Weekly report 16 June 2019

Well done everyone who raced this weekend.

We had winners at events on both days across the weekend, so big congratulations to Anthony James and Lisa Newing.

The South Downs hosts many running events throughout the summer, many of them are long ultra-distance races along challenging trails and undulating paths, but on this weekend it was the more modest South Downs Half Marathon. But what it lacked in miles it more than made up for in hills and difficulty, and after torrential rain had fallen in the area for several days in the build up to the 13.1 mile race, the trails were wet and sodden, making the course slippery and tricky.

Gade Valley Harrier Anthony James headed to the start line in Queen Elizabeth Park near Petersfield in Hampshire on Saturday to take part in the gruelling event which includes over 1,400 feet of energy sapping ascent and quad bursting descent on a day where all four seasons of weather were embraced.

James didn’t let any of that deter him as he left the other competitors in his wake and romped around the course to win the race in a superb time of 1:27:28.

The club also had a first placed finisher on Sunday at a local, low-key 10km road-race along the country lanes between the villages of Kings Langley and Chipperfield – the Kings Langley Puffaten. Lisa Newing was the first lady to complete the undulating course, which finishes at the top of one of the village’s steepest streets – Coniston Road.

She crossed the line in 42:50, just behind Simon Wallis (41:59) and ahead of Dave Wood – who picked up a personal best (PB) with a time of 43:45 – and Stephen Newing (44:48) and Joanna Kidd (59:27).

Further afield, Peter Tucker travelled to the Channel Islands to take part in the Guernsey Half Marathon which is a point-to-point race starting on a shingle beach on the west side of the island and follows the coast-line for large parts of the race before finishing on the opposite side of the isle.

He managed his quickest half marathon since December 2016, coasting round in 2:31:04.

Phil Mercer was also in half marathon action, at the Heyford Airbase Half in Oxfordshire. Ran completely on the airbase’s runways and taxiways the event boasts a flat, fast course, but with a strong wind blowing throughout the race, conditions were more difficult than usually expected in June. He flew round the course in 1:40:33.

Harriers took part in various ParkRuns at locations all around the UK on Saturday, but the performance of the day was at Rickmansworth where Mary McCluskey collected a PB for the 5k events with a time of 26:29.