The Vitality Big Half Marathon starting at Tower Hill north of the Thames and finishing south at the Cutty Sark saw 19 North Herts Road Runners and 11 Fairlands Valley Spartans overcome cancelled trains and tubes to make the early 8:30am start time. They knew they were in good company with Sir Mo Farrah and Eilish McColgan leading the elite field with 12,000 following in their footsteps. Many squirrels used the race as part of their Autumn marathon preparations, so the times achieved were especially impressive during a heavy milage training block. All 19 squirrels came home in under 2 hours. Mark Vaughan had a perfect race finishing in 1:14:56, bagging second fastest male in the veteran 50 years age group. Mike Roberts led the club home in 1:13:19,with Stewart Overton hot on his heals in great time of 1:15:19. Matt Sayers was fourth in 1:17:49 and Sam Coxon smashed his previous best time in 1:21:41. In the ladies race Katie Harbon finished in 1:25:10, very impressive after completing the Three Peaks Challenge in under 24 hours a fortnight ago. Tash Pitman followed up in 1:34:36 and Rhia Botha ran a solid 1:35:29, despite it being the weekend she moved house!
Full results: Mike Roberts 1:13:19; Mark Vaughan 1:14:56; Stewart Overton 1:15:19; Matt Sayers 1:17:49; Sam Coxon 1:21:41; Katie Harbon 1:25:10; Ian Datlen 1:25:41; John Auld 1:29:04; Oliver Parsons 1:30:03; Tash Pitman 1:34:36; Rhia Botha 1:35:29; Mike Philips 1:37:02; David Weston 1:41:51; Mike Over 1:42:48; David Edwards 1:43:16; Matt Roberts 1:44:25; Kyle Stout 1:45:27; Jane Clarke 1:55:26; Scott Read 1:57:27.
Baldock Town Centre welcomed the fourth edition of the popular Rat Run raising funds for the fabulous Garden House Hospice. North Herts Road Runners had 5 runners taking part with Paula Holm winning the female race in an impressive 20:49, closely followed by clubmate Jill Tooley-Boys who ran canicross with her gorgeous dog Lulu to finish third. James Dalton was first male squirrel home in 20:38 to claim third male, with good runs from Jon Hunt first in his age category and a solid sub 30 minute effort for Alan Hazlehurst.
Meanwhile up on the undulating country roads north of Bedford, five North Herts Road Runners embarked on the popular Bedford Harriers Oakley 20 mile race. Dervla Downing was first home for the club in an impressive 2 hours 56 minutes and 52 seconds, closely followed by Richard Weber in 2:59:22. Lucy O’Connor managed a an outstanding 03:05:55, whilst also claiming second place in her age category and also first Bedfordshire County in the veterans 60 category. Maurice Glatzhofer finished in 3 hours and seven minutes despite a an issue with his knee. Coach Cara Sutton also ran strongly finishing in 3:14:20, knocking over 25 minutes off her 2019 PB for this course. Richard Weber reported "It was an attractive but hilly route (especially the beast of a hill at around the 7-mile mark) and recommends it to anyone who enjoys the challenge of a hilly route!"
Rachel Arnott visited the small village of Northestow to the north of Cambridge for their annual running festival where she competed in the half marathon distance and despite taking two wrong turns, she didn't get lost and secured first place on the podium and sixth overall in a speedy time of 1:37:40.
Over at the Bedford Running Festival the club had some great results with Adam Bowller choosing to race the 5km and proved his return to form winning the 5km race in a stunning 16:45. He said "It was lovely to have a lead bike to guide me round!" Elwyn Howell was also on sparkling form with his fastest recorded times in three different distances over two days and won his age group in all three events! He ran the 5km event in 21:22 on Saturday morning, then the Twilight 10km event in the evening in 44:41. On Sunday he ran the half marathon in 1:39:26. Lindsey Lucas also ran the 10km in 73:36 reporting, "There's lots of water to glimpse through the trees and encouragement from a wide variety of onlookers; fisherman, kayakers, campers and dog walkers as well as family and friends. I even spotted a heron as I crossed one of the many bridges."
Parkruns: 14 different parkruns this week as parkrun tourism season continues!
Leamington parkrun: John Russell 24:58
Shipley Country parkrun: Brian Judkins 34:55
Kettering parkrun: Steve Williamson 25:18
Stevenage parkrun: James Godfrey 20:24; Chris Stokes 22:12
Homewood parkrun: Karen Shaw 32:59
Wimpole Estate parkrun: Andreea Weisl-Shaw 29:33
Panshanger parkrun: James Poulton 21:42; Kat Hinitt 25:30
Gedling parkrun: Helen Marston-Smith 37:20
Letchworth parkrun: Jennie Fraser 30:04
Milford Waterfront parkrun: Carl Haskell 23:54; Vicky Haskell 39:22; Abbie Haskell 39:22
Land’s End parkrun: Anna Gibson 27:20
Henlow Bridge Lakes parkrun: Steve Tracey 23:07; Rob Milburn 24:49; Bob Davis 27:12
Storeys Field parkrun: Joseph Barker-Sherry 26:48
Bury Field parkrun: Branka Moss 41:26
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