Another bank holiday weekend meant an extra day for members of Gade Valley Harriers to compete in races and running events of various distances in locations all around the UK.
It started on Saturday morning at ParkRuns around the country, especially at Gadebridge Park which was celebrating it’s fourth birthday, and ended on Monday evening at the Pednor 5 in Chesham. In between were a host of other events from 10k runs to multi-day races, in a weekend that saw all four seasons of weather from sunny-spells to hail- storms and strong winds, with temperatures well below the average for the time of year.
Anita Berwick was taking on arguably the biggest challenge of the weekend , travelling to Hampshire to take part in the Devil’s Challenge – a three-day, 97 mile ultra-marathon along the South Downs Way, passing the legendary Devil’s Dyke valley and taking in some of England’s most beautiful countryside. If running an average of over a marathon a day each day isn’t Hell enough she also embraced nearly 4000 meters of ascent during the event, and slept in a sports hall with the other competitors for the nights in between. Berwick completed the first day of running, which was around 30 miles, in around 6 hours and 48 minutes and the second, which was a tougher and hillier 34 miles, in 8:57. Day three was 29 miles and ended with a run along Beachy Head towards Eastbourne and took Berwick 7 hours 19 minutes.
Another multi-day event taking place was the Mid Sussex Marathon Weekend, which consisted of three races in three towns over three days. Ten miles in East Grinstead and Haywards Heath on Saturday and Sunday respectively were
followed by a 10k in Burgess Hill on Monday with all three combined covering a total of 26.2 miles – the distance of a marathon. Harriers Mary McCluskey and Peter Tucker took part in the undulating, mixed-terrain challenge. McCluskey completed the first day’s 10 miles – which included stunning views of Weir Wood Reservoir – in 1:45:46, ahead of Tucker who finished in 2:06:13. The second day of racing was a two- lap course on paths and trails, which McCluskey completed in 1:51:45 with Tucker just behind in 2:09:48. Monday’s 10k climax involved two laps of the fields of Nightingale Meadows which McCluskey completed in 1:04:47, meaning she had clocked a total time of 4:42:18 and Tucker finished in 1:17:05, good enough a total time of 5:33:06.
Alistair Flowers was also participating in events on multiple days, starting with the Three Forts Challenge Marathon on Sunday. The 27 mile race treats competitors to seemingly endless climbs and quad-busting descents over mixed terrain around the South Downs, with a total of 3450 feet of elevation. He completed the course in a time of four hours and four minutes.
On Monday he enjoyed a somewhat easier challenge by taking part in the Watford 10k which sent runners from Cassiobury Park to complete an undulating lap of Whippendell Woods. Flowers returned to the park to cross the finish line in 39:48. He was joined by a handful of club mates with Antony Beamish (40:13) not far behind. Simon Wallis (41:31), Craig Cobb (41:27) and Phil Mercer (41:47) – who picked up a PB (personal best) just a week after completing the London Marathon – finished in consecutive places and Trevor Normoyle (43:33) also picked up a post-
London PB. Tracey Cotton and her daughter Beth competed in the 5k race at the same event and finished in 13:35.
The Milton Keynes Marathon Festival offered races of 5k, Half Marathon and Marathon distances over two days, and the Harriers had athletes in each event.
On Sunday David Thompson raced in the 5k and collected a PB of 28:29 and then completed his third marathon in five weeks on Monday, clocking a time of 5:51:56. Michael Linden also picked up a PB in the marathon – which winds it’s way around the town’s green spaces using cycle lanes and tow paths – crossing the line in 3:33:00. Steve Newing (3:44:54), Kristie Hardiman (4:22:41) and Sarah Milligan (4:34:55) also completed the full distance with Gwyn Pritchard opting for the half and managing a time of 1:42:13.
Dave Goodman was in South Wales for the Newport Marathon on Sunday. Starting and finishing on the town’s riverfront, he was enjoying one of the UK’s flattest marathons and crossed the line in 3:34:49.
Kim Morgan took part in the second instalment of the Regents Park Summer 10k Series on Sunday, and took nearly a minute off her time from last month, picking up a PB of 49:55 in the process.
The weekend ended with the Pednor 5 on Monday evening. The undulating five mile road race which starts in Chesham goes around the Chiltern countryside. Dave Goodman bagged a PB – despite running a marathon the previous day – by crossing the line in 32:30. Paula Cook finished the course in 46:23 with Helen Heathcote also nabbing a PB with a time of 48:20.