At this years glittering Dacorum Sports Awards ceremony, held at Little Hay Golf Complex in Bovingdon, Gade Valley Harriers scooped the coveted award for Best Sports Club of 2015. Despite stiff and worthy competition for the title, the Harriers took centre stage in this, their 25th anniversary year. Receiving their awards from The Rt. Hon. Mike Penning, M.P. for Hemel Hempstead and the newly elected mayor, the Harriers were among dozens of finalists in 9 categories.
After the ceremony Club Chairman, Andy Newing had this to say – “Gade Valley Harriers are immensely proud to receive such a prestigious local award in our 25th year. Our marathon training runs in particular have provided inspiration to thousands of runners (both experienced or beginners) down the years to go on and complete their own personal challenges. They have become a permanent fixture in the running calendar, are admired by many for the quality of marshalling and organisation, and we take a huge amount of pride in them. We’ve also been able to donate in the region of £10,000 to local charities as a result of these runs over the last 16 years and that is hugely satisfying to be able to do.
We have built a fantastic family spirit in our club over the years and I think that all of the people that have run with us would give testament to that. In recent years we’ve tried to take our Club onto a new level by providing a Learn to Run course for local people starting out on their running journey and also expanded the level of coaching, for which our Head Coach and Men’s Captain Ed Price deserves a huge amount of credit.
We have also managed to balance that dedication to our beginners by achieving a lot of success for both Men’s and Ladies’ teams in local road races and the Chiltern Cross Country League. We’ve won a number of local team events and as one of the smaller Clubs in the Chiltern cross country league, I think it’s fantastic that we go into next season with a 3rd consecutive year in Division 1 of what is one of the best quality leagues in the country and that again is a fantastic tribute to the strength and depth of our runners.
I’m immensely proud of what we have developed in our Club and I have no doubt that we have both the younger athletes coming through and the younger organisers too to take the Club onwards into an even better future.”
The Royal Windsor Half Marathon River Trail Run saw Leona Flaherty and Jaqui Sampson representing the Harriers on Sunday 22nd May. The idyllic start and finish of the race was at the foot of Windsor Castle, a royal home and fortress for over 900 years. The flat river route led the athletes upstream to Maidenhead before heading back towards Windsor. Mainly run along river trail paths, the course incorporated many of the key landmarks that have made Royal Berkshire and its surrounding area so famous. Sampson crossed the line in 2:10:53 and Flaherty setting a new PB of 2:02:53.
Wheathampstead was the setting for their annual 10K race, where the Harriers fielded a strong team of 5 athletes. First back for the team was James Birnie in 42:50, closely followed by Steve Newing in 43:41, Claire McDonnell 46:35, Andy Bishop 48:16 and Vicky Crawley-Wise 48:55.
Also at a 10K race, this time in Hertford, was James Thomson who pushed hard and set a new PB of 41:32, claiming 7th overall place .
At the local Gadebridge parkrun this week, the Harriers had 6 runners in the club colours, with Tom Langdown first home for the team in 21:05, followed by Andy Watt 24:19, Rupert Mainwaring 25:51, Paul Buxton 29:13 (PB), Helen Cook 29:17 (PB) and Angeline Cottrill 32:20.
GVH had three runners at Watford’s Cassiobury Park this week, with Scott Dixon clocking a time of 20:02 and father and son team Simon and Ross Geary posting 23:12 and 23:11 respectively.
At the first Ellenbrook Fields parkrun in Hatfield, James Thomson secured 31st place out of 273 runners in a speedy 20:07.
In the hills of Tring parkrun, Tom North cruised home in 4th overall place in 20:38, team mate Tracey Cotton posting a time of 25:10.
Men’s Team Captain Ed Price took to the Aylesbury parkrun and set a time of 18:42, claiming 4th overall place.
At the ever-popular Black Park run, Vince Ellerby took 12th place out of 557 runners in 20:05.