Dirty Harriers

From time to time there are quiet weeks in the year. Most of them happen in the summer when it is just too hot to bother with racing but you get them in the winter too. On those occasions it can be important to dig into the bank of possible puns and come up with something. With that in mind you have to ask yourself, “Do you feel lucky?”

On Saturday the latest stop on the GVH Parkrun tour saw 9 Harriers travel to Westmill Park. I can’t, of course, mention where that is, as I’ve spent my pun budget on the dreadful Clint Eastwood effort. The weather was a bit murky, Westmill Park is a long way away and maybe some people just didn’t know where (sorry) to go, so the turnout of 9 was probably on the low side but still enough for a good occasion to be had by all.

It’s not your fault if the faster runners don’t turn up

Sometimes when you don’t take part in an event yourself, the comments afterwards can seem a little bit strange out of context. Nick Joseph came up with, “The gunshots were a little disconcerting”, which made me wonder if terrible puns and geographical confusion had caused Nick to be in the wrong place, era, country and reality.

Emma Reed’s post run comment was a little more run of the mill, as she said, “A huge thank you to my cheer squad in the final stretch. It really meant a lot that you went out of your way to support me and I really did need it at that point! What a fantastic, inclusive club GVH is!” Guy Woolett responded with “Good on you Emma for your run around that very wet, muddy tough course. Choose a nice flat tarmac one next time.”

Jon Roberts was the first GVH finisher at Westmill Park, in 4th overall place. Gareth Tucker and Guy Wollet (who told me last week that he was getting his enthusiasm for running back) filled the next two places, while Simon Morris and Vince Ellerby also finished in the top 10. Steve Newing and Nick Joseph were next home for the Harriers while Emma Reed was the first GVH woman to complete the course. In all, the GVH cohort made up 18% of all the runners at Westmill Park. It isn’t clear if the weather and general conditions played a part but it’s always nice to find a (very rare these days) non-crowded parkrun venue.

Elsewhere on Saturday a small group of Harriers took on the local Gadebridge Parkrun. The times for the course reflected the difficulty that the recent weather has built up as Michael Linden was first home in 5th overall place in 21:46. Jono Marval and Anthony Fogden also found the going tough while Rachel Haffenden was first GVH lady home, followed closely by Molly Rice.

There were a handful of Harriers at Rickmansworth Parkrun and scattered around various other locations. The standout performance of the day came from Teresa Reason who finished 3rd overall at Dunstable Downs Parkrun, first overall female runner.

Finally, after a full 7 paragraphs, we get to the reason for the Dirty Harriers pun. There is nothing like a good shoehorning. The Dirt Half is a popular Half Marathon trail race in Leighton Buzzard. 

According to the website, the race starts in the historic market town of Leighton Buzzard and completes a lap of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park before following the picturesque autumnal Grand Union Canal towpath north to Stoke Hammond with stunning views, climbing through beautiful countryside to Great Brickhill. The route then passes through the scenic Rushmere Country Park woodland before following the Greensand Ridge back to the start via the canal towpath and finishing with another lap of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park. Sounds great.

5 Dirty Harriers took on the challenge, although only 4 supplied any photographs. I have to assume that James Festead was there as he is in the results. I haven’t seen him since last year’s MK Winter Half, so maybe I’ll see him again in a couple of weeks. According to the results he put in a great shift, finishing the course in 1:55:00, 20th in his category and was first GVH athlete to finish.

The Dirty Dozen. Well, 4 actually

Vicky Crawley Wise was the first of the non-camera shy group to finish the course, she just missed out on ducking under the 2 hour mark for the challenging course. She finished in 2:00:34 and was 7th in her category. Claire McDonnel, who has always been a big fan of trail races, was next to finish in 2:04:05, 13th in her category. Andrew Terry was next for GVH, completing the course in 2:04:55 and Ines Trent came home in 2:26:34.

NOT a penguin running.

The Dirty Harriers certainly seemed to enjoy their outing and club stalwart Paul Mosely, was on shouting and photography duty as he often is. Ines commented after the race, “Nice surprise to see you all there. Thanks for the shouts Paul.” With that, I could try to throw in some comment about the historical connection between Paul’s running shorts and the era of the original films, but that would be too much of a stretch, and I have a meeting shortly. Hatfield 5 next week, let’s pray it isn’t dirty in any way…

Footnote – we got threatened with legal action not too long ago because I posted images that were under copyright. So I’m not risking any film shots! Also the Duke of Sussex is so litigious that I’m not risking any kind of pun / joke…