The cross-country season started in style for North Herts Road Runners, as a group of Squirrels took on the Ampthill Trophy and lived to tell the tale.
“Beautiful day for it, and a lovely location, but those hills don't get any easier!” said Linda Aird at the end of a challenging race. Linda was one of a group of North Herts Road Runners who ran the Ampthill Trophy on Sunday. For many, this is the first cross-country fixture of the season, and this annual event is the perfect opportunity for hardy runners to dust off their running spikes and check their fitness on a testing, but ultimately rewarding course. Linda Aird was pleased to finish in 58:18, two minutes quicker than last year. Jillian Boys also had reason to celebrate having ran the undulating course in 56:21, a race PB and no less than 5 minutes quicker than her previous best time. “For some reason my brain failed to remember just how tough this course was,” said Jillian, “and that coupled with the totally unexpected heat and glaring sun made it even more of a challenge!” Also running were Hayley and Stuart Cocks. Stuart was pleased with his time of 51:13, while Hayley was delighted to have finished at all, having ran the race with something of a fuzzy head – this being the day after her 40th birthday celebrations. “Don't drink prosecco and gin the night before a challenging 10k cross country in Ampthill,” was Hayley’s sage advice. She nevertheless finished the race in a time of 1:24:25, and headed straight for a well-deserved bacon, sausage and egg roll!
Sunday also saw four squirrels join a field of just over 2000 runners at the Cambridge Town and Gown 10k. This was a charity race for Muscular Dystrophy UK. The course packed in a lot of the Cambridge sights including The Backs, the historic centre, Jesus Green and Midsummer Common, and a section alongside the Cam towards Stourbridge Common. “Conditions were perfect - sunny but cool and the route was very flat and fast,” said James Keogh, “and this certainly helped me to a time that was maybe slightly flattering but nevertheless a new PB.” James’ time was 38:02, and he finished in 49th position. Close behind were James Drew (43:39), Sophie Thrussell (45:44) and Vanessa Rolfe (1:02:04).
Further afield, Helen Nuttall ran the Great South Run in Portsmouth. “I think this was my first race this year- I’ve been struggling with heart related thyroid problems so just wanted to see how much I could push it (whilst trying to enjoy it)!” said Helen. “It was a beautiful day for running on the coast and there was loads of support. I finished in 1:12:56. Not my best but still very enjoyable!”
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