North Herts Road Runners came close to sweeping the board at the Flitwick 10k with members taking home a clutch of individual prizes and the award for leading men’s team.
26 Squirrels turned out for the race after the Letchworth-based club chose it as their ‘Run of the Month’ for April, and the demanding course around the Bedfordshire country lanes proved to their liking.
NHRR Membership Secretary Phil Hunt said he ‘loved the undulating route and I felt strong going up the hills’. Paying tribute to his club-mates, Hunt said he ‘loved the sunshine, but most of all I loved the company. A great day out for the Squirrels!’
Despite the challenging terrain, Hunt joined Caroline Thrussell in securing a new personal best – 44.05 and 44.18 respectively.
Thrussell hailed a ‘fantastic morning and great company’ after ‘getting bored of long lonely runs and feel in need of a social run with mates’. In a remarkable achievement, she not only beat all the women in her own age group but those a decade younger as well to take first prize for the 45+ category. Thrussell’s success cleared the way for Lucy O’Connor (51.28) to take the title for the 55+ group.
Tom Webb led the Squirrels home with a superb 3rd place in 33.10 and was joined by Darren Sunter (5th in 34.09) and Mark Vaughan (6th in 34.32) in carrying off the men’s team prize.
Oliver Brady (37.53) was first male under-17 and Vaughan was the leading 45+ man.
Other Squirrels running at Flitwick were Wayne Bell (36.47), Peter Clarke (38.57), Peter Sibbett (39.46), James Keogh (40.20), David Weston (41.56), James Walsh (42.28), Richard Harbon (42.45),
Stuart Cocks (45.33), Jane Clarke (48.29), Chris Poole (48.36), Damon Clevely (49.39), Linda Aird (52.08), Jo Harbon (52.13), Sue Vaughan (56.05), Karen Dodsworth (57.14), Vanessa Rolfe (1.03.48), Joy Stroud (1.05.18), Clare Hooley (1.09.44) and Jo Sopala (1.10.12).
Four Squirrels took part in the Brighton Marathon, with Club Secretary Lindsay Cook raising money for Tracks Autism after being awarded one of NHRR’s ‘club places’ in the race. Cook reported ‘the last four miles were tough as it was sunny and running into the wind’, but was ‘very pleased to finish in 5.05.41 as I was expecting to get nearer to 5.30’.
Niccolo’ Bassani agreed that the ‘real game-changer was the wind blowing in from the East’. Despite the ‘really, really tough’ conditions, he finished in 3.29.39 and ‘finally under the 3.30 mark after 5 years – really pleased with my result!’
Jim Marvell was also delighted to finish what was his first marathon since a serious accident in 5.21.32 and Pat Norris finished in 6.22.11.
Race-walker David Annetts successfully defended his Veterans Athletic Club and Herts County titles in their 10,000m championships on the Millennium Track in Battersea. Walking faster than many competitive athletes would run, Annetts crossed the line in a superb 48.54.
Jo Summers was ‘very happy’ to complete the super-flat Boston (Lincolnshire) Marathon in 3.55 after a last mile that was her ‘quickest of the run by over a minute’.
Monica Cullin finished the Goodwood Grand Prix 10k in 1.33.46, overcoming ‘very cold and windy’ conditions – plus a course a good quarter of a mile longer than the official distance.
Angeliki Shearstone was back home in Athens for the Pedio Areos 10k race and was pleased to record an excellent 52.32 despite having to take painkillers to ward off severe toothache.
As usual, North Herts members popped up at Parkruns across the country over the weekend. Rob Harris travelled furthest and ran fastest as he finished the Newcastle parkrun in 17.40. Ellie Scott clocked 22.18 in Norwich and Dervla Downing (22.55), Jane Clarke (34.55) and Chris Stokes (20.42) all turned out at Stevenage.
Parkrun specialist Chris Poole showed that his recovery from the Manchester Marathon just six days earlier was going well as he finished the Houghton Hall Parkrun in 24.12.
Jillian Boys clocked 22.14 at Wimpole Hall and Sam Barry was at Mulbarton Parkrun in Norfolk, finishing in 27.21. Georgina Quayle tackled Fulham Palace Parkrun in 26.53.
Closest to home, an impressive 11 Squirrels completed Letchworth Parkrun, with Matt Sayers second in 18.23. Other Letchworth finishers were Chloe Lucas (23.24), Naomi Parkinson (24.34), Dave Braybrook (25.04), Harry Agius (25.51), Steve Brenton (26.58), James Dalton (29.13), Ian Datlen (30.13), Carl Goodrum (30.18), Carol Goodrum (35.00) and Lindsey Lucas (35.55).
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