Weekly report 23 June 2019

Well that was a quiet weekend, when I’m trying to have a restful holiday…

Despite some recent abysmal weather June marks the middle of summer and this week saw the most amount of daylight hours, and with it the chance for lots of races for members of Gade Valley Harriers, starting locally on Wednesday evening, continuing through Friday to one of the club’s best attended races of the year, through to a midnight marathon in the Arctic Circle on Saturday before the club’s racing events came to a climax on Sunday in Devon.

St Albans has been the focal point of the longest day of the year for the last few years as it holds its annual Summer Solstice 10k and on Friday Harriers went in huge numbers to beat the sunset on a route which largely follows the Alban Way – a disused railway line that goes from the ancient city’s suburbs towards Hatfield.

Anthony James kept his fine recent form on track, after the previous weekend’s half marathon win, by being first club athlete to cross the line – and sixth overall – steaming round in 37:04, followed three places later by Al Flowers (37:52) who finished just ahead of Jon Roberts (37:58) to make it three Harriers in the top ten.

Chris Dowling (38:31) and Simon Geary (38:34) both picked up personal bests (PB) ahead of Antony Beamish (39:14) and Michael Linden (39:13) – who also managed a PB – and Anthony Willcox (39:35). Bill Hawes (39:35) was first Male Vet over 50 (MV50) and wrapped up an impressive sub-40 field from the club, meaning nine Harriers finished in the top 26.

David Goodman (40:08) held off Gareth Tucker (40:46), Andy Cook (40:45), Ross Deacon (41:04) and Phil Mercer (41:28) who all collected PBs.

Lisa Newing (42:17) was second FV35 – and fourth overall lady – ahead of Teresa Reason (42:46) and Edward Price (42:53) who was running for the first time after a long injury lay-off. Kathleen Smith (43:28) was eighth overall lady but third in her age category, with Gwyn Pritchard (43:45) crossing the line one place ahead of Lozza-tm Sharma-Smith (43:47) who made it four GVH ladies in the top ten and Andrew Watt (45:52), Tracey Cotton (47:05), Victoria Crawley Wise (48:29) and Sam Raffety (49:47) all put in great performances.

Kirstie Hardiman (50:42), Kim Morgan (51:01), Mel Hardy (51:07) and Andrew Terry (51:15) all finished within about 30 seconds of each other, and Helen Cook (51:25) picked up a PB in what was her second race in three days. Isabel Wilson (52:02) and Bethan Heaton (53:05) crossed the line ahead of Mary McCluskey (53:48) who nabbed a PB.

Angeline Cottrill (54:55) ran despite picking up a chest infection in the days leading up to the race, and finished ahead of Joanna Kidd (55:54), David Wilson (56:40) and Helen Terry (56:44). Leona Flaherty (Teresa Maryland) (57:23) was another club athlete racing for the second time in three days and was the penultimate member to cross the line in under an hour, ahead of Thomas Colligan (59:42), with Paula Cook (1:00:00) just missing out.

Gemma Tucker (1:02:11), Claire Pellett (1:03:45), Lisa Pinder (1:04:53), Paul Mosley (1:09:07) and Peter Tucker (1:12:17) completed the line-up.

Helen Heathcote and Tina Searle travelled to Norway for Saturday night’s Midnight Sun Marathon after taking part in the Tring Fun Run 6k on Wednesday evening, in which they were joined by a handful of club mates. Kirstie Hardiman (28:35) was the first Harrier to complete the Tring event, which took participants on roads and the canal tow path after starting at the cricket club. She was followed by Helen Cook (31:29), Heathcote (36:12) and Searle (36:17) and Andy Newing (37:12) who was competing in his first race for 18 months.

For Saturday’s event they were joined by Susie Ivin as the trio of seasoned long-distance runners – who have taken part in sixty marathons between them – took part in the worlds northernmost marathon, which attracts thousands of athletes each year by its special feature of running in Tromsø’s midnight sun, and the uniqueness of finishing a race in the early hours, in broad daylight. On this occasion though it rained the entire time making conditions difficult and views limited. Ivin completed the 26.2 mile course in 4:33:52, ahead of Heathcote (5:02:00) and Searle.

Also in midweek action was Leona Flaherty who completed the Run Through Hyde Park 10k on Wednesday in a time of 58:11.  

Rounding up a busy weekend of racing was Julian Smith who competed in the Torbay Half Marathon on Sunday, and finished in a very quick time of 1:26:13.