One club record, PBs a plenty and a number of first timers at the distance, resulted in a scurry of delighted squirrels at the Cambridge Half Marathon.
Forty four squirrels travelled to compete in this closed road, popular event, with many more travelling to support along the course. First lady home for the club exclaiming that the race is her “new favourite” was Katie Harbon. Not only did she manage a massive PB but set a new club record in doing so as the fastest female squirrel to ever complete the distance in a blistering 1:16:21. Katie paid tribute to “the amazing support from NHRR, spotted around the course in exactly the right places cheering everyone on.”
Nine female squirrels followed suit, also setting personal bests over the distance. Mel Flynn was “delighted with a significant new PB of 1:51:35” and enjoyed running with so many fellow squirrels. Anna Klucinka (1:21:20), Rhia Botha (1:31:14) and Laura Fairbanks (1:41:20), all proved that their hard training was paying off as they all achieved PBs en route to their longer goals of their Spring marathons.
Lucy O’Connor was thrilled to have bagged herself not only a PB (1:47:25), breaking her previous best from 2018, but also an impressive top ten finish in her age category and celebrated with a delicious beer afterwards.
Andreea Weisl-Shaw completed her second ever half marathon and PB of 2:02:51. Weisl-Shaw said “It was amazing to run through my own university town, where I studied and then taught for 15 years (but never ran a single day in that time). But the best thing was being there with my amazing teammates - the NHRR banner was like a homing beacon both when we arrived, and at the end, and seeing so many wonderful squirrels around the route, there to encourage and cheer us along, was a real boost of energy. I’m not quite where I’d like to be with my running, but I wouldn’t be anywhere near here if it weren’t for our club, the fantastic coaches and friends.”
Jenna Manggos, Nicola Withington, Tracey McCreath and Claire Hooley all raced the distance for the first time. Withington exceeded her expectations with a 2:21:34 finish despite an ITB injury. McCreath enjoyed the phenomenal support before and during the race which made it a very special event for her first ever half marathon and was happy to finish in 2:33:29 (including a toilet stop!)
It wasn’t just the Ladies who were on flying form. The men from North Herts Road Runners put their hard training to the test with some fabulous individual performances.
First male home for the club was Mike Roberts in a superb 1:10:56. Ed Price was one of many setting a personal best over the distance “after a good block of training, I finished in 1:15:03, not quite under the magic 75-minute mark, but it was a PB (just!); my first in years, so I couldn't be happier. The support from other squirrels all around the course was first rate, and I know it made it big difference for us all.”
Shahab Ahmad tackled the distance for the first time “after swearing I wasn't built for anything over 5k when I joined NHRR 7 months ago” and achieved an incredible 1:16:38 he thanked all the coaches and teammates who have been “so generous with their time, support, encouragement and advice over the past few months.”
Also smashing their previous times were Ian Datlen, Oliver Parsons, Mike Over, James Godfrey, Matt Roberts, Ben Ryan and Elwyn Howell.
Ian Datlen’s PB came as a “complete surprise” and ‘blames’ all the support around the course from fellow team mates saying as “it meant he couldn’t slack off”! Despite being a gifted a cold by his children, Oliver Parsons still managed a PB which sets him up well for a successful Manchester marathon in April. Michael Over was delighted by his 10 minute PB over the distance and thanked his coaches for all their hard work in getting him prepared for the race. James Godfrey was thankful for all the amazing supporters that helped him to achieve his time, while Matt Roberts ‘blamed’ the cold weather for encouraging him to run fast. Elwyn Howell was delighted to record a new PB in his home city. Richard Weber narrowly missed out on a personal best but enjoyed racing this event for the first time.
A full list of results; Mike Roberts 1:10:56; Ben Hadman 1:11:34; Adam Bowller 1:12:30, Ed Price 1:15:02 (PB); Sam Coxon 1:15:10 (PB); Matt Sayers 1:15:18, Katie Harbon 1:16:21 (PB) Club Record; Shahab Ahmad 1:16:38 (PB); Kris Whitmore 1:20:35; Matthew Ronayne 1:21:04; Anna Klucinka 1:21:20 (PB); Ian Datlen 1:23:39 (PB); Oliver Parsons 1:25:11 (PB); John Auld 1:26:28; James Keogh 1:27:53; Mike Banister 1:28:01; Ian Harvey 1:29:03 (PB); James Dalton 1:30:09; Rhia Botha 1.31:14 (PB); Mike Over 1:31:27 (PB); Mike Philips 1:35:42 (PB); James Godfrey 1:36:12; Matt Roberts 1:37:53 (PB); Casey Walker 1:37:41 (PB); Ben Ryan 1:39:11 (PB); Elwyn Howell 1:39:30 (PB); Laura Fairbanks 1:41:20 (PB); David Weston 1:42:17; Dave Braybrook 1:42:34; Jane Clarke 1:42:40; Ross Black 1:42:47; Alice Carty 1:46:11; Richard Webber 1:45:44; Lucy O’Connor 1:47:24 (PB); Mel Flynn 1:51:34 (PB), Anna Gibson 1:52:42, Sonny Kurmi 1:58:06; Jillian Tooley-Boys 1:58:56; Andreea Weisl-Shaw 2:02:51 (PB); Jenna Manggos 2:08:43; Nicola Withington 2:21:34; Tracey Maccreath 2:33:28 (PB); Farzana Bhatti 2:56:50; Clare Hooley 3:00:14 (PB)
With most eyes on Cambridge, 8 squirrels opted for the longer distance in preparation for their April marathons. The Essex 20 mile with laps of the disused Debden Airfield provided a great training run with North Herts Road Runners clocking in the following times: Darren Sunter 1:57:16; Ben Sewell 2:02:42; Tom Barclay 2:11:34; Sophie Thrussell 2:24:13; Emma Sandham 3:10:12.
Stewart Overton, Paula Holm and Rachel Arnott travelled up the A1M to take on the ‘rolling and scenic’ Oundle 20 mile road race. All came away pleased with their efforts. Overton ran 2:06:43 for 5th overall, securing 1st male v40 and Arnott with 2:31:24 was awarded the 1st female v45.
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