Fred Hughes marks the start of the year’s road races for Gade Valley Harriers and this weekend the club turned up in huge numbers. With spring marathon training well under way for many club members, this race is used as a chance to gauge fitness in a race environment and to rehearse race morning routines. Most Harriers also made the most of the fact that race organisers had decided to use the “alternative” route, as the “primary” route was deemed too dangerous due to flooding, with less elevation giving a chance for faster times.
Jon Roberts was the first Harrier to complete the two lap course along the country lanes surrounding St Albans, crossing the line in a time of 1:02:37. James Birnie (1:04:10) led a trio of club mates who all finished within thirty seconds of each other – Antony Beamish (1:04:24) and Rob Humphreys (1:04:36) who finished just two places apart and both managed to pick up ten mile personal bests (PB) despite the icy conditions.
Simon Wallis (1:05:28) held off Gareth Tucker (1:06:14) with both collecting PBs, and Phil Heaton (1:07:05) passed Steve Newing (1:07:22) – who also grabbed a PB – on the second lap.
Anthony Willcox (1:07:58) led a cluster of Harriers who all completed the course within just over thirty seconds and nine positions of each other, ahead of Guy Woollett (1:08:00) and Vince Ellerby (1:08:33).
Dave Goodman (1:10:09) completed a marathon and a half-marathon just last weekend and so narrowly missed out on a sub-70 minute finish but crossed the line just ahead of Andy Cook (1:10:34).
Lisa Newing (1:11:13) was the first female from the club to complete the course, and she held off Phil Mercer (1:11:39). James Felstead (1:12:46) crossed the line ahead Trevor Normoyle (1:12:09) – who bagged a PB – despite starting further back and recording a slower chip time.
Teresa Reason (1:12:42) was the second female club member to complete the course, finishing ahead of Nicoletta Charalambous (1:15:56) – who recorded a PB – and Sian Shaw (1:17:50).
Claire McDonnell (1:19:03) held off Victoria Crawley-Wise (1:19:28), who both finished ahead of Kim Morgan (1:17:51) despite the latter recording a quicker time and a PB.
Tracey Cotton (1:20:01) crossed the line ahead of Natasha Gibbs (1:21:41) while Isabel Wilson continued her fine recent form to win the female vet 65+ category award and a PB. Kirstie Hardiman (1:25:43) also picked up a PB.
Neil Harper (1:26:09), Bethan Heaton (1:27:34), Helen Cook (1:27:59 PB) and Samantha Raffety (1:27:59) all finished in under ninety minutes, while Kirsty Neale (1:30:01 PB) missed out by the most slender of margins.
Sam Sparks (1:32:3 PB) led a group of ladies who all finished within sixty seconds of each other – Holly Beckett (1:32:37), Jane Percival (1:33:00), Ashleigh Taylor (1:33:42) and Angeline Cottrill (1:33:30).
Mary McCluskey (1:37:48) held off Leona Flaherty (1:37:25), and Claire Pellett (1:48:57), Helen Heathcote (1:47:08), Tina Searle (1:49:30) and Peter Tucker (2:08:10) completed a busy day for the club.
Elsewhere, Susie Ivin took part in her 35th 26.2-mile race at the Gloucester Marathon, completing the course in 4:35:09.