Dacorum’s runners enjoyed a busy weekend of action as they competed across the length and breadth of the country.
> Gade Valley Harriers
Recovering from their hugely successful 20-mile marathon training run last weekend, the big event for the Gade Valley Harriers this week was the Oakley 20 in Bedfordshire.
Seven Harriers took on the 20-mile challenge, with Mikey Ferris leading the club home in a time of 2:20:44.
Next back was Steve Newing in 2:32:32, followed closely by Gemma Bitaraf in 2:32:54. Michael Birch was next home for the Harriers in 2:40:45, ahead of Claire McDonnell in 2:45:24.
Elsewhere, Odette Messenger flew the GVH colours at the 20-mile Surrey Spitfire race, where she completed in 3:31:09.
Club-mate Tina Searle took on the Tempest 10 on the same course and finished in 1:41:16.
Competing for the Harriers at the White Horse Half Marathon in Oxfordshire was Guy Wollett who braved the high winds to come home in 1:25:59 in 24th place from a field of 471 runners.
Meanwhile, Harrier Mark Crabtree took first place at the Black Park parkrun, where he romped home in 17:27, beating 423 other runners.
Team-mates John Lawler and Vince Ellerby also delivered excellent performances, with Lawler coming back in fifth place overall in 19:23 and Ellerby in ninth place in 19:52.
St Albans parkrun had four Gade Valley entrants this week, with Anthony James first back in 18:36, followed by James Thomson 21:43, Lars Hagen in a new PB of 29:02 and Luca Ramusino in 29:28.
Tom North and Lesley Jugoo were in action at the Tring parkrun, where North came home in sixth place overall in 20:56, with team-mate Jugoo finishing in 35:00.
> Dacorum & Tring AC
A team of 28 hardy Dacorum & Tring Road Runners travelled down to Devon to compete in the notorious hilly Exe to Axe run at the weekend.
The route takes runners from the mouth of the Exe river to the mouth of the Axe, 22 miles away over the Jurassic coast – with the conditions made even more challenging by a storm blowing through.
First across the line was the duo formed by Steve Russell and Chris Marriott in a speedy time of 3:02:20 – fast enough to win the trophy for first relay team.
They were followed by Jamie Marlow and Steve Shaw, second relay team in 3:19:00, while Catherine Davies and Rob Salt were fourth relay team, finishing in 3:37:48.
Next home were Ken Perry, Alex Deane, Kirsty Russell, Claire Copperwhite and Pat Hayball – sixth relay team in 4:03:28 – while Dave Steers and Louisa Hopper were just behind in seventh in a time of 4:04:04.
Twins Alison Richardson, Samantha Sullivan and Becky Fawcett were first female relay team across the line in 4:12:37, good enough for eighth relay team overall.
Rob Wright, Jan Strachan, Wendy Pearson and Meg Brooks were next, fast enough for 10th relay team, with Rob Deane and Victoria Thornley just behind.
Alexia Bayliss and Simon Bright ran the 22-mile course as solo runners, finishing within the top-200, while Nicky Henry and Clare Murray walked the entire course in preparation for The Moon Walk London – a 26-mile midnight walk through London to raise funds for breast cancer.
In other news, club members Kelly Du Buisson and Ania Gabb ran the Palace Half Marathon at Hampton Court in horrendous wind and rain, but that didn’t slow them down: Ania finished as ninth female overall out of 1,400 women in a time of 1:32:34 while Kelly was 12th in 1:34:14.
Richard Smith, meanwhile, took to two wheels on a wet and windy morning, completing the 87-mile cycling Surrey Hills Cyclone sportive as he gears up for the 117-mile L’Etape London in September.
> Tring parkrun
Kirk Clifford has become the first participant at Tring parkrun to achieve an age grading score of over 80 per cent - a method which uses the world record time for a runner’s gender and age to produce a percentage score.
This score allows athletes to compare their personal performance against other people’s results even though they might be a different age and a gender.
Meanwhile, Stephen Buckle of St Albans Striders – running for the first time at Tring – led throughout the run and was the first finisher in 18:23.
Regular runner Dominic Evans of Tring RC finished just ahead of Clifford to claim second place.
This week 111 runners enjoyed the free 5k run; 26 were first timers at Tring, including 17 running their first ever parkrun.
For the ladies, Liz O’Keefe from Tring RC was first to finish in a time of 24:04. She was followed by Lynda Hembury and Katie Ferguson, who was running for the first time at Tring.
William Mawedesley was the first U15 finisher, just ahead of Sam Burnell and James O’Keefe, with the latter winning a t-shirt for completing his 10th parkrun.
Registration for Tring parkrun is free at www.parkrun.org.uk/tring