The Oakley 20 mile race in Bedfordshire formed a big part of running club's weekend exploits -and helped others keep their London Marathon training topped up.

Seven from Stevenage Phoenix took on what they called a "character building" event, set on rural roads with challenging climbs.

Jay Papa set a new club record of two hours 22 minutes 27 seconds and was followed in by Bobby Buckley in 2:50:45 before two more record breakers, Lewis Green with a new MV40 best of 2:51:25 and MV60 Paul Smith in 2:51:40.

In the ladies race, Jodie Kantas set a FV35 record of 2:57:59 with Katka Laughton's 3:01:13 a new FV45 best.

Jess Clarke set a new seniors record of 3:46:36.

The Comet: North Herts Road Runners at the Oakley 20. Picture: NHRRNorth Herts Road Runners at the Oakley 20. Picture: NHRR (Image: North Herts Road Runners)

There were 15 from North Herts Road Runners in Bedfordshire, Richard Springall the first home for the club in 13th overall, clocking 2:08:32.

He was followed by a trio of age category winners.

Ian Datlen was first V50 in 2:18:10, Rachel Arnott first V45 in 2:26:03 and Rhia Botha first V35 with 2:28:35.

The ladies team of Arnott, Botha and Laura Fairbanks were second in the team competition.

Stuart Archer and John Nelms took on the challenge for Fairlands Valley Spartans, the former getting a three-minute PB with 2:17:21.

Nelms clocked 3:08:40.

The Comet: Penny Schenkel and Jim Brown at the finish of the Hillingdon 20. Picture: FVSPenny Schenkel and Jim Brown at the finish of the Hillingdon 20. Picture: FVS (Image: Fairlands Valley Spartans)

Jim Brown completed his second 20-mile run in seven days alongside Penny Schenkel, her first attempt over the distance.

They were at the Hillingdon 20, both finishing in 3:50:16, with the latter using the vent as part of her London training.

Wendy Tharani was also at the event, finishing in 3:48:39.

Another popular event was the Lee Valley 10k and Half Marathon

Spartans Judy King, Sally Pickles and Nicola Hatherly completed the half with King taking 22 minutes off her previous time to finish in 2:27:30.

The other two were running the first event over the distance, recording 2:45:12 and 2:55:39 respectively.


For NHRR, Tracy Pitcairn was first lady and 10th overall out of 230 in the 10k with a time of 42:46.