This Sunday morning saw the popular annual Standalone 10km race finally return to Letchworth after a 1-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race also served as the Herts Veterans County Championships, which saw the county’s best veteran runners toe the line.
Fortunately, the weather gods were smiling down on Standalone farm for the long-awaited return of the North Herts Road Runners’ flagship event, which took place on a perfect autumn morning with ideal running conditions. As in previous years, the race started on Wilbury Road outside Standalone farm and headed out into a 10km loop through the closed roads of Letchworth, Norton, and Stotfold, before passing the Fairfield estate and finishing back at the farm itself, where a cheering crowd, Samba band, and delicious local catering facilities awaited. Almost 800 runners completed the race, and were treated to cheers of encouragement around the course from enthusiastic volunteers from the North Herts Road Runners, with over 90 marshals positioned around the 10 km route. Due to the ongoing uncertainties with the COVID-19 pandemic, the race committee pulled out all the stops, only having 3 months to organise the event compared to the usual 9 months!
Both the men’s and ladies teams from the North Herts Road Runners won the team prizes. James Fox was the first squirrel home in a stunning 33:28 taking 2nd place overall, after a hard-fought battle with first placed Stephen Buckle from local rivals St Albans Striders. He was joined in the men’s winning team by Andrew Leach 34:20, Eliot Buckner 35:18, Steward Overton 35:27, Ed Price 36:10, Peter Clarke 37:07, Rob Harris 37:55 and Vince Wright 39:12. Andrew won the Herts County Veterans 50-59 category, with Steward winning the 40-49 age group. The winning ladies team was led home by Katie Harbon in 38:00, who is having her best season to date and an impressive second place, behind the very experienced Herts Phoenix athlete Lizzie Janes who has dominated the ladies field in the last decade having won six of the seven Standalone 10k races she has entered. Katie was backed up by her teammates Tash Pitman 42:00, Astrid McKeown 43:54, Paula Holm 45:10 and Lucy O’Connor 50:26, who finished an impressive fourth place in the over-55s age category.
Every finisher received a Standalone t-shirt as a memento; the colour of these highly sought-after and collectible shirts changes each year, and this year the colour scheme was white and red to reflect team GB’s success at the Olympics.
Meanwhile, squirrel David Glennie decided to venture a little further afield and ran the Great Manchester Half marathon in a new personal best of 2:31:44. He was delighted with his time which was 20 minutes quicker than his previous half marathon, and commented that the race had “perfect weather and a great atmosphere.”
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