Harriers in action at Herts Cross Country Championships

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The Gade Valley Harriers were out in force on Sunday at the Herts Cross Country Championships, held at Verulamium Park in St Albans.

Fielding strong teams for both the men’s and ladies’ races, the men’s teams finished in sixth and 14th places over the 12km course, while the ladies had seven athletes competing over an 8km course and took 12th team place.

Harrier Mark Crabtree finished in 16th place for the men’s senior team, putting him in contention for a coveted place in the Herts County team.

Final placings for the Harriers men were: Mark Crabtree, 44:12; Guy Woollett, 48:27; Jon Roberts, 50:01; Dylan Wendleken, 50:36; Julian Smith, 51:02; Bill Hawes, 51:36; Scott Dixon, 52:31; Michael Birch, 52:54; Steve Newing, 54:10; James Thomson, 60:19; Dean Kidd, 65:15; Rich Hutton, 65:17 and Johnny Broom, 65:31.

The finishing order for the ladies was: Vicky Crawley-Wise, 40:34; Shelley Walsh, 43:49; Gemma Stanley, 44:23; Emma Nash, 45:05; Jackie Eskdale, 46:28; Karis Thomas, 46:54 and Joanna Kidd, 48:04.

Elsewhere, the GVH team braved the cold and the rain to have entrants at four different parkruns on Saturday – starting the year as they mean to go on.

St Albans had four Harriers in attendance, with Steve Newing first back in 20:32, followed by Ross Geary in 27:34, Dad Simon Geary in 27:35 and Jenny Barnett in 31:33.

Tom North and James Thomson took on the mud of Tring parkrun, where North was home in fourth place overall and Thomson hot on his heels in 26.05.

Vince Ellerby was at his favourite Black Park run, where he put in a time of 19:41 to come home in ninth overall place out of 424 runners, while Helen Heathcote travelled to St Andrews in Scotland to come home in 30:50 in their 5km run.

Ladies’ team captain Gemma Bitaraf took a spin off road on Saturday at the Ashridge Cannicross Race at The Ashridge Estate.

Covering the 4.87-mile off-road course in just 29 minutes, Bitaraf and her Hungarian dog Chester were first home overall out of 75 runners.