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
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