Annual Awards for Harriers

The weekend of 8th and 9th October was a quiet one for GVH as a large cohort of Gade Valley runners are preparing to make the trip to Amsterdam for the marathon next week and another large cohort spent the week recovering from running the London Marathon on October 2nd.

Before the weekend, the club met for the AGM and awards party on Thursday evening, 6th October. Angeline Cottrill gave a tearful speech, her last as women’s captain as she steps down to take up a coaching role. Andy Wells made a solid debut as men’s captain, staying largely within the acceptable time limit while the guilty party for the usual overrun this time out was chairman Andy Cook, whose 10 minute slot was timed at 28 minutes by some observers. 

Less time to complete than Andy Cook’s speech

After the traditional break for pizza, the membership sat back down to drink more beer and watch the annual awards be handed out. The club league has prizes for Men, Women and Age Graded. Michael Linden scooped the men’s and age graded prizes while Kim Morgan (who also replaced Angeline as women’s captain) won the ladies’ prize. The handicap series, sometimes known as “whoever improves most through the summer” but more commonly known as “whoever manages to cheat the handicap system the most effectively”, was deservedly won by Roland “Che Guevara” Kendall.

Wot, no bling for Angeline?

The multi-sport award was awarded jointly this year to Jon Roberts and Guy Woollett in recognition of their 1500 mile round trip from London to Glasgow and back again. The committee award, voted on by the committee for the person that they believe contributed most to the club in the previous 12 months, was awarded almost unanimously to Helen Heathcote in recognition of her efforts over the past few years in organising the club’s series of marathon training runs. Head coach Ed Price again scooped the members’ award meaning he has won that prize every year since records began.

Another AGM, another shield…

The men’s and women’s captains have the final say on the remaining awards and Angeline Cottrill nominated Sam Sparks as female athlete of the year, in recognition of her ultra marathon efforts. She awarded the highly coveted most improved athlete award to Ines Trent, who will be taking on her first marathon in Amsterdam next week, while the best newcomer award went to Anita Fenoughty, who had graduated from the Learn to Run course just a few months earlier.

Captain Andy Wells found it quite easy to choose Matt Ashby as athlete of the year. Matt was always near the front of the club but he saw his times improve rapidly this summer after finally caving in and purchasing some Nike super shoes (but not telling his partner how much they cost). Merlin Allan was awarded the best male newcomer award while Gwyn Pritchard picked up the Most Improved Male award.

Who’s that just behind Merlin?

Just over 20 Gade Valley runners started their weekend at one of various Parkruns. Merlin Allan was first to finish at the local Gadebridge Parkrun ahead of 8 other Harriers. Kim Morgan and Rachel Haffenden were the first female Harriers to finish. 4 GVH men made the trip to Rickmansworth Parkrun where Gareth Tucker led them home in 19:21, while Nick and Sue Crowther were the first to finish at Cassiobury Parkrun. Vince Ellerby took part in his 502nd Parkrun, returning with his son Lewis to their favourite Black Park, where Lewis ran strongly to be the 16th overall finisher in 20:00.

The Royal Parks Half Marathon takes in some of the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Sam Richards and Chrissie Mooney represented Gade Valley on the day. Sam managed a new PB, finishing the 13.1 miles in 1:29:17 while Chrissie finished the course in 2:13:30.

Well played

Finally, Dave Goodman, having broken the habit of a lifetime 2 weeks ago to prepare effectively for a marathon and smash his PB, reverted to type to take on the Boston Marathon with virtually no rest or preparation. He said afterwards, “2 weeks after my epic run at Berlin. I was unofficially pacing a friend who wanted to get a sub 4 hour time. My time was 3:56:54 with my friend 2 seconds behind. This was my second time in the Windy City. A nice cool crisp start to the race and great crowd support once again.” It is unclear at the time of writing if Dave would have been capable of a faster time had he bothered to try.

Unusual for Dave to show off some marathon bling