Magic Weekend for the Harriers

Lots of children believe in magic. Who can forget that moment when your older sibling shattered your illusion about Father Christmas being real? Strangely, some grown ups also believe in magic. So it must have been particlaruly hard for Angeline to learn on Tuesday that there isn’t some magical link from any random race that any member of GVH might run and the person that writes the weekly reports. Quite where this myth originated is anybody’s guess, but apparently some senior members have been spreading it to new members. Please be a grown up and reject such implausible stories. There is no magic in play, people who write about running exploits know about them only because people tell them.

(removed a picture that I should never have put here)On 9th October two GVH ladies took on the Herts 10k. This is a race taking in trails and roads around Harpenden, starting and finishing at Rothamsted Research. As with many races, it had seen a Covid induced hiatus since the 2019 event and so, according to its website, the return of the in-person event had “a celebratory feel”. Isabel Wilson and Anita Fenoughty had different reasons to celebrate their day, with Isabel clocking 53:37 to finish first in her age category and Anita completing her first official race, having graduated from the GVH L2R course in the summer. She narrowly missed out on ducking under the hour mark but still set a superb time of 1:00:10.

Strangely, no fat man in a red suit descended the chimney in my house and the ghost of Robbie Coltrane didn’t turn up on a flying motorbike carrying a magic wand disguised as an umbrella. This total lack of anything resembling magic in the vicinity of my person meant that I was unable to write about the Herts 10k until two weeks after the event because nobody told me about it until two weeks later.

(removed a picture that I should never have put here)Moving on to the most recent weekend, 22nd and 23rd October and there was a pair of Gade Valley coaches running long distance races on Sunday and around 20 Gade Valley Harriers taking part in Saturday’s Parkruns.

For Parkruns, there is a sort of magic update that is accessible through a magic tool called “The Internet”. To work precisely, this magic tool relies on people actually telling Parkrun, through a magic spell known as a “website” which club they are a part of. The result of people not understanding how this magic works is that sometimes we only see the results of those that followed the spell properly. On Saturday, Anita Fenoughty joined 5 other GVH runners at the local Gadebridge Parkrun and clocked an impressive 29:57 in the very muddy conditions. 

Jemma Jackson, however, forgot one of the ingredients of the spell and hasn’t updated her Parkrun profile. This means she doesn’t appear in the results for the club until such a time as she updates her Parkrun profile. Fortunately for her though, I “magically” knew she also ran at Gadebridge for the first time because I cast the magic spell known as “being there myself”.

(removed a picture that I should never have put here)On Sunday two of Gade Valley’s esteemed coaches took on testing solo broomstick missions. Sadly, that isn’t really true, although it might have been useful as Head Coach Ed Price took on his first official Ultra-Marathon race, at the Gower Ultra 50 and Robert Bowler finally managed to make the start line for the Abingdon Marathon having trained but failed to start through injury in each of the previous two years.

Early on Saturday morning, Ed lined up at the start line on the cliffs overlooking Limeslade Bay before getting underway for the 50 mile challenge just after 7:00AM. The circular route of the whole Gower Peninsula, west of Swansea, takes in spectacular views, clifftop paths, coastal paths, sand dunes and some disused railway lines. Ed took just under 10 hours in total for the 50 miles and said afterwards, “I’m pleased with that. Brutal sand dunes but stunning scenery.” Well done, coach!

Robert Bowler has been trying to complete a marathon for most of the past 3 years without quite making it to the start line. This year, with the extra incentive of the vacant V60 men’s marathon record dangling like a magic carrot above a cauldron, he finally managed to get to the start of the Abingdon Marathon. As he himself put it afterwards, “After 3 years of injury and frustration Robert Bowler returned to take on the scenic Abingdon Marathon.” 

(removed a picture that I should never have put here)Not only did he start the race, but he ran consistently for 30k and held himself together admirably in the closing 12k to finish the course in 3:27:44 to set a very challenging mark for the club V60 marathon record. In addition to the club record, Robert also finished over 17 minutes ahead of the Good For Age qualifying mark for the London Marathon, virtually guaranteeing his entry (subject to injuries) to the London Marathon 2024. To quote Paul Daniels: THAT’s Magic!

(removed a picture that I should never have put here)