North Herts Road Runners came close to sweeping the board at the Flitwick 10k with members taking home a clutch of individual prizes and the award for leading men’s team.
26 Squirrels turned out for the race after the Letchworth-based club chose it as their ‘Run of the Month’ for April, and the demanding course around the Bedfordshire country lanes proved to their liking.
NHRR Membership Secretary Phil Hunt said he ‘loved the undulating route and I felt strong going up the hills’. Paying tribute to his club-mates, Hunt said he ‘loved the sunshine, but most of all I loved the company. A great day out for the Squirrels!’
Despite the challenging terrain, Hunt joined Caroline Thrussell in securing a new personal best – 44.05 and 44.18 respectively.
Thrussell hailed a ‘fantastic morning and great company’ after ‘getting bored of long lonely runs and feel in need of a social run with mates’. In a remarkable achievement, she not only beat all the women in her own age group but those a decade younger as well to take first prize for the 45+ category. Thrussell’s success cleared the way for Lucy O’Connor (51.28) to take the title for the 55+ group.
Tom Webb led the Squirrels home with a superb 3rd place in 33.10 and was joined by Darren Sunter (5th in 34.09) and Mark Vaughan (6th in 34.32) in carrying off the men’s team prize.
Oliver Brady (37.53) was first male under-17 and Vaughan was the leading 45+ man.
Other Squirrels running at Flitwick were Wayne Bell (36.47), Peter Clarke (38.57), Peter Sibbett (39.46), James Keogh (40.20), David Weston (41.56), James Walsh (42.28), Richard Harbon (42.45),
Stuart Cocks (45.33), Jane Clarke (48.29), Chris Poole (48.36), Damon Clevely (49.39), Linda Aird (52.08), Jo Harbon (52.13), Sue Vaughan (56.05), Karen Dodsworth (57.14), Vanessa Rolfe (1.03.48), Joy Stroud (1.05.18), Clare Hooley (1.09.44) and Jo Sopala (1.10.12).
Four Squirrels took part in the Brighton Marathon, with Club Secretary Lindsay Cook raising money for Tracks Autism after being awarded one of NHRR’s ‘club places’ in the race. Cook reported ‘the last four miles were tough as it was sunny and running into the wind’, but was ‘very pleased to finish in 5.05.41 as I was expecting to get nearer to 5.30’.
Niccolo’ Bassani agreed that the ‘real game-changer was the wind blowing in from the East’. Despite the ‘really, really tough’ conditions, he finished in 3.29.39 and ‘finally under the 3.30 mark after 5 years – really pleased with my result!’
Jim Marvell was also delighted to finish what was his first marathon since a serious accident in 5.21.32 and Pat Norris finished in 6.22.11.
Race-walker David Annetts successfully defended his Veterans Athletic Club and Herts County titles in their 10,000m championships on the Millennium Track in Battersea. Walking faster than many competitive athletes would run, Annetts crossed the line in a superb 48.54.
Jo Summers was ‘very happy’ to complete the super-flat Boston (Lincolnshire) Marathon in 3.55 after a last mile that was her ‘quickest of the run by over a minute’.
Monica Cullin finished the Goodwood Grand Prix 10k in 1.33.46, overcoming ‘very cold and windy’ conditions – plus a course a good quarter of a mile longer than the official distance.
Angeliki Shearstone was back home in Athens for the Pedio Areos 10k race and was pleased to record an excellent 52.32 despite having to take painkillers to ward off severe toothache.
As usual, North Herts members popped up at Parkruns across the country over the weekend. Rob Harris travelled furthest and ran fastest as he finished the Newcastle parkrun in 17.40. Ellie Scott clocked 22.18 in Norwich and Dervla Downing (22.55), Jane Clarke (34.55) and Chris Stokes (20.42) all turned out at Stevenage.
Parkrun specialist Chris Poole showed that his recovery from the Manchester Marathon just six days earlier was going well as he finished the Houghton Hall Parkrun in 24.12.
Jillian Boys clocked 22.14 at Wimpole Hall and Sam Barry was at Mulbarton Parkrun in Norfolk, finishing in 27.21. Georgina Quayle tackled Fulham Palace Parkrun in 26.53.
Closest to home, an impressive 11 Squirrels completed Letchworth Parkrun, with Matt Sayers second in 18.23. Other Letchworth finishers were Chloe Lucas (23.24), Naomi Parkinson (24.34), Dave Braybrook (25.04), Harry Agius (25.51), Steve Brenton (26.58), James Dalton (29.13), Ian Datlen (30.13), Carl Goodrum (30.18), Carol Goodrum (35.00) and Lindsey Lucas (35.55).
Places are selling out fast for this year's Greenway Challenge. Organised by North Herts Road Runners, this year’s event will be held on Sunday 12th May at 9am, starting and finishing at the family-friendly venue of Standalone Farm.
“The Greenway Challenge provides a delightful step up to the half marathon challenge,” says race director, Karen Dodsworth. “Whilst it is self-guided the paths are well marked and the map and instructions are excellent. Helpful and encouraging marshals will be positioned at key points along the route, so there’s no danger of getting lost!"
The Greenway Challenge is an ideal race to run as a group with friends or family, plus there will be water stations and jelly beans provided on the route. Running the Greenway Challenge is also a great way to support local charities, as profits from the race will go to North Herts Road Runners’ club charities Jackie's Dropin and Tracks Autism. Finishers will receive a medal and there will be plenty of delicious home-made cakes (including gluten free options) for all.
Just a few weeks to go to this fabulous event and there are fewer than 80 places remaining so enter today to secure your place.
The City of Lincoln 10km saw a flurry of personal bests from squirrels that made the trip to the scenic city which finished at the Cathedral. Tom Webb lead the way finishing 32:39 and 10th in a field of over 4500. The Lucas family, Chloe, Viv and Lindsey also produced some great results. Chloe took over a minute of her previous best and Lindsay over 4 mins. Lindsay said that she drew inspiration from the clubs recent talk on mental health and running – that and imagining the voice of a training partner Jo Sopala got her over the line.
Saturday was the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park First Saturday of the Month 10km and four squirrels made the trip into Stratford. Adam Bowller proclaimed the trip a success with two squirrels on the podium. Adam won the race in 34:44 closely followed by Stewart Overton in 3rd and John Rayner in 7th. Darren Mattussa finished in 33rd.
72 runners turned out for NHRR's very own First Saturday of the Month 5km in Norton Common. Paula Holm was first lady finishing 15th overall. Peter Clarke was the first Squirrel home finishing in 2nd place. Closely followed by James Keogh in 4th, James Dalton in 5th, Richard Harbon in 6th and Ian Dalton in 8th.
It was ideal cool and still conditions at the Sandy 10 mile. Tackling the hills and waving to the donkeys was six squirrels including Helen Cairns, Dervla Downing, Linda Aird, Lewania Agius, Ally Blunt and Vanessa Rolfe.
Chris Poole ran Manchester Marathon in memory of is dog, Millie. Chris worked hard to put himself in position for a personal best and despite fatigue setting in in the latter stages, Chris achieved a marathon best of 3:54.
Pat Norris ran the St Clare Hospice 10km near Harlow – a slightly undulating course where all proceeds went to the Hospice. Pat was happy with his even pacing as he went through 5km in 34 mins and finished in 69 mins.
Good luck to all the squirrels running a spring marathon hopefully the training has gone well and you’re now enjoying your taper.
Those that were lucky enough to get a club place in London and Brighton are fundraising for our club charities TRACKS autism and Jackie’s Drop In.
You can support them and our charities by making a donation to one of their fundraising pages below just click on the photo to donate:
London Marathon runners:
Brighton Marathon runners:
It was a relatively quiet weekend of racing for the North Herts Road Runners. This did not mean there was a lack of action though. President Dickie called upon the club members to take part in a Great British Litter Pick this Sunday and where better to do it then on the Greenway. A circular loop of Letchworth that has given so much enjoyment to the club for so many members for so many years. Dickie, Paul, James, Jon, Jo, Katie and Penny all worked tirelessly to clean up a large stretch of the Greenway managing to collect no less than 22 bags of rubbish! A superb effort helping to keep the Greenway looking beautiful especially in time for the club’s Greenway Challenge on the 12th May.
Monica Cullin continues to set an example by winning her age category of female V70 finishing the Bedford Autodrome 10k in 1:31:22. Jo Kenlin also ran this race finishing in 1:10:39. Although the race was relatively flat there was a ferocious wind to contend with.
Miranda Morgan and Sue Foot ran the Thaxted Marathon on Sunday. 3 loops of Thaxted starting and finishing at the Village Hall. This was an off road marathon so the runners had to follow a very detailed description to stay on track! Both Miranda and Sue managed to do this with only a few minor wrong turns both finishing in 6:05. All runners were awarded with a bottle of red wine which I’m not sure is the best way to recover from a marathon but probably the most enjoyable.
The Letchworth Parkrun which continues to become more and more popular attracted a gang of squirrels for it’s 62nd event. Paula Holm who had, ‘Always been too scared to run the course due to mud and hill scaremongering’ finished first female in a time of 22:38. She was hugely pleased with this result having contended with injury the last 5 months culminating in a ‘disaster’ of a race at the Oakley 20 last week. She was accompanied by Carol Goodrum, Carl Goodrum, Andrew Underhill, Angeliki Shearstone, Naomi Parkinson, Jennie Fraser, Phil Hunt, Steve Brenton, Ian Datlen, James Walsh and James Dalton.
Brockwell Parkrun, Herne Hill Georgina Quayle 28:01
Westmill Parkrun Adam Wilson 27:06 Helen Wilson 31:22
Medina I.O.W Parkrun Damon Cleveley 23:16
Stevenage Parkrun Jane Clarke 28:33 Patrick Norris 33:49
Houghton Hall Parkrun Chris Poole 23:48
Wimpole Estate Parkrun Jillian Boys 24:10 Lucy O Connor 30:39
Letchworth Parkrun James Dalton 21:14 Ian Datlen 21:58 James Walsh 22:36 Paula Holm 22:38 Steve Brenton 23:28 Phil Hunt 23:31 Jennie Fraser 25:03 Naomi Parkinson 25:06 Angeliki Shearstone 25:36 Carl Goodrum 30:21 Andrew Underhill 35:17 Carol Goodrum 38:45
Great Denham Parkrun Richard Harbon 20:17 Lorna Chambers 28:54
Loch Leven Parkrun Brian Judkins 33:02
North Herts Road Runners turn out in numbers in a crucial weekend of running ahead of the marathon season.
With marathons in London, Brighton and Manchester just weeks away, dozens of Squirrels made the most of the beautiful weather and took to the roads, with two events dominating the weekend’s races: Oakley 20 and, for the men’s team, the 12-stage road relays in Milton Keynes.
Firmly established in the local running calendar as an ideal preparation for a spring marathon, and famous for the iconic hoodies give to all finishers, Bedfordshire’s Oakley 20-mile race always enjoys a large turnout of runners keen to test their legs. This year was no exception, with dozens of North Herts Road Runners among the entrants. Among them was Phil Hunt, who spoke of a sunny day with a cooling wind: “it was pretty ideal conditions. It's not a flat course, but it is beautiful, taking in several picturesque villages – including their tempting pubs!”
Natalie Lawrence successfully avoided all pubs and won the women’s race in a time of 2:17, not far behind North Herts’ first finisher Rob Harris who ran 2:11. Other Squirrels joining them included Cara Sutton, Alan Hazlehurst and Paula Holm. Naomi Parkinson came away with a 2:57 PB, and Phil Hunt was delighted to finish as the first North Herts Road Runner in his age category. Hailey Batson took two minutes off her best time for a half marathon on her way to finishing in 3:43. As for the hoodies? They were a lovely sapphire blue, and according to Paula Holm “the only thing that kept me going for the last 12 miles!” (See below for the full list of Oakley 20 finishers.)
Just the other side of the M1, the NHRR men’s team took part in the South of England Athletics Association’s prestigious 12-stage road relays at Milton Keynes. Lining up alongside some of the fastest runners in the South of England were twelve of North Herts Road Runners’ men’s finest, taking turns to run alternate long (7.6km) and short (5km) legs. The team were led out by Tom Webb (25:26) who ran the first long leg, and were brought home by Ian Datlen (20:51) who finished the final short leg 4 hours and 44 minutes after the start. As key team member John Auld pointed out, “everyone put a shift in for the team today.” (See full results below.)
Coach Karen Dodsworth’s pictures of a memorable day for the men’s team are here:
The weekend saw plenty of other squirrels in action, including Stuart Cocks, who ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon in a time of 1:47. Stuart commented on the great atmosphere adding “I was feeling good all the way round.” He wasn’t alone in that respect, as Hayley Cocks ran the same race, finishing in 2:33, an impressive 14 minutes quicker than her previous best time.
Hastings on the South Coast provided the backdrop for the “hardest half marathon” that Vince Wright has ever done, and little wonder given the race has a total elevation gain of 864ft. More surprising is that this weekend was actually the fifth time Vince has completed
this challenge. This year, recording his best time at the event, he finished in 88:53 for 89th place out of 2598 finishers. Meanwhile, Pat Norris travelled to Bury St. Edmunds to take on the Kings Forest 10k, and finished in 1:13. “I managed to overtake quite a few runners on the last 3k,” said a delighted Pat, before adding: “Three weeks to Brighton (and a bit more for you Londoners!) bring it on!”
Parkrun results Letchworth: James DALTON (00:21:14), Ian DATLEN (00:23:07), Chloe LUCAS (00:23:11), Jillian BOYS (00:23:13), Daniel MALLETT (00:23:55), Steve BRENTON (00:24:13), Damon CLEVELEY (00:24:38), Angeliki SHEARSTONE STATHOPOULOU (00:26:16), Philip FLACK (00:30:13), Carl GOODRUM (00:30:36).
Stevenage: Dervla DOWNING(00:22:35), Patrick NORRIS (00:33:32), Jane CLARKE (00:36:54).
Great Denham: Ellie SCOTT (00:23:08), Naomi PARKINSON (00:24:18).
Rising Sun: Carina QUAYLE (00:29:59).
Northwich: Nick MALPELI (00:19:47).
Loch Neaton, Watton: Sam BARRY (00:29:37).
Dunstable Downs: Stephen LUMMIS (00:24:34), Chris POOLE (00:25:13)
The full list of Oakley 20 finishers: Pos. Name Chip time 21 Rob Harris 2:11:46 40 Natalie Lawrence 2:17:52 152 Caroline Thrussell 2:38:13 194 Phil Hunt 2:41:57 208 Paula Holme 2:42:52 308 Christopher Poole 2:52:46 368 Naomi Parkinson 2:57:44 409 Jennie Fraser 3:00:53 530 Alice Noakes 3:11:07 586 Susan Foot 3:17:36 632 Alan Hazlehurst 3:24:07 763 Cara Sutton 3:42:33 769 Hailey Batson 3:43:35
SEAA 12-stage relays
(odd numbers long (7.2km), even numbers short (5km)
North Herts RRC 4:44:08
1 Tom Webb 25:26 29 25:26
2 Stewart Overton 17:17 31 0:42:43
3 Jim McConnel 26:20 31 1:09:03
4 Steve Mckeown 18:41 34 1:27:44
5 John Rayner 27:44 35 1:55:28
6 Edward Price 17:51 35 2:13:19
7 Mark Vaughan 27:48 36 2:41:07
8 James Walsh 19:06 35 3:00:13
9 Richard Harbon 33:08 37 3:33:21
10 John Auld 19:43 38 3:53:04
11 Peter Clarke 30:13 39 4:23:17
12 Ian Datlen 20:51 39 4:44:08
Helen Nuttall ran the Reading half marathon on Sunday. She said “There was loads of support on the course, a couple of steep climbs, but a nice race, well marshalled and well organised (with free massages at the end!). I was very apprehensive and a little scared about trying to race after all my time off with surgery etc, but once I started was so happy to be out actually racing and trying to push the pace. I was 10 mins off my PB, but it's all relative and with the circumstances I'm immensely happy with a 1:36:17. More than anything it has given me a confidence boost that I will get back to where I was (and hopefully faster!!).”
Slightly closer to home Elwyn Howell ran a very muddy Welwyn half marathon, taking fully 10 minutes of his PB, finishing in 2:10:26.
Adam Bowler was first across the line for the club on Sunday in the Fleet half marathon, an England qualifying race. He finished in 14th place in 1:12:36, a PB. In perfect weather conditions Caroline Thrussell was thrilled to also run a 2 minute PB, finishing in 1:36:28, a new club record in her age category, but not quite fast enough for an England vest. Other finishers were Edward Price (1:17:58), Darren Matussa (1:25:14), Katie Harbon (1:28:56), Astrid McKeown (1:29:43), Paula Adams (1:30:48), Helen Cairns (1:41:10) and Jane Clarke (1:50:07).
Several North Herts Road Runners ran in the Milton Keynes Festival of Running. In the 10k race, Lorna Chambers was really pleased with her effort resulting in a time of 1.01.30, a 6.5 minute improvement on her debut 10K at Sandy last week. James Keogh said “Between the howling winds on Saturday and the hail storms after the race it definitely caught the best of the weekend weather. Not to say that there weren’t some blustery headwinds at points” James fininshed the half in 1:33:41. He continued “Owing to injury I’m only just getting back to this kind of distance so was pretty pleased with my time all things considered.” Other finishers were (10K) Clare Hooley (1:11:34). Half marathon, John Rayner was 11th in 1:21:28, Sophie Thrussell finished in 1:40:23, Ali Mottram in 2:35:24 and Jim Marvell in 2:35:25. Jim said, “It was my first half and I’m absolutely chuffed with my time of 2:35:24. (I’d been hoping for 2:45 or so!). The course was more scenic and a little more undulating than I’d expected. The last couple of miles were particularly tough but I found a small reserve of energy for the all-important sprint finish.” One brave Squirrel tackled the 20 mile course - Adam Wilson finished in 3:25:05.
Three runners completed the Ashridge Boundary Run in the Chiltern Hills. Linda Aird said “the 40+mph winds and miles of thick mud at Ashridge made it a very challenging run - going over Ivinghoe Beacon there were moments when I was afraid I would be blown off my feet!”. Linda completed the race in 3:12:46. Lindsay Cook added “it was just my kind of run. At least half of it was pretty muddy underfoot, it was fairly hilly and extremely windy”. Lindsay crossed the line in 3:40:04. Completing the trio of Squirrel ladies was Miranda Morgan who finished in 3:22:11
David Annetts continued his impressive race-walking form taking part in two races in a fortnight. In the Molly Barnett / England Athletics 10k Race Walk Championship at Warwick University David was happy to finish 8th in a high quality field in a PB of 49:17. On 16th March he travelled to Sussex for the opportunity to get a longer track race. Though it was wet and windy the conditions were less of a hindrance than he had anticipated. To cap it all, David said “I kept my concentration to continue to the finish knowing that I'd been given the bell a lap early!” David won the race in another PB of 48:29.3
Saturday saw the club run of the month at Letchworth parkrun. Battling 45 mph and ‘carnage corner’ the following club members battled Strom Hannah to record finish times: Peter Clarke (22:38), Richard Harbon (22:55), Phil Hunt (23:52), Pete Sibbett (25:12), Ian Datlen (25:31), James Walsh, Mat Ankers (27:20), Angeliki Shearstone (27:49), Jegan Simon (28:16), Lucy O’Connor (31:31), Rhiannon Botha (31:54), Jennie Fraser (31:54), Carl Goodrum (33:01), Andrew Underhill (33:34) and Carol Goodrum (41:05).
In other parkruns, Brian Judkins ran at Cambridge (33:31), Jillian Boys ran at Wimpole (23:56), Chris Poole ran at Jersey Farm (25:07) and 4 squirrels made the short trip to Stevenage. Ellie Scott was first home for the club (23:15) followed by Naomi Parkinson (24:42), Jane Clarke (29:51) and Pat Norris (34:56).
Squirrels raced up and down the country this weekend battling gale force winds, hills and mud.
Tom Webb, Jim McConnel and Matt Sayers competed for Hertfordshire in the GB Intercounties Cross Country Championship on an undulating and windswept 6.5 mile course at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough where there was a strong field and fantastic support including the loyal cow-bell ringing squirrels on tour. The squirrels finished: Tom Webb – 194th, 38:22 Jim McConnell – 213th, 38:44 and Matt Sayers – 263rd, 40:37. Not to be outdone by the men, North Herts’ youngest squirrel Eva McCabe also gained selection and finished in 198th place. She described the race as “cold, windy, hail and mud. Perfect cross country conditions!”
Having been diagnosed with lung cancer last year, Lisa Laundy travelled to London to complete her first Half Marathon this alongside club mate Ally Blunt while raising money for Macmillan. They crossed the line together in an inspiring 2:23:59. Stewart Overton, Darren Sunter and Lee Hayes took the first train of the morning to compete in the Big Half in London. Stewart, describing the course that takes in a lot of the London Marathon, said that despite it being wet and extremely windy beforehand, they all fared well and enjoyed the support, the fast finish and a well earned beer afterwards! Sunter was first home in 1:13:46, followed by Overton 1:17:30 and Hayes 1:26:45.
Pete Sibbett travelled up North to run the Chester 10km and finished 8th in his age category. Unfortunately the cold, wind and rain combined to make this quite a tough run and Sibbett who said he was unpleasantly surprised at the amount of long uphills finished in 40:26.
In her first return to racing since a prolonged period of illness, Helen Nuttall ran the Hillingdon 20 miles. Speaking after the race Helen said she was delighted to finish in 2:44:17 considering both the hail and the uphills into gale force winds!
Eight Squirrels ran the RSPB Race for Wildlife 10K at the Sandy Lodge reserve, a two-lapper taking in heathland and wooded areas and featuring a couple of tough uphills. They were concerned about the weather, but they picked the right place to race as the blustery winds were not too bad apart from on a couple of exposed bits of the course and the sun even made a brief appearance at one point! Dave Braybrook made his debut performance in a North Herts Road Runners vest and finished the course in a superb 58:02. Leading the squirrels home was Linda Aird: 56:42 followed by Lucy O’Connor 58:28, Andrew Porter 59:43, Ian Sutcliffe 1:00:57, Lorna Chambers 1:07, Brian Judkins 1:10 and Carly Bedwell 1:19:55.
Jillian Boys completed the Harpenden Half Marathon in extremely tough conditions exclaiming that it was not just cold, windy and hilly but VERY muddy too and was pleased to finish in 1:51:08.
Marathon runner Jo Summers ran the Cambridge Boundary race for the 5th time and immediately questioned why, as it is not a course she enjoys and was struggling with a cold. Despite the wind, cold symptoms and feelings of regret, Jo was “relieved to have finished in 4:35”.
Parkruns: Letchworth, James Dalton: 22:26, Richard Harbon 22:57, Chloe Lucas (first lady) 24:52. Stevenage Ian Datlen: 21:16, Helen Cairns: 22:23, Dervla Downing: 23:00, Matt Ankers: 26:21, Rhiannon Botha: 26:27, Jane Clarke 36:27. Ellenbrook Fields, Chris Poole: 24:22. Poolsbrook Stephen Lummis: 23:59. Exmouth, Andrew Underhill: 21:42. Colney Lane, Ellie Scott: 24:47. Wimpole, Brian Judkins 36:11. Old Deer Park, Christian Allen: 23:46. Swansea, Mark Robinson: 19:54.
Despite the damp conditions and it being the morning after the club’s annual awards night, there were a few personal best performances at the Cambridge Half Marathon.
Lindsay Cook admitted to feeling the impact of the awards night, ‘I felt the late night and ceilidh dancing in my legs over the first few miles so I was pleased to finish in 2:18:45.’ Lindsay wasn’t the only one happy with their efforts. It was Jillian Boys second time running at this event and she was delighted to finish in 1:47:38 an impressive 6 minutes quicker than the year before and a new personal best by over 2 minutes. Angeliki Shearstone also ran a personal best of 1:53:42.
Five Squirrels went to Trent Park to take part in the Herts County Vets Cross Country Championships on Sunday. There was much mud, but sadly no medals on this occasion.
Lee Hayes was running in the V50 category and finished the tough, challenging race in 44:32. Then competing over a shorter but no less muddy course of 7.2km, were our V60 and V70 men Ian Sutcliffe, Geoff Murray-Rochard and Brian Judkins, along with Linda Aird competing in the Vet women's race.
Ian Sutcliffe crossed the line in 47:16 to finish 4th V70, with Geoff Murray-Rochard just behind in 47:17. Brian Judkins completed the distance in 55:24. In the women's race, Linda Aird finished in 44:16.
Miranda Morgan, Andrew Porter and Sue Foot took part in the Chiltern Kanter. A map reading event where you make your own route with over 30 grid references to find along the way. This was to be Andrew’s first marathon but in the end the trio did just over 29 miles. The route took them to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon, Ashridge and parts of the Ridgeway and was made all the tougher by the mud, wind and rain.
Parkrun results: Cambridge Brian Judkins 37:08, Mile End Helen Cairns 22:06, Dulwich Georgina Quayle 26:51, Ellenbrook Fields Chris Poole 23:10, Letchworth James Dalton 21:45, Naomi Parkinson 25:24, Damon Cleveley 26:09, Great Denham Pete Sibbett 19:20, Pocket Joseph Sherry 25:38.
There was double success for North Herts Road Runners as their ladies and men won both team competitions at the Baldock Beast Half-marathon.
Men’s team member David Weston credited his part in the Squirrels’ success to the ‘lovely course and atmosphere’ on the rolling route through the villages east of Baldock. Despite unorthodox race preparation involving some ‘liquid carbs’ over a weekend of rugby-watching, Weston was ‘very happy and surprised’ to knock a remarkable six minutes off his previous best time for the 13.1 mile distance as he crossed the line in 1.36.23.
Weston was joined on the winners’ podium by Peter Clarke (1.29.49), Niccolo Bassani (1.35.35) and James Dalton (1.37.47).
Bassani admitted to treating the first half of the race as an ‘easy training run’, but then decided ‘it felt quite a waste of time and I sped up for the second half’. He ‘thoroughly enjoyed it’ – and the event t-shirt above all!’
A personal best time of 1.46.44 from Dervla Downing saw her complete the winning ladies’ line-up alongside Natalie Lawrence, who finished as second lady in the race in 1.26.56, and Caroline Thrussell, , who won the F55 category in 1.40.27.
Hailey Batson was another Squirrel to tame the Baldock Beast – a tough one to pick for her first half-marathon. She was spurred around what she described as a ‘relentless’ course by seeing ‘so many familiar faces’ among the marshals and supporters. She finished in 2.24.17.
Other Squirrels competing in Baldock were Lee Hayes (1:30:23), Ian Datlen (1:38:47), Chris Stokes (1:39:28), Andrew Underhill (1:43:42), Drew Norton (1:44:26), Phil Hunt (1:45:15) Jennie Fraser (1:54:15), Alice Noakes (1:55:33), Adam Wilson (1:59:47), Sue Foot (2:06:15), Andrew Porter (2:11:21), Helen Govey (2:15:49), Cara Sutton (2:15:25) and Miranda Morgan (2:16:47).
Stuart Cocks overcame ‘hot weather – in February!’ to secure a new half-marathon best of 1 hour 42.1 and 1,298th out of 15,00 runners at the Brighton Half-marathon. Hayley Cocks overcame a virus to smash an impressive 19 minutes off her pervious Brighton time to finish in 2.46.58 and Shani Fielding was another happy Squirrel with a new personal best time of 2.50.14.
Despite encountering a ‘very hilly course at the Frickley Country Park Parkrun in South Yorkshire, Andrew Robson recorded a new Parkrun best time of 25.01. Other NHRR Parkrunners at the weekend included Joe Sherry in Bedford (26:40, Steve Williams in Kettering (21:18), Pat Norris (33:32) and Jane Clarke (37:45) in Stevenage, Steve Lummis (24:36) at Linford Wood, Brian Judkins (33:50) in Northallerton, Linda Aird (29:35) in Ludlow and Adam Bowller (16:30 and first finisher) and Stewart Overton (17:02) at Great Denham.
Parkrunning on home ground in Letchworth were James Dalton (21:52), Steve Brenton (24:34), Jennie Fraser (27:46), Brian Bailey (29:45) and Naomi Parkinson (47:26).
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