Easter Bunny Kidnaps Magic Results Fairy

Angeline’s Magic Results Fairy has been failing in its duties recently. After she missed Jon Roberts’ V50 5k record on 26th March it transpired that she was also AWOL on 2nd April and failed to report Merlin Allan’s run at the Kew Half Marathon. Initially suspicions were raised that she was in Wales, watching the marathon, but then it was pointed out that she is either magic, or non-existent, and thus being in two places at once shouldn’t be a problem. The prevailing theory is that she was seconded by the Easter Bunny for egg delivery and was deep in negotiations with Hotel Chocolat over their inflation busting rise in the cost of the extra thick Rocky Road to Caramel eggs.

Royalty Free (from Unsplash) picture of a fairy

What the Fairy failed to notice was that on April 2nd Merlin Allan took part in the Kew Half Marathon in London. This race takes place entirely within the bounds of Kew Gardens and it has to be assumed (but can’t be verified because the Fairy was busy) that it is a lovely scenic route and pretty flat. Merlin took full advantage of the (probably) flat route to record a new PB which broke his own V60 Half Marathon record, lowering it to 1:34:52. Merlin is soon to return to Australia and so his long running contest with Robert Bowler can now be considered complete, the final score being 7 – 2 to Merlin, with 2 records as yet unclaimed.

Give us back our results fairy!

Fortunately, by Good Friday, April 7th, the Results Fairy had finished arguing about the price of cocoa and was in Highfield Park in St Albans to watch the start and end of the St Albans Easter 10k. This is an enduringly popular race which mainly follows the Alban Way, a fairly flat path following the route of a disused railway line, complete with a still intact platform, passed once on the way out and once on the way back to Highfield Park.

Bowler can’t wait to see the back of him

At the start of the race, runners run along the edge of a field in Highfield Park before exiting through a narrow opening and taking a sharp right turn into a lane. In an effort to lessen the risk of injury at this bottleneck, the organisers arranged for a marshall to separate “runners who think they have a chance of the podium” from “runners who think they can run under 40 minutes” (a subset of this group is known as “optimists, liars and jokers”). Despite the urging of three teammates, Matt Ashby declined to put himself in the former group, instead setting off in the second wave, perhaps 5 or 10 seconds behind the first group.

Look, the Sun!

Matt proved himself to be the class of the GVH men again by finishing the 10k in a new PB chip time of 35:01, in 5th place (though with the 4th best chip time). Although it is debatable, the fact that Matt’s chip time was only 4 seconds slower than the runner who took the third podium place suggests that had he started in the first group, he may have found the speed to take that final podium place. 

Get to the front next time

Michael Linden was the second Harrier to finish, his time was 37:36 and he finished 25th. His age graded score of 76.68 was the highest for GVH on the day. Stu Gallagher continued to show his ability to bounce between extremely quick and “no better than averagely quick” in short spaces of time. Rumours that there is a correlation between corporate hospitality and his results may have some merit. He was hot on Michael’s heels, finishing only 2 places and 5 seconds back. James Birnie made up the quartet of Gade Valley runners to finish the race in under 40 minutes as he clocked 38:54 to record his second fastest 10k, and his fastest since 2017. Both James and Michael look in strong form for the upcoming London Marathon.

Finishing just outside the 40 minute mark were Steve Newing and Merlin Allan, who finished second in the V60 age category, with Lisa Newing being the next Harrier home, and the first GVH lady, in 45:20 (10th overall female finisher). Robert Bowler and Andy Bishop were next home for GVH with Robert just 2 places ahead, though 2 seconds behind on chip time. As regular readers of this column will know, chip time is king so Robert beat Andy.

Beat that shadow to the PB!

Angeline Cottrill was next (perhaps she brought the fairy with her), in 54:36, ahead of Helen Terry, Gemma Tucker and Kim Morgan, who was recovering from her marathon only 5 days before and was pacing her sister (not a member of the club) to a new PB. Gemma also ran a new PB, completing the distance in 58:18. The GVH 15 was made up by the lesser spotted Karis Thomas (nice to see her again) and Ines Trent, who was also recovering from her marathon exertions the weekend before.

Cant believe Ashby didn’t get the REAL bling!

Full Results from Easter 10k

Finishing Position
Gun Time Chip Time Category Cat Pos Gender Pos Age Grade %
5 Matt ASHBY 00:35:12 00:35:01 Ages 20 – 39 3 5 74.97 PB
25 Michael LINDEN 00:37:47 00:37:36 Ages 40 – 49 5 24 76.68
27 Stuart GALLAGHER 00:37:53 00:37:41 Ages 40 – 49 6 26 75.24
42 James BIRNIE 00:39:06 00:38:54 Ages 40 – 49 11 39 75.34
76 Stephen NEWING 00:42:08 00:41:53 Ages 40 – 49 18 65 66.04
99 Merlin ALLAN 00:43:50 00:43:08 Ages 60 – 69 2 82 76.85
119 Lisa NEWING 00:45:36 00:45:20 Ages 20 – 39 10 20 67.32
151 Robert BOWLER 00:47:00 00:46:34 Ages 60 – 69 6 122 69.66
153 Andrew BISHOP 00:47:12 00:46:32 Ages 40 – 49 37 124 59.42
307 Angeline COTTRILL 00:55:26 00:54:36 Ages 40 – 49 24 83 58.84
381 Helen TERRY 00:58:54 00:57:06 Ages 40 – 49 37 121 52.75
416 Gemma TUCKER 01:00:27 00:58:18 Ages 20 – 39 58 141 50.27 PB
426 Kim MORGAN 01:01:01 00:58:53 Ages 40 – 49 46 149 52.05
513 Karis THOMAS 01:05:40 01:03:54 Ages 20 – 39 81 207 45.61
586 Ines TRENT 01:11:51 01:09:41 Ages 20 – 39 93 262 42.72