Heat makes the Hitchin Hard Half even harder
PUBLISHED: 14:52 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 28 June 2018
Alan J Millard 15 SG4 0BS
The sweltering heat made this year’s Hitchin Hard Half Marathon even harder – but it made for a great day in the North Hertfordshire sunshine.
The Hard Half, organised by the Rotary Club of Hitchin Tilehouse and backed by the Comet, saw hundreds of runners pace it out of the Priory grounds and into the rolling hills around Preston on Sunday morning.
There was also a 10k race and 5k fun run in addition to the headline 13.1-mile event.
The Hard Half was won by Mark Vaughan from North Herts Road Runners, with his clubmate Nick Malpeli coming in second. Alan Dobre from Vegan Runners rounded off the top three. The top three women were Astrid Mckeown (NHRR), Leah Kenny and Kristy Guneratne.
The 10k was won by Tom Webb, with Anna Fake of Hitchin Running Club the first female finisher. Young Callum Turner won the 5k, with Ollie and Jake Holmes following in second and third.
“What a fabulous day we had,” said Rotary Tilehouse president Andrew Phillips.
“My thanks go to all of you who contributed so much to ensure my charity for this year, North Herts Centre for Voluntary Service, will receive a donation of over £5,000.”
Race director Tim Ray added: “It’s a lot of hard work – but seeing the sweaty, smiling faces at the end makes it all worthwhile.”
The colourful costumes on the day included the kangaroo-rider get-up sported by Paul Watson, and Claire Bradfield’s strawberry outfit. Ellen Tipping from The Pilates Pod directed the warm-up.
Runners taking part for good causes included Andrew Lawther, who raised funds for Bowel Cancer UK in memory of his best friend Simon Slater.
Simon – Andrew’s best man, and friend since they were four – developed bowel cancer about 15 years ago that spread to his liver. He rose from menial work to teach English as a foreign language at the Università Cattolica in Milan.
In 2008, while Andrew was there visiting Simon, he died in his sleep. He was just 45 years old.
“Now 10 years later I am running the Hitchin Hard Half Marathon in Simon’s memory,” Andrew said beforehand.
“I am raising money for Bowel Cancer UK. I hope that the funds raised will to better treatment and education in order that other people can have better outcomes than my dearly missed friend.”
Other charity runners included Jennifer Cove and Tamara Eston, who took on their first half marathon in aid of two causes close to their hearts – down syndrome charity Sparkles, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.
Jennifer and Tamara chose Sparkles on behalf of a pregnant friend, whose baby has been screened positively for down syndrome.
They chose the JDRF in honour of Tamara’s husband and late sister-in-law, both of whom have been affected by Type 1 diabetes.
Jennifer and Tamara will split donations they receive evenly between the two charities.
To find out more about the Hard Half, see h3m.co.uk.