With so many Saturday morning parkruns cancelled due to the icy conditions, North Herts Road Runners’ First Saturday of the Month on Norton Common, Letchworth, shone like a beacon in the wilderness. 80 hardy runners and around 20 marshalls and helpers turned out in the snow to put on this renowned local event. Paula Holm, one of the brave runners said, “Thank you so much for making this amazing run happen! The absolute best way to start a Saturday off work! Superb atmosphere and that snowman that appeared from nowhere on our second lap was immense - I love snow and I love running - so this morning was a winning combination!”. Caroline Thrussell, added “thank you to the marshalls , hot chocolate maker and snowman builder. A lovely morning.”. Race Director Richard Harbon commented “A big hand to all those that turned out on the common to marshal, run, cheer and throw snowballs. We had 80 runners, so well done to all.” He continued “It was great fun. One of life's pleasures is running in the snow and we did so in great company this morning.” In terms of the results, the Squirrels had 5 of the first 6 finishers, as well as the first lady finisher. Jim McConnel won the race (18:03), followed by Stuart Overton Stuart 2nd (18:45), in 4th place Matt Sayers (19:21), with Paul Jackson 5th (19:36), Oliver Brady (Jnr) 7th (20:11), Matthew Davies 8th (20:32), Chris Stokes 14th (22:31), Eva McCabe (Jnr) 1st lady and 16th overall (22:39), John Cooper 19th (23:00), James Keogh 20th (23:01), Richard Harbon 23rd (24:00), Lucy O'Connor 33rd (26:19) NHRR, Caroline Thrussel 36th (26:46), Paul Holm 39th (27:25), Linda Aird 45th (28:28), Paul Bowal 48th (29:11), Geoff Murray-Rochard 49th (29:14), Karen Dodsworth §50th (29:24), Sheena Cook 51st (29:31), Andrew Porter 54th (30:15), Katrina Dixon 56th (30:36), Carina Quayle 57th (31:13), Gladys Cheng 58th (31:14), Helen Cromack 61st (32:08), Dan Martin 62nd (32:19), Joy Stroud 69th (33:57), Ali Mottram 71st (34:43), Brian Judkins 75th (35:29), Jo Sopala 79th (42:08) and Helen Govey 80th (42:08 )
London’s newest race, The Big Half, saw several Squirrels taking on the likes of Sir Mo Farah and Charlotte Purdue in a half-marathon around the capital. There were some supreme performances with Darren Sunter (having warmed up with Sir Mo) finishing in 1:15.04, John Auld achieving a Personal Best time of 1:16:40, David Weston, in his first half-marathon finishing in an impressive 1:42 minutes and Lindsay Cook in 2hr 25. John said, “I was planning on getting the sub-78 minutes that I narrowly missed last year. The second half was tough, but then it dawned on me that I was going to be close to sub 77. Towards the end I dug deep and pushed on again and was suddenly in the last 2 miles. Knowing I would be good in the last mile I started pushing. Seeing the clock at the end, I really put the hammer down and sailed under 77 minutes. Mission accomplished!”
Four plucky Squirrels also ran in this year’s Cambridge Half-Marathon with two personal best times clocked-up. Matt Sayers finished in 1:17:16 (PB), Sophie Thrussell, one of the club’s growing number of new members, crossed the line in 1:38:58. Chris Poole ran a PB with 1:40:12 and Sarah Mitcherson finished close on Chris’ heels in 1:41:27. Chris also ran Panshanger Parkrun (the only Squirrel park runner on Saturday) the day before, finishing in 66th place (24:42).
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