Photo finish: The return of the Hitchin 10k

The Hitchin 10K on Sunday (May 30) saw around 380 runners race around the historic market town

The Hitchin 10K on Sunday (May 30) saw around 380 runners race around the historic market town, finishing up in the town centre - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

In what can only be described as perfect weather conditions, Hitchin's annual 10k race in and around the town returned on Sunday.

More than 380 runners pounded the historic market streets and surrounding country lanes for the event, with it being the first time for many that they had participated in an organised event since the pandemic.

Fairlands Valley Running Club's Andrew Patterson was the first across the line, covering 10 kilometres in 33 minutes and 36 seconds.

Fairlands Valley's Andrew Patterson was first to cross the finish line at the Hitchin 10K on Sunday (May 30)

Fairlands Valley's Andrew Patterson was first to cross the finish line at the Hitchin 10K on Sunday (May 30), completing the race in 33 minutes and 36 seconds - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

On top of his victory, Andrew finished over a minute ahead of the second place runner, and set a new personal best and course record.

"The race was a fantastic event," Andrew said. "The Hitchin Hares did a fabulous job of creating a safe, fun event."

Supporters lined the streets and cheered on runners as they raced towards the Hitchin 10k finish line

Supporters lined the streets and cheered on runners as they raced towards the Hitchin 10k finish line - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography


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Proud to win the race in his home town in front of his family, he added: "It seemed like the race was full of a great mix of local running club runners and local Hitchin folk, from fast runners to those challenging themselves to their first 10k. Everyone seemed delighted to be out and able to run in a race.

"Families and friends gathered around the course with marshals providing encouragement, which created a great atmosphere."

A runner reaches for a high five as she races towards the finish line of the Hitchin 10k on Sunday

A runner reaches for a high five as she races towards the finish line of the Hitchin 10k on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

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Jake Amos, the event's director, explained that although getting the event up and running was a challenge, he's delighted that the race was roaring success.

"It's been a bit of a frustrating 12 months for obvious reasons; events have been very few and far between," he said.

A runner crosses the finish line in Hitchin town centre after completing the Hitchin 10k on Sunday

A runner crosses the finish line in Hitchin town centre after completing the Hitchin 10k on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

But after pushing the event back multiple times in line with the government's roadmap, the race was finally cleared to go ahead.

"It's absolutely great to be back, and it's lovely to see people enjoying themselves!" Jake added. "The biggest thing to take from it - from what everyone said feedback-wise - is that it was nice to be able to do something normal again, and to be able to do an event. 

A runner collects a Hitchin 10k T-shirt ahead of the race on Sunday

A runner collects a Hitchin 10k T-shirt ahead of the race on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

"The good thing is that they know they can trust us to now put on and deliver events, and that will get the confidence of the public back again as well."

The Hitchin 10k race is a flat race around the historic town and local roads. Starting in the town centre, runners then head out towards Gosmore and Charlton in a clockwise south loop, before heading back into Hitchin for a town centre finish.

A runner crosses the finish line in Hitchin town centre after completing the Hitchin 10k on Sunday

A runner crosses the finish line in Hitchin town centre after completing the Hitchin 10k on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

Lyn Paine, a jogger from Ware, exclaimed: "What a joy it was to be able to compete again with others.

A runner celebrates crossing the finish line at the Hitchin 10k on Sunday

A runner celebrates crossing the finish line at the Hitchin 10k on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

"The event was extremely well planned and all those involved ensured we not only were kept safe but had fun as well. The event director and marshals all deserve a huge round of applause - they were brilliant and so supportive."

Her praises were echoed by Nick Gill from Stevenage, who runs with Fairlands Valley Spartans: “The Hitchin 10k was my first running event since February 2020 - it was so nice to be back!

A runner stretches in Hitchin's Market Place - where the Hitchin 10k starts and finishes

A runner stretches in Hitchin's Market Place - where the Hitchin 10k starts and finishes - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

“The race was brilliantly organised and the marshals were great - you appreciate the support even more after so long without it. Thanks to everyone involved for putting on such a fantastic event.”

Runner James Bull added: “The Hitchin 10k, as expected, was well received by the local community as well as participants from further afield; and was organised with safety in mind aligned to recommended guidelines, but not to the detriment of the fun carnival atmosphere.

A runner heads towards the finish line in Hitchin town centre after completing the Hitchin 10k on Sunday

A runner heads towards the finish line in Hitchin town centre after completing the Hitchin 10k on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

"A lively town centre start and finish, coupled with a scenic course out into the local villages were standard trademarks; while organisers and marshals greeted you with a smile and words of encouragement. I’ll certainly be back next year, and I hope to be quicker!”, he joked.

Nina Miles took up running over lockdown and participated in the Hitchin 10k as her first organised event: "I loved it so much I have signed up to do the next Hitchin 5K event. I can't thank the team behind the scenes for all the hard work they must have put in to make this happen!"

A runner races down Bancroft as part of the Hitchin 10k on Sunday

A runner races down Bancroft as part of the Hitchin 10k on Sunday - Credit: Martin Wootton Photography

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