Weekly report 9 June 2019

Well done running legends. Another great weekend….

This weekend Gade Valley Harriers were in race action in various distances around the country but the main event was just up the road at the St Albans Half Marathon. After setting off in Verulamium Park, the runners made their way up the hill to Batchwood Golf Course in warm, sunny conditions, before getting into their stride as they headed along the straight, relatively flat Hemel Hempstead Road for around three miles.

The team of Harriers turned into the lanes towards Potters Crouch with newcomer Michael Linden leading the way, and Simon Wallis hot on his tail. Ross Deacon was the third club member to embrace the hill leading to Bedmond, which marks the half-way point, before an undulating section which ends with another stretch along the main road. The contingent of Harriers were greeted by a roaring crowd as they returned to the park and embarked on a sprint finish as the line – and a complimentary ice lolly – were in sight.

Linden ended up finishing well ahead of his club mates, picking up a 13.1 mile personal best (PB) in a speedy time of 1:27:28, with Wallis recording a course PB (CPB) of 1:30:31. Deacon also managed a CPB – despite battling with a stitch for the last three miles – crossing the line in 1:32:37, ahead of Phil Mercer (1:37:17) who continued his fine recent form by taking twenty minutes off his previous course best.

Less than a minute later Trevor Normoyle (1:38:07) continued the trend of CPBs, before Gavin Gibson (1:40:48) and Simon Wheeler (1:43:26 CPB) completed the sub-1:45 runners. Andrew Watt (1:45:08), Paul Saunders (1:47:11) and Skip Phillips (1:51:55) all reached their goals of finishing in under two-hours ahead of David Thompson (2:20:06) and Philip Walker (2:33:30). Tina Searle (2:34:51) and Helen Heathcote (2:34:54) ran the course together before running home to round the day up to twenty miles as part of their marathon training.

Teresa Reason and Anita Berwick were both in ultra-marathon action, the former taking part in the Weald Challenge, and the latter in the Hannington Hike.

Reason undertook 50km of trails around the beautiful Sussex countryside, through ancient woodland and along the picturesque long distance paths of the Wealdway and the Vanguard Way – with spectacular views of the Ashdown Forest to distract from the challenge of an elevation rise of nearly 3,000 feet (900 metres) over the the course of the race. Reason didn’t use the excuse of a couple of falls, a multitude of nettle stings, and countless stiles to deter her as she romped home as second placed lady, and 14th overall, in a time of 4:53:49.

Meanwhile, Berwick was on a self-navigation, 27-mile mission around the fields of the Northamptonshire countryside, completing the challenge in around six hours and twenty minutes.

On Saturday, David Goodman took part in the Runstock Challenge which consisted of completing as many 5km laps of obstacles as possible in eight hours. He completed ten laps (50km) in 5:44:13, in very wet and windy conditions.

Earlier in the week, Harvey De made the most of the Swedish public holiday on Monday and participated in the Stockholm Marathon. He completed his first ever 26.2 mile race in an impressive time of 4:00:10, despite picking up a knee injury during his training.

On Tuesday evening, Jon Roberts took third place at the Hawridge Duathlon – a challenging, multi-terrain course of 2.5 mile run followed by 11 undulating miles of road cycling and another 2.5 mile run. He completed the course in a total time of 1:05:12.