It was a quiet weekend of racing for Gade Valley Harriers as only 2 members took part in any organised racing while fewer runners than usual were prepared to go out in the wet for the Parkruns.
Before the weekend, the Gade Valley Committee confirmed the dates for the Marathon Training Runs (MTRs) for 2023. GVH has for many years organised a series of up to 3 training runs in the build up to the Spring marathons. Local runners can pay £10 to enjoy a marshalled 12, 17 or 20 mile route with free tea, coffee and cakes waiting back at the club’s Boxmoor base. The club uses the money to fund itself and every year gives surplus funds to a local charity nominated by the membership.
In 2023, the MTRs will take place on 19th February, when there will be a choice of a 12 or 17 mile route and 19th March, with a choice of 17 or 20 mile routes. Details can be found on the club website including links to the entry form and the year’s nominated charity, Young Lives vs Cancer. 2023 will be the first full year of MTRs since 2019 as the 2020 series was cut short by the start of the pandemic, 2021 didn’t start at all and 2022 also suffered disruption and greatly reduced numbers meaning the event barely broke even.
On Saturday morning fewer than 20 GVH members took part in Parkruns, much lower than would normally be expected, perhaps because of the heavy overnight rain and the ominous looking clouds all around in the morning. At the local Gadebridge Parkrun, the heavy rain was evidenced by the return of the Gadebridge Park puddle near the famous old White Bridge. One person not worried by the weather was Roland Kendal as he clocked the best finish of the day, 8th overall at Gadebridge.
Elsewhere on Saturday, club chairman Andy Cook was attempting to run a Half Marathon in a time quick enough to gain an entry into the New York Marathon for 2023. He and his wife, Helen, had chosen the RunThrough Victoria Park event which, from Andy’s description, sounds like it rivals the Hillingdon 20 for difficulty through boredom of multiple laps.
Andy takes up the story himself: “I needed sub 1:36 to get New York marathon entry for 2023, so having been injured for the Amsterdam Marathon this was my 2nd attempt. Doing 6 loops of the park in the rain on a Saturday morning was the dullest race I’ve ever done. The boredom was mind numbing, and the loops were dizzying! I ended with 1:34:57 and first in my category, so mission accomplished! I won’t be rushing back to do that again. Helen did the 10k to be my support crew and did a fabulous job cheering each time I came past.” For the record, Helen finished the 10k in 53:16, 65th overall female and 3rd in her age category. Definitely more than a support crew!