Pregnancy and pre-race accidents could not stop North Herts Road Runners from making a clean sweep of the ladies’ podium places at the Baldock Rat Run – an event raising vital funds for Garden House Hospice Care.
Despite falling over and arriving at the start line bleeding, Tracy Pitcairn stormed around the 5k route to set a new course record time of 20:36. Paula Holm followed her with 21:38 and 35-weeks pregnant Rhia Botha completed the trio of podium-topping Squirrels with 22:04.
North Herts’ men also showed great form over the multi-terrain course around Ivel Springs and the Greenway, with Tom Webb winning the race in 16:50 and John Auld, who said he had ‘done my due diligence by practising the two sets of steps at speed’, taking second place in 18:34. ‘It was a good blast’, said a ‘very pleased’ Auld.
Kat Hinitt, Dave Braybrook and Andrew Coates made the long journey to Newcastle to take part in the postponed 40th edition of the iconic Great North Run. After a night out carb-loading in ‘the toon’ (an ‘eye-opening experience in itself!’ according to Hinitt) and a rather unique hotel experience in which they were the only guests in a hotel opened just for them, the three Squirrels had to tackle an ‘unplanned morning lock-in’ at their accommodation but arrived at the start line raring to go.
The usual Great North Run route had been altered due to Covid, so the famous finish by the beach at South Shields was replaced by an out-and-back undulating route along a closed dual carriageway through the ‘scenic’ industrial outskirts of Newcastle.
The three Squirrels gave it their very best, with Dave smashing his previous personal best in 1:38:57, Kat finishing in 1:53:35, and Andrew comfortably beating his target time with 1:59:53. Kat reported ‘an amazing atmosphere, with a huge amount of support and entertainment throughout the course to boost/distract the runners’. All three agreed that it was a fantastic experience to run this legendary race with more than 50,000 other runners of all abilities, and they had a wonderful weekend embracing northern culture.
Paul O’Sullivan modestly reported he ‘managed to win’ his age group at St Neots Tri, describing his category as 'old blokes who should know better!'. Finishing 14th overall out of 100 starters, he clocked 45 minutes for the 10k run and is ’really hoping NHRR sessions can improve that significantly and get me back near 40 mins for first time in a few years’.
Anna Gibson (53:28), Lucy O’Connor (55:29) and Brian Judkins ((1:13:49) ran the inaugural Heritage Shuttleworth 10k Hoohaah. Lucy described the ‘friendly, well-organised’ race as ‘a very scenic, quite hilly trail run within the lovely Shuttleworth Estate’. Lucy was first in her age category (F60) and Anna second in hers (F35).
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