The 12 Labours of Hercules
By Mike Bullock
This was a family fun (and free) running scavenger hunt organised last Saturday by myself and Susan for NHRR runners and a few chosen friends. As races are few and far between we wanted to run an event to brighten everyone’s weekend up!
We hosted the whole event in fancy dress as Zeus and Alcmene (Hercules mum). By the end we were totally exhausted keeping up with everyone’s dynamics.
It was indeed a splendid and hysterical day, beginning at 0800 with release of the attached 12 tasks that families needed to complete by 1800. Any families completing by the deadline gained entry to the Final Challenge of the Gods: a race to see who could complete the 13th challenge.
As it was the first event we’ve organised, we were delighted to get 28 teams entering, and the day was pure laughter, as teams did socially-distanced congas in Number 12’s, created their re-enactments of 80’s Athena Posters, ate cake and ice cream as messily as possible, camouflaged themselves in woodland, and raced to the top of the highest hills (our NHRR Mulligtawny was used) to plant flags, before group-singing Meatloaf and Grease songs. Most competitors spent the day in Togas. A special shout out to Jennie & Lindsey’s team, and Jo Sopala’s team who looked resplendent in togas, crowns and specially created swords and shields.
Tim Banting deserves a medal for his superb camouflage task. If you say you can spot Tim, then obviously his camouflage has failed.
Most groups ran over 12 miles during the day, and the best thing (apart from the great laughter) was that not only did lots of NHRR meet safely in small groups to tackle the challenge, but many families tackled it full-throttle with their families - the kids got as excited as the adults!
Everyone received a personalised Scroll from Zeus and Alcmene and Trophies were awarded to:
1. The fastest team
2. The funniest team (Matt Roberts’ family won this one)
3. The most brilliant family
4. The Champions of the Gods trophy
5. Herculean Effort trophy (went to Lindsey and Jenny)
6. Robert De Niro Acting Award
7. Lost In Action Award (this went to Tim Banting who got heroically lost on Pegsdon Hills)
Everyone enjoyed it so much, and you can see hundreds of silly videos and pictures on the Facebook Page (The 12 Labours of Hercules), that we’ve decided to run a follow-up event on 31st October, with a Halloween theme (details on the Facebook group), but we plan to offer the Halloween event to all NHRR members.
With social distancing rules slightly more relaxed, its looking good for running to be a little more sociable also. But before we get the go ahead from England Athletics to resume our club nights, we all need to continue to be mindful of government guidance.
In the meantime, since unlike other sports with dedicated grounds, running occurs in public places, we need to remain especially mindful of the contact a group of runners would have with the public they are passing and also the perception it might have on them. We would therefore like you to consider the following, for the safety of our club members, their families and the general public:
- Please stick to government guidelines that stipulate that we can meet in groups of up to six and socially distance as you run
- Please avoid meeting at Spirella
- Please be mindful on how you arrange your runs/sessions so you can stick to the group size without disappointing anyone being left out
- If you are running in a group of 6, please avoid running in Letchworth or Hitchin Town Centre. We don’t want to upset pedestrians by getting too close.
- Please also avoid the main part of the Greenway and Norton Common during busy times.
- Virtual Runs will continue (see forum) so please continue to post your results
We all miss you dearly and hopefully, we will soon be enjoying our club nights again!! But in the mean time stay safe everyone.
Happy Running with NHRR
North Herts Road Runners have presented a cheque for £5,000 to Letchworth’s Garden House Hospice as it faces a funding shortfall caused by the Coronavirus crisis.
Our Web-a-thon evening of entertainment and appeals for donations raised an amazing £3,173, smashing the £1,000 target set by Membership Secretary Phil Hunt, who first came up with the idea for the event. There was also a further £327 donated by Greenway Challenge entrants and an additional donation from the club’s own funds which rounded up the final figure to £5,000.
The closure of the Hospice’s shops and loss of other fundraising events has left it facing a huge drop in its expected income and the Web-a-thon went some way towards replacing money that would have been raised for the Hospice by the running club’s annual Greenway Challenge half-marathon.
Donations flooded in as more than 100 people logged on from their homes to enjoy an evening of singing, music, dancing and Caroline Thrussell’s hula-hoop challenge - all put on by our talented members. An auction of promises ranging from cake-baking to babysitting to guided birdwatching walks – all to take place once the lockdown is eased - pushed the total above the £3,000 mark. Local driving school Go Drive even donated 20 hours of driving lessons to go to the highest bidder.
Web-a-thon impresario Phil Hunt said ‘I was blown away by the generosity of our members and many friends who supported this event and donated to Garden House Hospice Care. We had a lot of fun putting on the event and seeing people we know for their running put their other talents on show. I am absolutely delighted that we managed to raise so much for this vital local cause.’
Sue Plummer, CEO of Garden House Hospice Care, added: ‘As a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic demand for our care has increased. However, we are unable to fundraise in the ways we usually do, with our usual fundraising activities cancelled or postponed and our shops closed. We are forecasting a loss of £25,000 a week – that’s £1.3 million this year.
‘We are so grateful to our very loyal supporters, and without groups like North Herts Road Runners getting behind us our future faces a serious threat. The club did a fantastic job raising over £3200 in the Web- a-thon. We would like to thank everyone involved for supporting the hospice and helping ensure we can continue to provide palliative and end of life care to our community.’
BMAF have arranged a Virtual 5km event on 14-20 Jun 2020, which celebrates the masters road relay championships at Sutton Park and the 5k championships at Horwich, which were cancelled due to coronavirus.
The entry page is here. Please take a look at the details.
We are looking to create some teams for this based upon age category.
This is aimed at ALL abilities. It would be great to have a bunch of teams in each category.
The entry is open from May 1st - so not available just yet. Will post again when its open. I'm assuming its going to be similar to the 12 stage. You can either enter yourself, and then submit your own results. Or if you wish, I can enter you and I'll submit your result too. I'm happy to help with submissions.
You will need an activity on either Garmin or Strava that is publicly visible. If you have privacy settings enabled - then you can enable a single activity to be public.
Please note the rule on the course: One or more loops totalling 5k, with the start/finish close together.
The teams will be automatically selected based upon the age and the times submitted. So basically we want a bunch of entries to start with. Individual entries also welcome, so if a category doesn't have a team then you're OK.
Every year North Herts Road Runners raise thousands of Pounds for local charities, with a large slice coming from our annual Greenway Challenge half-marathon event. In 2019 the Challenge raised £6,500 and the edition scheduled for Sunday 3rd May this year would have benefited a fantastic local cause – Garden House Hospice Care.
The impact of the Covid-19 crisis means the Hospice faces a shortfall of £600,000 this year and we want to help. So, on the evening of Sunday 3rd May, we are putting on the NHRR ‘Web-a-thon’ – a glittering online evening showing off the best of our members’ talents. There will be singing, dancing, live music, a general knowledge quiz for all to take part and even a five-minute guide to ‘lockdown birds’ you can see in your garden. Most importantly, there will be opportunities to donate to Garden House Hospice Care and support this vital local cause. The donations link is already open on the Web-a-thon donations page.
NHRR Membership Secretary Phil Hunt, who first proposed the event, said ‘We all know that the Hospice is under massive pressure at this time. It’s fantastic that my colleagues at North Herts Road Runners are pulling together to help support it. The Web-a-thon should be great fun, and it’s open to everyone, so pull up a chair and join us for a cracking evening of lockdown entertainment’.
The Web-a-thon is open to all and will start at 7.00pm on Sunday 3rd May – link to come nearer the time. See you there!
Every spring, the North Herts Road Runners hold an awards evening where the club comes together to celebrate the achievements of its members over the previous 12 months. This year was no different, as despite having to cancel the planned party due to COVID-19, the club swiftly made arrangements to alter its plans, and instead held a virtual awards evening on Facebook. Using the social media channel’s Watch Party feature, the club’s chair, Astrid McKeown, presented all of this year’s prizes from her kitchen, looking resplendent in formal evening attire, while the members logged on to watch, comment and celebrate what had been a remarkable year of running together.
“Our social team had put so much effort into organising what would have been a fantastic awards night, so it was a real shame we couldn’t gather in person,” said Astrid McKeown. “We’ll certainly do something together when this is all over, but in the meantime, there was no way COVID-19 was going to stop us celebrating our members’ efforts and successes.”
There was certainly plenty to celebrate. In front of a large online audience, and ably assisted by her husband Steve (in black tie, of course, and debonair as ever), Astrid presented virtual awards to members who had either excelled in races or shown themselves to be supportive and inspirational club members, and in many cases, both! The awards for the best club runners, which are selected by age-grading and performances for the club, were Caroline Thrussell and Mark Vaughan. The most improved runners were Dervla Downing and Pete Sibbert. The short course champions were Astrid McKeown and Andrew Leach, while Caroline Thrussell and Darren Sunter were the long course winners. The athletes who turned out for the club most often during the year were Lucy O’Connor for the women, while the men’s prize was shared by John Auld, Ian Datlen and Pete Sibbert. The awards chosen by the coaches for the most outstanding contributions from the athletes in their groups went to Helen Marson Smith, Andrew Porter, James Dalton, Dervla Downing, Katie Harbon and Vince Wright. The final two awards of the evening were selected by the club’s membership. The winner of the 101% Award went to coach Brian Bailey, and the Personality of the Year was Ian Datlen.
The response to the online broadcast was overwhelmingly positive, with club members commenting enthusiastically about the online broadcast. Head Coach Karen Dodsworth recorded her own video message in response, saying to the club’s members: “We are missing you all, and are so looking forward to the time we can train together again. In the meantime: stay safe; know that we all still share our love of running, and are thinking of each other. Happy running Team NHRR!”
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