Vince in No Parkrun Shocker

The weekend of 25th and 26th November saw the latest round in the GVH Club League take place at the Hatfield 5 on Sunday. This is a 5 mile race over a quick course that starts and finishes at the University of Hertfordshire and shares almost half of its route with the popular St Albans Easter 10k. The race website claims it is a “PB Potential course” and this was proven by the number of GVH runners who claimed a new 5 mile PB. On the other hand, the prevalence of PBs could also be because of the relative scarcity of 5 mile racing opportunities (I’ve never run a 5 mile race and didn’t run this one).

Before the club league, however, the usual smattering of Harriers took on various Parkruns, although overall numbers were down as usual on Club League or Cross Country Weekends. The big Parkrun news was that Vince Ellerby didn’t take part in a Parkrun. So no trip to Black Park this weekend. One wonders what he did with his Saturday morning, perhaps he had an appointment with his aftershave sponsor?

Away from Black Park 7 GVH runners took part in Rickmansworth Parkrun with Steve Newing and Gareth Tucker leading the way. Rachel Haffenden and Sandra Flynn were the first GVH women to finish the course. At Gadebridge Park James Birnie was first GVH male to finish a couple of minutes ahead of Jono Marval, while Kim Morgan was first GVH lady home ahead of Mary McCluskey and Ines Trent. All three seemed to be sandbagging ahead of the Hatfield 5.

The main action of the weekend took place in Hatfield as around 30 Harriers took part in the Hatfield 5. The action got underway around half an hour before the race started in the scenic surrounds of a layby near the start where around 20 or so Harriers got together for a team photo. 5 Harriers wore red club kit, one wore a white club t-shirt and the rest were attired in black kit. This led one competitor (to remain nameless) to comment, “Why can’t everybody turn up in black for races, it looks rubbish! Can you cut the people in red out of the team photo???”

If I had the time I would have photoshopped out the red tops…

Meanwhile, new member Martin Alexander continued his tradition (after only 2 races it is sufficiently embedded to qualify as such) of standing at the back looking like a reincarnation of Jesus photobombing the team picture. At least he did so, as far as I can tell, wearing a black top. Vince, while this was going on, had the air of a man distracted, as Angeline later said, “As well as the excited smiles in anticipation of the jubilation that awaited, I can’t help but be drawn to Vince, who looks like he’s a model in an advert for a very expensive aftershave.”

Once the race got underway at 10:00AM, the Gade Valley group settled into their familiar mode of watching Matt Ashby disappear into the distance. Matt was the first, but by no means the last, of the GVH runners to post a new PB. He completed the course in 12th place in 27:10. Just over 2 minutes behind Matt was Andy Law, who is fast cementing himself amongst the top performers for GVH having only joined the club this autumn. His time was 29:12, 13 seconds ahead of Michael Linden, making it 3 GVH runners who broke the 30 minute mark on the day.

Black club t-shirts more than acceptable

Just outside the half hour were Jon Roberts (2nd in his age category) and Gareth Tucker while Rob Hawkes, as far as I can tell running his first race in GVH colours, wasn’t far behind, finishing in 31:51. Steve Newing, Guy Wollett and Roly Kendall all finished within 9 places and 21 seconds of each other, with Vince Ellerby, smelling great by all accounts, next home for the Harriers. Roly also banked yet another PB to go with the 300 or so he’s recently accumulated.

First GVH woman over the line was club captain Kim Morgan, who continued her recent steep improvement, finishing in 33:27, fourth in her age category, bagging a new PB and also claiming the GVH club V45 5 mile record. Head coach Ed Price was next over the line for GVH with another recent joiner, Martin Alexander (fresh from his Jesus impression) not far behind. Martin finished the race in 35:09 and was 2nd in his age category.

Perfectly reasonable kit. Unclear if borrowed from husband, however.

Naomi Carey was next to finish for GVH and another person to improve her PB. She clocked 35:17. Robert Bowler, Jenny Stubberfield and Claire McDonnel were the last GVH runners to duck under 40 minutes for the distance. I didn’t manage to talk to Matt after the race (which, to be fair, doesn’t usually stop me from making up quotes) so it isn’t known if Matt’s 12th place finish ruined the rest of her weekend or not. Anthony Fogden was next home, in 41:24, and said afterwards, “My first 5 mile run so a PB. My time was way quicker than I thought I could run!”

Arguably more clothes than needed, but they are all black.

Phil Bowers was the next to finish, in an extremely respectable 40:42. Clare Bowers said, “Today was the first official run for me and Phil Bowers, so as a result we got PBs. Phil started running with me, but was too cold, so ran off quickly to warm up! At Least he was there to cheer me over the line. I am feeling super proud, with a huge sense of achievement, especially as six months ago I couldn’t run for more than a few minutes without stopping. Learn to Run has been amazing, with such a supportive group of people.” Again, the club says a big thankyou to all the people, led by the coaching team, involved in the L2R program. 

Helen Cook and Chris Howe were next home for GVH while just behind them on the road came Angeline Cottrill and Ines Trent. Angeline had started 15 seconds ahead of Ines but caught Angeline about halfway through the race. Angeline found Ines’s pace hot to handle and, after trying to keep pace with Ines, told her that she couldn’t and she was going to have to drop back. Ines was therefore somewhat surprised when Angeline came back past her on the finishing straight. I wasn’t close enough to hear clearly but I think Ines said something like “chucking stitch!” Perhaps they had been discussing crochet patterns during the race? Despite losing out on the road to Angeline (gun time is king, ask Andy Cook) Ines bettered Angeline’s chip time by 7 seconds and took a massive 8 minutes off her own PB. Angeline, for her part, bagged a PB by virtue of this having been her first 5 mile race.

Sneaky running but acceptable clothing. Red base layer OK under a black top.

Gemma Tucker and Mary McCluskey were next home for GVH. Both bagged new PBs in 44:20 and 45:34 respectively. Mary was particularly happy with her run having taken the unusual (perhaps not for her) step of preparing by manufacturing a hangover. She told me afterwards that she was really happy with her run and proudly displayed her splits which showed that each mile was quicker than the previous one. Great running.

Textbook attire. Red and green allowed in the club buff.

A day of superb performances was rounded off by 4 more PBs. Anita Fenoughty managed 46:26, Clare Bowers 48:39 and Emma Reed and Dominic Hook completed the course together in 54:08. Emma said to our roving reporter, “This was the first race of any kind for me and Dominic Hook so PBs for us too! Great support as usual from the GVH team – thanks everyone!”

On a day of great running for GVH, the last word goes to head coach Ed: “What a brilliant set of results from Hatfield 5 today. PBs galore (some by big margins), 3 runners sub 30 (2 others very close) and even better seeing Clare, Emma, Phil and Dom pin on a number for GVH for the first time and run really well. Another super inspiring day with our club. Well done all!” Hopefully we’ll see just as many, if not more, people at the Cross Country this coming weekend, and some more first timers. Just be aware that black club clothing is compulsory for Cross Country.

Perfect attire, helps people know who’s who. Beautifully done.

Full Results from Hatfield

Gun Time Chip Time Cat pos Gender Pos
12 Matt ASHBY 00:27:14 00:27:10 9 11
37 Andy LAW 00:29:19 00:29:12 20 34
43 Michael LINDEN 00:29:33 00:29:25 7 38
48 Jonathan ROBERTS 00:30:12 00:30:03 2 43
51 Gareth TUCKER 00:30:37 00:30:29 11 46
91 Rob HAWKES 00:32:19 00:31:51 38 81
101 Stephen NEWING 00:32:35 00:32:26 14 89
108 Guy WOOLLETT 00:32:50 00:32:30 8 95
110 Roland KENDALL 00:32:52 00:32:47 9 97
128 Vince ELLERBY 00:33:24 00:33:15 11 113
138 Kim MORGAN 00:33:43 00:33:27 4 17
158 Edward PRICE 00:34:46 00:34:26 29 136
176 Martin ALEXANDER 00:35:33 00:35:09 2 151
177 Naomi CAREY 00:35:34 00:35:17 7 26
234 Robert BOWLER 00:37:23 00:37:01 8 194
262 Jenny STUBBERFIELD 00:38:50 00:37:59 19 51
317 Claire MCDONNELL 00:40:20 00:39:31 8 67
379 Anthony FOGDEN 00:42:24 00:41:24 19 282
400 Philip BOWERS 00:43:08 00:40:42 49 292
408 Helen COOK 00:43:24 00:41:40 11 114
459 Chris HOWE 00:45:34 00:44:22 55 319
468 Angeline COTTRILL 00:46:03 00:44:15 29 146
471 Ines TRENT 00:46:11 00:44:08 19 147
475 Gemma TUCKER 00:46:21 00:44:20 44 148
519 Mary MCCLUSKEY 00:48:00 00:45:34 51 175
531 Anita FENOUGHTY 00:48:14 00:46:26 17 180
583 Clare BOWERS 00:51:05 00:48:39 38 211
647 Emma REED 00:56:35 00:54:08 53 264
648 Dominic HOOK 00:56:35 00:54:08 64 384