Magic Merlin and a Milestone for Mary

Perhaps not surprisingly there wasn’t much racing action over the Jubilee weekend. The Parkruns still went ahead in most locations, however, and there was a middle distance triathlon for one intrepid Harrier on Jubilee Sunday.

Saturday morning saw 5 Harriers dodge the crowds in Gadebridge Park as the town prepared for the Jubilee Party in the Park, while 4 GVH athletes made the short trip to St Albans. The most notable individual performance, however, came at the beautiful Fountains Abbey Parkrun, where Merlin Allan broke his own V60 club Parkrun record by stopping the clock at 21:36 for the 5k distance. 

Merlin clearly enjoyed his outing, saying afterwards, “I managed to do the Fountains Abbey Parkrun on Saturday in 21:36. I did my warm up sprints in the 300ft-long nave of the Cistercian Monastery, built in 1170AD. Surreal! Waiting at the start line I ended up chatting to a lady who was completing her 50th Parkrun for Ripon Runners. After the race I discovered she was actually the Bishop of Ripon. Maybe she’d put in a good word for me to get a PB!”

The majority of the Harriers that ran on Saturday morning made their way to the beautiful Aldenham Country Park for Aldenham Parkrun which was the nominated venue for the latest edition of the club’s Parkrun tour. Michael Linden led the way for the Harriers having a close race for the entire two laps, eventually finishing in second place in 19:13, just 4 seconds behind the first place finisher.

GVH at Aldenham before it rained

Not far behind Michael, club head coach Ed Price led home a group of 5 Harriers who finished in consecutive places. Ed was 8th in 20:43, followed by Lewis Ellerby, Vince Ellerby, Andy Cook and Guy Woollett in 12th, who was only 38 seconds behind Ed.

Tracey Cotton was the first Harrier woman over the line, and second woman overall, in 33rd place. Helen Cook and Susie Ivin weren’t far behind finishing together in 50th and 51st positions. Neil Harper was next for the Harriers finishing just ahead of Mary McCluskey who was celebrating her 100th Parkrun and the first Parkrun that her baby son Will had taken part in, albeit being pushed by his Dad. Ines Trent and Helen Heathcote weren’t far behind Mary while Clementine Birnie and James Birnie, pushing baby Will in the pushchair, brought up the rear.

Baby Will shows how interested he was in his Mum’s 100th Parkrun

Ashleigh Taylor had been training hard for several months for the Grafman Triathlon which takes place at Grafham Water near Huntingdon. According to, “Ironman is a brand, but other independent companies put on iron distance (or full distance) events”. Similarly events that are popularly known as “Half Ironman” triathlons would also be breaking trademark laws. So to avoid upsetting the, no doubt voraciously litigious, American lawyers, we have to describe the Grafman Triathlon as a “middle distance triathlon” whilst quietly acknowledging that “we saw what you did there” with the name of the race.

Underused and underloved on Sunday

Ironically (you see, we can all do it), the wet weather ruined any possibility of further trademark infringements by forcing the organisers to reduce by half the length of the cycle ride thus changing the race to some weird hybrid of middle distance and Olympic distance. Ashleigh still enjoyed the experience, saying afterwards, “I enjoyed the event, wet as it was. The last 4 miles on the run were hard. I hate out-and-backs and circles. But it was the right call by the race directors, there were some pretty bad crashes on the bike.” Other distances are available as required, we just don’t know what we are allowed to call them.