North Herts Road Runners bring a festival of running to Letchworth Garden City.
Father’s Day saw the streets of Letchworth Garden City teeming with runners of all stripes, thanks to the return of Run Round the Garden. Organised by North Herts Road Runners, the day was a great success, with 213 people finishing the 5k race, 48 runners taking part in the 1-mile race, and over a hundred children participating in the fun run. The 5k race was won by North Herts Road Runner Ed Price in a time of 17:01. “It was great race,” said Price, “and the fact that there was fun run afterwards meant that my eight-year-old son could take part as well. There was such a good atmosphere, it made it a Father’s Day to remember.” In second place was Charlie Grayson of Stevenage & North Herts (17:58) and in third was North Herts’ Adrian Sherwood, who finished in 18:16.
The first woman in the 5k race was Bedford Harrier Kirstie Sharman (19:00), who then went on to repeat the feat by running 05:48 to finish as the first female in the mile. The winner of the men’s mile was Hitchin Running Club’s Stuart Hansell, who ran 05:06, followed closely by North Herts’ Darren Matussa in 05:11, who along with other clubmates had taken on pacing duties in the earlier 5k race.
Filling out the top three in the women’s 5k were Sarah Mitcherson and Helen Cairns of North Herts Road Runners, whose placings and times (19:59 and 20:40 respectively) were especially impressive given that only the day before they had both been part of the North Herts women’s team that not only won the Greensands Ridge Relay Ladies’ Trophy, but took the course record for a women’s team. This hotly contested regional event is a handicap relay race for teams of six people, running from Waterside Park, Leighton Buzzard along the Greensands Ridge pathway to the church in Northill, Bedfordshire. Joining Mitcherson and Cairns in the successful ‘NHRR Flying Squirrels’ team were Jane Clarke (who also raced on Sunday), Katie Harbon, Sophie Thrussell and Paula Adams. They ran the course in a combined time of 4 hours and 15 minutes – three minutes faster than the previous best time. Two other teams from North Herts also took part in the event: another women’s team, who ran the course in 5 hours 33, and a mixed team, whose time was 4 hours 30.
Plenty more Squirrels were in action over the weekend. Hot on the heels of a successful Riga Marathon, Stewart Overton brought his impressive form to bear on the “quick and flat course” at Bedford 10k. Overton finished the race in 35:40, a minute and 40 seconds faster than this previous best time, and came away full of praise for the event: “Some good support from 8k in gets you moving those legs and a quick finish home.” Julia Callan was also at Bedford, running her first ever 10k in a time of 1 hour 8 minutes.
Elsewhere, David Annetts travelled to Bolton to take part in the BMAF 5k Road Walk Championships. His third place in (an unofficial) 26:08 was enough to win Gold in the V50. On the evening of Friday 15th, Jo Kenlin completed the Stowe 12k run, which she described as a “really beautiful place to run with some stunning views and a few hills.”
The Artic capital of Tromśo in Norway hosted the Midnight Sun Marathon, which North Herts Road Runner Jennie Fraser completed in 4:37.33. Speaking of her incredible experience, Fraser said “It was more like the Midnight Wind and Rain Marathon but when the sun broket through the cloud it was highly dramatic as all the permafrost on the mountains light up like diamonds.”
Closer to home, Jo Summers ran the Baslow Boot Bash, a self-guided 26 mile trail race in Derbyshire, in 5 hours 9 minutes – in eighth place out of 150 finishers. John Auld continued his quest to win South Yorkshire’s Silkstone Shuffle series of races. Saturday’s was the second race of the series, and Auld finished in 5th position. “I started the day in 2nd [overall], 99 seconds down and finished the day in 2nd, 50 seconds down. So, from that perspective it’s a good result,” said Auld.
The week before, three hardy squirrels had travelled to Wales to take part in the Salomon Trail Marathon, a race in the hills of south Snowdonia, 26.4 miles with 1100m height gain. Michelle Grudzinski ran 6:28.28 (“Not a pb for the course but that's not always what it's about...”), Andy Grudzinski ran 5:47.43 and Paul Bowell ran the Half Marathon in 2:31.50.
There’s plenty more to look forward to from North Herts Road Runners, with a very special First Saturday of the Month planned for July. This ever-popular timed 5k race around Letchworth’s Norton Common is to be run at both dawn (9am) and dusk (7.30pm) on Saturday 7th July, with the dusk runners encouraged to bring family, friends, food and drink. With free entry, the Dawn & Dusk Double 5k is another example of North Herts Road Runners’ popular social running events, and promises to be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the best that midsummer has to offer in a picturesque setting. Find out more at www.firstsaturday5km.org.uk
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