Weekly report 15 September 2019

It was a day of half marathons for a small number of Gade Valley Harriers on Sunday, with club members taking part in four different 13.1-mile events around the country.
Julian Smith and Leona Flaherty were in action at the Great Bristol Half, Rich Coles competed in the Harrow Half and David Thompson participated in the Run Reigate Half.
The Bristol event is the biggest running race in the South West of England and started next to the historic cathedral. The first four miles of the flat course saw athletes heading along the banks of the River Avon and under the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, before turning back to loop around the city centre in front of large crowds of cheering supporters.
In North West London, Coles was taking on his first long-distance race since having an operation on his knee just over 3 months ago. Starting and finishing with a sharp hill on an otherwise pretty flat course, he was hoping to continue his recent shorter distance form of picking up an age category position, in a race which weaved around various urban suburbs and included several out-and-backs.
The Reigate race was more rural based and runners had the chance to sample some picturesque Surrey countryside after starting with a lap of one of the town’s parks, on a course that is mostly flat except for a climb towards the end.
Despite picking up a stitch in the closing stages, Smith managed to complete the Bristol race in an impressive time of 1:26:14, ahead of Flaherty who crossed the line in 2:06:25. Meanwhile, in Harrow, Coles took the bronze male vet 40+ (MV40) award with a superb time of 1:20:25, and in Surrey Thompson finished his event in 2:29:43.
Phil Mercer took part in three races in five days – collecting a personal best (PB) and the silver MV40 prize at the Chase the Sun Olympic Park 5k in East London on Wednesday with a time of 19:32, before completing the Woodstock 12 mile event in Oxfordshire on Saturday in 1:41:11 and the Ponton Plod – a 17 mile race in rural Lincolnshire – on Sunday in 2:44:55.
Also in action on Sunday were George Einchomb and Darren Burkke, who were both competing in challenging, hilly, trail races. Einchomb picked up a PB at the Shardloes 10k with a time of 55:05 and Burke completed the Wendover Woods 10k in 54:17.
On Wednesday, Tracey Cotton broke her own 5k FV35 club record and picked up a PB in the second race of the Hatfield 5k series which runs every month between August and October. She crossed the line in 22:03.