On a big weekend that demonstrated the strength, depth and breadth of the club’s membership, North Herts Road Runners took part in a large number of events across the region and brought back some fantastic results.
A group of Squirrels ran the Bedford Twilight 10k on Saturday evening. First home for the club was Astrid McKeown, who ran 40:15 and finished fourth woman. Also running were Lindsey Lucas and Jo Sopala, who ran together and spurred each other on to each achieve a PB, finishing in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Jillian Boys (51.55) and Ali Mottram (1:09:14) were among the club’s other participants. For Ali, it was her first 10k. “I’m pleased with my time,” she said, “and it was a lovely boost to have other club members there cheering me on.”
The following morning, saw even more North Herts Road Runners taking on the Bedford Half Marathon, described as a fast and flat course with scenic views across the river. First home for the club was Darren Sunter in 1:15.59, followed by Stewart Overton who ran a PB of 01:18.06. Also scoring PBs were sisters Linsey Ashley and Jennie Andrews, who ran together and finished together in a time of 2 hours and 19 minutes. Another of NHRR’s runners was Niccolo' Bassani, who finished in 01:36:26. He said that the last four miles proved really tough, and was not alone in commenting on the strength-sapping heat.
Back in Hertfordshire, six full and two honorary Squirrels joined forces to take part in the St Albans Stampede on Saturday. Sue Foot, James Drew, Gary and Lindsay Cook, Paula Holm, Linda Aird, Miranda Summers-Pritchard and Jo Summers made up a team of 8 to run as many of the 4 mile laps of Heartswood Forest/Nomansland Common as they could in 12 hours. Without wanting to waste a minute, they managed to strategically pick who to run when, and squeezed in 22 laps in 11 hours 55 minutes - winning the Team of 8 section by 3 laps.
It was also a busy weekend for the club’s multi-eventers. Eleven Squirrels swam and ran at the Freedom Tri-organised Duck N Dash event in Letchworth on Sunday. John Auld (30:28) was first home for the club, saying “it was the first aquathlon for a few of us, so we clubbed together and tried our best to copy what the tri club members did... I think we pulled it off, apart from looking down the line on transition- the only clothes in there were NHRR vests.” Other notable results include Katie Harbon and Sophie Thrussell, who finished second and fifth respectively in the female senior event; Lindsay Cook, who only the day before had been part of the St Albans Stampede team; and the two Squirrels who took part in the youth section: Eva McCabe was first in 30:08, and Oliver Brady was third in 30:11.
Tom Webb and Matt Sayers travelled to St Neots for the 2019 Standard Distance ETU (European) Triathlon Qualifying event. 450 competitors took part in the 1500m swim in the River Ouse, an undulating 45km bike course and 10km run. Tom Webb achieved a time of 2:11:22 for 12th place (6th in age group), while Matthew Sayers’ time was 2:23:23 (102nd place, 14th in age group).
Lucy Hurley and Naomi Parkinson ran the Dunstable Downs Challenge Marathon on Sunday morning in 5.15. “It was a hot day, but a stunning course (other than the 2 miles of uphill at the end)!” said Lucy, who described the event as friendly and well-organised.
Nick Malpeli ran the South Cheshire 20 on Sunday morning, coming first MV50 in 02:11:20. It was undulating with over 1000ft of elevation gain and warmer than expected towards the end. “Overall I’m very very happy,” said Malpeli. “I hadn't rested for this race as I was treating it more as a long training run.”
The weekend was also a milestone for Brian Judkins, who completed his 200th parkrun on Saturday. He ran at Wimpole and finished in around 33 minutes. “It’s a long haul from the first round a snow covered field in Basingstoke in Dec 2009,” said Brian. “There were only around a dozen in the country then and the finishing tokens were hand written on pieces of cardboard! I intend to keep going a while longer and get to those few local ones I haven't visited yet.”
Finally, the club hosted its regular First Saturday of the Month 5k run at Letchworth’s Norton Common on Saturday morning. Thanks to perfect weather, a convivial atmosphere, and friendly, supportive marshalling, the run proved as popular as ever, with 78 runners, including 23 Squirrels taking part. The next First Saturday of the Month will be on Saturday 6th October, followed the next day by the NHRR-organised Standalone 10k, one of the biggest events in the local running calendar.
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