Two teams from North Herts Road Runners tackled stifling heat and demanding terrain at the Greensand Ridge Relay - a 34.4-mile, six-stage event starting in Leighton Buzzard and finishing in Northill, Bedfordshire – and still came away smiling.
The ‘Faster Squirrels’ were delighted to take third place in the mixed male /female team category with a combined time of 4 hours 22.23. Their excellent result, achieved despite losing a handful of minutes to navigational mishaps on the testing section through Maulden Wood, was built around a tremendous 1.01.53 performance over the 9.1-mile third leg by team captain Katie Harbon. Backing her with determined running were Paula Holm, Ben Ryan, James Walsh and Astrid McKeown, before a strong 30.41 run on the final 4.7-mile leg from Steve McKeown, who described it as ‘a fabulous day, an iconic race in my calendar’.
The second team from North Herts – the ‘Fast Squirrels’ – finished in 5.12.20, with first leg runner Jo
Harbon enjoying what has become ‘one of my favourite running days’. She handed the baton to Michael Over before Richard Baker, Richard Harbon and Sue Vaughan took over. Matt Ankers rounded their run off in fine style.
Elwyn Howell found the weekend’s warm conditions to his liking as he broke his own club record with a rapid 21.12 on the Stevenage Parkrun course, setting a new personal best in the process.
Lucy O’Connor and Brian Judkins both braved the ‘very warm and particularly humid’ conditions at the Shuttleworth 10k Hoohah, Lucy reporting she had ‘forgotten how hilly the first 5k are, and there is no shade until later on’.
Both ‘managed to scrape through’, with O’Connor taking first place in the F60 category with a 59.38 clocking and Judkins crossing the line in 1.23.39. ‘All worth it for the delicious flapjack at the finish’, according to O’Connor.
Chris Cope chose another challenging course for his first ever race in the Cliveden Classic 10k, after his brother ‘with 20-plus years of running experience told me it would be fun’. After tackling ‘not one, but two ascents of a steep set of 172 steps’, Chris said ‘I don’t think “fun” is the word I would use’, but he was still pleased to complete the course in 68.41 and is ‘looking forward to something flatter for race number 2!’
Parkruns were as popular as ever, with 32 Squirrels tackling the classic 5k distance at venues across the country:
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