MTR Duty for Harriers

The weekend of 18th and 19th February started early for many of the Harriers as those that were preparing for marathons in the spring were mostly on duty throughout Sunday morning on the GVH Marathon Training Run and were thus doing their own long training runs on Saturday morning. So despite the fact that there were no organised races taking place over the weekend, there were still very few GVH runners taking part in local parkruns.

Those that did take part were mainly concentrated at Rickmansworth where Steve Newing led home a group of 7 GHV runners, with Helen Cook being the first GVH lady to finish and Dylan Wendelken making a rare and welcome appearance. A handful of Harriers took on other Parkruns, with Michal Linden leading home a group of 3 at the local Gadebridge Parkrun.

The main business of the weekend for the club was the GVH Marathon Training Run (MTR) which made its full, post-pandemic return on Sunday. The disruption to the marathon schedules caused by Covid lasted into 2022 as many of the major spring marathons, including London and Manchester, took place in October. With the major marathons now returned to their customary Spring berths, GVH could be confident of enough numbers to stage the MTRs profitably, enabling the annual donation of funds to local charities.

The sun threatened to join in the MTR

The MTRs are a series of training runs with marked routes, marshalls, water stops, jelly bean stops and hot drinks and cake for participants at the finish. Although not a race, the runs are taken very seriously by runners from other local, and not so local, clubs who treat them as a vital part of their preparation for their marathons. This year the club is staging two MTRs, with the second taking place on Sunday 19th March.

Some of our friends from Dacorum AC

In a change from previous years based on feedback from participants, instead of organising 3 events of 12, 17 and 22 miles, the club is staging 2 events with alternative distance options, allowing the runners to choose their route on the day but staying within the marshalled roads. The first run allowed runners to opt for 12 miles or 17 miles. Also in a change from previous years, the club has gone cashless and accepted registration payments only by card on the day.

Too many cooks spoil the star jump

Unfortunately many more people turned up to run on Sunday than had registered on the website and it turned out that, although it only takes around 15 seconds to take a credit card payment, 240 such payments will therefore take an hour, and 480 would take two hours. And that would assume no queuing, chatting, fumbling for cards or (curse them!!!) people insisting on putting in their pin number. Needless to say the club is examining the possibility of acquiring more than the two card readers it currently has!

Despite the slight confusion at the start the event was a resounding success with run director Simon Wallis commenting later in the day, “A massive thank you to everyone who helped at today’s MTR and thanks for bearing with us despite the chaotic start. It’s the first time we’ve done an online sign up for that number of runners and the first time we’ve done two distances for that number of runners. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as we’d have liked but we got there in the end and it actually went pretty well despite half a dozen runners needing first aid!”

Rich Coles has slowed down since he left the club

Club coach, and club bling legend, Angeline Cottrill added, “Massive well done to Simon Wallis for superb organisation. It’s no mean feat to get this sorted and, despite a busy start, it went fantastically well. Runners were loving it, they had amazing support from all of us and cake at the end!”

Everybody loves Helen, and this car, when they are freezing on a corner

As always there were multiple compliments paid to the club by the participants before (well perhaps not this time), during and after the event. The club had even listened to feedback (however rudely delivered) from athletes from the Vegan Runners and provided vegan cakes and milk for those that requested it.

Nothing vegan to see here

The last word should go to the marshall who, on being asked (not too politely), “how is this f***ing safe? Somebody will get killed!”, replied calmly, “Yes sir, there is always a risk of somebody getting injured when people don’t drive safely.” For the record, there has never been an injury to a runner caused by a collision with a vehicle in the GVH MTR.