On Wednesday 19th July 12 Gade Valley Harriers gathered at Waddesdon Manor near the village of Waddesdon, north of Aylesbury, for the July round of the Club League. The Waddesdon 5k race follows a fairly simple out and back (up and down) route. It starts in the big car park at the bottom of the hill, goes up steeply to Waddesdon Manor, takes in a lap around the gardens in front of the house then goes helter skelter back down to the steep hill to finish by the car park.
The layout of the course can make for some fast times if you manage to keep enough in the tank to run freely back down the hill after the slog up the hill. Picking up yet another PB, Matt Ashby certainly managed to keep enough in the tank for the descent. He finished 11th overall in a superb 16:34.
Gareth Tucker finished 28th overall, 2nd in his age category, in 18:13 and actually recorded a slightly higher age graded score than Matt, 78.4% to Matt’s 78.3%. Phil Robbins was next for GVH, crossing the line in 18:36. Steve Newing wasn’t far behind, finishing in 19:51 to be the last Harrier under the 20 minute mark.
Roly Kendall continues to improve his times seemingly with every run and he scored a 5k road PB, finishing the course in 20:27. Andy Bishop was a further minute behind Roland with Merlin Allan finishing very close behind and scooping 2nd in his age category. Robert Bowler found himself, not for the first time this year, just behind Merlin, finishing in 22:23.
Ladies’ captain Kim Morgan led home a contingent of 4 GVH women, finishing 5th in her age category in 23:32. Just one place and 3 seconds behind Kim was Jenny Stubberfield while Angeline Cottrill finished just outside the 25 minute mark and Gemma Tucker managed 7th place in her age category.
There was no racing action for GVH over the weekend but there was some notable Parkrunning as this year’s Learn to Run cohort graduated by running what was, in most cases, their first Parkrun at Rickmansworth while Susie Ivin reached a landmark 100th Parkrun at the Eden Project. Susie finished the 5k in 28:16 while Anita Berwick (running with her daughter, maybe? Somebody called Sophie who showed up as “unknown runner” in the results anyway) crossed the line in 35:17.
At least 25 Gade Valley Harriers made the trip to Rickmansworth to help the Learn to Run cohort either by running with them or by cheering them on after finishing their own run, cheering from the sidelines or simply by being there. Obviously this was all about that group of people, so apologies to the usual suspects who won’t get a mention on this occasion.
Natalie Wheeler ran a superb time of 28:56 in her first parkrun, finishing 52nd out of 195 females on the day. Clare Jeffrey wasn’t far behind, in 30:56 (it won’t take long to get under half an hour!) Millie Grundy was running her fourth parkrun, but her first since October last year, and completed the 5k 33:00. Jenny Plastow has been away from running for some time and trained with the L2R group to help get her fitness back, she finished the course in 33:02, scoring a new PB at Rickmansworth.
Katie Nevard was running her 7th parkrun, but her first since 2019 and her first at Rickmansworth. She finished in 33:38, just outside the top 100 female runners. Clare Bowers was just one place and one second behind Katie. Unfortunately, I had to leave early so I don’t know if the two of them ran together and crossed the line in happy harmony or whether they were gritting teeth and getting their elbows out like Lizzie Andrews that time in the handicap in a brutal fight to get to the line first.
Andrea Beattie, running her first parkrun with club captain Kim Morgan (that is her first parkrun, not the first time she ran with Kim) completed the distance in 35:30, ahead of just under 100 other finishers, while Alison Scott, paced by Ines Trent, wasn’t far behind in 36:20. Sarah Everitt was running with Kittie Cole, she finished in 37:07, while Helen Pollard, helped by Laura Johnson, came in with a time of 37:44.
Dominic Hook was the next of the L2Rs to finish and was the only one of the group to have registered on Parkrun as a Gade Valley Harriers athlete. Whilst it isn’t obligatory to do so, regular readers of this column will be aware that the magic results fairies only know about your results if you do register for Parkrun, and all your race entries, with your club as Gade Valley Harriers. Emma Reed was one place and two seconds behind Dominic, but I have already used up the Lizzy Andrews line. May-Wah Lehuby ran the course with head coach Ed Price and managed to break the 40 minute mark comfortably.
Congratulations to all the L2R graduates, we all hope you’ll be joining the weekly sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There have been many people who have joined GVH and continued to enjoy their running and to improve steadily, after starting with L2R. We thank the coaches for all their hard work, and the runners for their dedication, in getting this far, and we hope this is just the beginning of your running journey and your time with the club.