There was success far and wide for North Herts Road Runners as the Squirrels fanned out across the country.
Andrew Leach took a national-level title by winning the British Masters V55 Cross-country Championships on a demanding course at Tonbridge, Kent. ‘Despite perceptions to the contrary’, Leach reported, ‘Kent can be quite hilly, and this was a good illustration - three laps of mostly up and down with one particularly brutal climb each lap’. Leach was delighted to ‘hold off the challenge’ of regular rival Ben Reynolds and said ‘having had to withdraw from the Cambridge Half-marathon last weekend it was good to get a race into the legs and lungs!’.
Leading the way at the Oundle 20-mile race were the trio of Lucy O’Connor, Anna Gibson and Richard Weber, with O’Connor’s 3:03:52 a new personal best by two minutes and good enough for first in her F60 age category. No wonder she hailed the course as ‘an absolute delight’ with ‘pretty villages all with distinctive churches who spires and towers could be seen from afar – I think this is my favourite race to date’.
Weber’s 2:53:44 finish demolished his previous best by ten minutes and he ‘absolutely loved this race – highly recommended’. Gibson recorded 3:28:19 as she continues to clock up the miles in her marathon preparation.
The Milton Keynes Festival of Running also played host to a strong contingent of Squirrels, with Clare Hooley and Men’s Captain John Auld taking the 5km option. Auld finished 4th overall in 18:24 and reported ‘it wasn’t the time I wanted, but the conditions were windy and the course was much more undulating than I thought. In particular, kilometre four was brutal!’. Focusing on the positives, Auld highlighted ‘the fact that I came through the field very well. I picked them off one by one - slowly but surely.’
It was Hooley’s first race in more than two years, and she enjoyed the ‘special’ character of the event, with the staggered starts across all the distances meaning that ‘if you are in the shorter races you can recover, grab a coffee and get out to cheer those doing the longer races. She duly cheered in Ben Sewell, who completed the 20-mile race in a tremendous 2:12:46, and James Keogh, who was pleased that his 1:34:56 half-marathon result was ‘only two minutes longer than in 2019, which seems a long time ago now’. Dervla Downing also completed the half-marathon in 1: 47:05 and NHRR Chief Coach Karen Dodsworth clocked 55.16 in the 10k race.
Squirrels were out in force at Parkruns on Saturday morning, with 29 completing the 5km distance. Joanne Hoare was first lady across the line at Letchworth and Elwyn Howell was first in his age category at Teignmouth.
Dan Martin 21:31; James Dalton 22:15; Steve Brenton 25:04; Joanne Hoare 27:07; James Walsh 27:47; Andrew Grudzinski 29:23; Michelle Grudzinski 29:27; Jennie Fraser 30:36; Paul Bowal 30:38; Philip Flack 36:15
Dalby Forest Parkrun
Brian Judkins 32:22
Henlow Bridge Lakes Parkrun
Rob Milburn 28:21; Helen Giffin 32:59
Chris Stokes 21:58
Somerdale Pavilion Parkrun
Adam Wilson 25:30
Matthew Ronayne 18:57; Michael Over 21:13; Paula Holm 22:45; Richard Harbon 22:52; Andrew Coates 24:36; Matt Roberts 25:18; Barbara Sayers 25:37 Tim Banting 25:44; Sue Vaughan 29:36
Storeys Field Parkrun
Joe Sherry 25:40
Elwyn Howell 21:53
Wimpole Estate Parkrun
Vince Wright, 20:19
Written by James Walsh
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