Gade Valley Harriers won both the male and female team prizes, and a plethora of club members picked up personal bests (PBs) on a successful day at one of the club’s most popular spring races – the Berkhamsted Half Marathon – on Sunday.
The event was the club’s half marathon championship race, meaning a large number of members turned out, including some of the quickest runners.
Jon Roberts had won both of the previous championship fixtures of the season so far, and he kept his fine form going by finishing as first Harrier again in Berko, crossing the line in 1:24:41 and in 14th position overall. He finished nearly a minute ahead of club mate Michael Linden, who completed the hilly course in a PB time of 1:25:33.
Gareth Tucker made the most of a rare bright, sunny morning, despite some windy parts along the course, to knock over five minutes off his PB when he crossed the line in 1:27:08. The three of them combined to make up the winning men’s team.
Tucker led a trio of Harriers who finished in consecutive places, ahead of Chris Dowling (1:27:17) – who also collected a PB – and James Birnie (1:27:29). Anthony Willcox (1:28:30) shook off his recent injury concerns to pass Antony Beamish (1:29:02 PB) and Simon Wallis (1:29:31) in the closing stages, while Stephen Newing (1:29:58) clocked his fastest time for a number of years as he sneaked over the line in under 90 minutes.
Guy Woollett (1:30:08) and Vince Ellerby (1:30:29) finished in successive places to ensure that the club had an impressive eleven finishers in the top fifty.
Dave Goodman (1:31:58) and Phil Heaton (1:32:12) also crossed the line in back-to-back positions, and at the front of a quartet of club mates who all finished within sixty seconds of each other, made up by Phil Mercer (1:32:40 PB) and Bill Hawes (1:32:42).
Dave Wood (1:34:12) also acquired a PB on the route that takes in sights of the Ashridge Estate as well as some beautiful Chiltern countryside.
Heather Taylor was the first female from the club to complete the 13.1 mile course, and fourth overall female, clocking an impressive time of 1:34:37.
Teresa Reason was the second female vet 40+ to cross the line and sixth overall lady, with a time of 1:35:54, ahead of Trevor Normoyle (1:37:09).
Andy Cook ran dressed as the club mascot – the Big Gade Bear – and finished in an un-bear-lievable time of 1:39:03, crossing the line ahead of Paul Williams (1:39:00 PB) who picked up a faster chip time due to starting further back.
Charlie Cadogan (1:41:00) also picked up a PB, as he held off Nicoletta Charalambous (1:41:12) who – along with Taylor and Reason – made you the winning ladies team.
Andrew Watt (1:42:31) and Kim Morgan (1:42:58 PB) crossed the line in succession, with Alice Cook (1:43:20 PB) and Gwyn Pritchard (1:43:27) less than a minute behind. Roland Kendall (1:45:54) led a trio of PB gatherers which included Karen Hogan (1:47:40) and George Einchomb (1:49:33), while Vicky Crawley-Wise (1:51:27) held off Natasha Gibbs (1:52:12).
Neil Harper (1:54:37) finished ahead of Rich Peters (1:55:31) and Helen Cook (1:55:45 PB), and Kirsty Neale (1:57:37 PB) and Tom Perry (1:58:56) both completed the course in under two hours, while Jaqui Sampson (2:00:05) missed out by the narrowest of margins.
Susie Ivin (2:01:05), Holly Beckett (2:01:40) and Isabel Wilson (2:02:41 PB) all crossed the line within around a minute of each other.
Sarah Miligan (2:05:03) and Adrian Stobie (2:06:03) both finished ahead of Nicky Moore (2:07:49) and Mary McCluskey (2:09:09) who both took home PBs. Ciara Barry (2:11:44), Anna O’Sullivan (2:12:19), Sarah Knowles (2:12:53) and Kim Rodwell (2:14:28 PB) all completed the race in under 2:15.
Tanya Saunders (2:21:45), Sorrell Jones (2:32:34), Charles Costin (2:43:44) and Peter Tucker (2:50:15) all rounded up the half marathon.
Also in Berkhamsted on Sunday, was the 5-mile Fun Run, which had a handful of ladies from the club. Leona Flaherty (45:00) was the first to complete the course, ahead of Lisa Pinder (47:50), Helen Heathcote (48:21) – who picked up a PB just a week after completing a marathon – Paula Cook (48:30), Tina Searle (50:10) and Nicole Tucker (55:48).
A couple of club members took part in other events over the weekend, with Ines Trent picking up a PB at the Victoria Park 10k on Sunday, with a time of 1:21:55, and Rupert Cavenagh-Mainwaring completing the Serpentine 5k in Hyde Park on Friday lunch time.