The big event for the Gade Valley Harriers on Sunday was the second of their marathon training runs in preparation for the spring marathon season.
A group of 453 runners arrived for the 17-mile route, heading out along the wet and muddy Grand Union Canal towpath before going back on road to the Ashridge Estate, through Nettleden and Potten End, before heading back to the towpath for a final effort home.
After braving the cold weather and mud, the runners all enjoyed hot tea, coffee and cakes in the clubhouse – many remarking how much they had enjoyed the run, and how they were looking forward to the 20-mile version on March 22.
Taking part in the run was Team GB Olympic marathon runner Claire Hallissey who tweeted: “Thank you @mightyGVH for the 17 -mile training run. Lovely weather, fab Chiltern countryside, jelly babies and cake. Perfect Sunday.”
As many of the Harriers are training for their own marathons, they ran the route on Saturday, checking that all was safe for the main run on Sunday where they would be marshalling.
As well as the successful training run, the Harriers also had entrants at parkruns on Saturday.
St Albans had three runners in the GVH colours for their parkrun, where Mark Crabtree stormed home in third overall place out of 344 runners in 17:12.
Simon Wallis was 14th overall in 19:19 and Anthony James was just behind in 16th place in 19:31.
Black Park saw Guy Wollett and Vince Ellerby running for the Harriers, where Woollett completed in sixth place overall place in 19:36 and Ellerby was hot on his heels in seventh place in 19:48.
Tom North had a great run at Tring parkrun, where he achieved second place overall in 21:56. Team-mate Lesley Jugoo completed the course in 39:48.