first over the line in an impressively speedy 18:39, closely followed by fellow squirrels Tom Webb (18:40) and Nick Malpeli (19:28). Tracey Pitcairn was first lady home in 21:09, with sisters Helen and Katie Harbon accompanied by Daisy the dog as second and third ladies (23:06 and 23:12, respectively). Lindsay Cook was proud to complete the event with her whole family for the first time. The family of five were the “first family” to finish, with son Matthew (aged 7) abandoning his mum at the finish line and storming to victory, beating her by a whole 32 seconds.
Written by Kat Hinitt.
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