Parkrun's return delights runners with Stevenage finally hosting their milestone event

North Herts Road Runners at the Doug Anderson 5km

North Herts Road Runners at the Doug Anderson 5km. - Credit: HELEN FERGUSON

Parkrun returned after more than a year's absence and runners gleefully took up the challenge again.

Fairlands Valley Spartans descended en masse to Stevenage for the 200th running of the event.

Many in the field donned fancy dress but some took it very serious.

Jonathan Parr of Fairlands Valley Spartans

Jonathan Parr of Fairlands Valley Spartans. - Credit: FVS

The fastest Spartan on the day was also first overall, Jonathan Parr completing the course in 16 minutes 56 seconds and beating team-mate Adrian Busolini in 17:34, a parkrun PB.

Steve Wells was just outside the top ten finishers, coming in 11th at 20:08 but there were was another PB for Nicola Andersson who finished in 27:07.

The Doug Anderson 5k also returned to Bedford and North Herts Road Runners were in sparkling form, taking the win in extreme heat

Eight Squirrels took part among the 291 finishers and the first of them home was Tom Webb in fourth, clocking 16:28, not far ahead of Mark Vaughan, seventh in 17:11, and Stewart Overton and Matt Sayers, who worked together brilliantly to finish in 11th and 12th in 17:31.

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The first three of those results won the men's team competition while Vaughan, Overton and Sayers won the veteran team competition.

There was also a PB for Mike Banister and individual age group wins for Sayers and Vaughan.

On the track, the Youth Development League reached Stevenage and host club Stevenage & North Herts Athletic Club had a number of their U17 and U20 runners in action.

The performance of the day came from U20 Libby Taylor who set a new club record in the hammer with a throw of 46.85m.

Nile Odejimi-Riley of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club

Nile Odejimi-Riley of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club in the triple jump. - Credit: NORMA HARRIS/SNHAC

Nile Odejimi-Riley returned from injury to win the triple jump and he then ran 11.7s to win the B string 100m final.

Bluebell Cooke won the 800m in 2:20.31 and Dani Mainstone in her first competition since ankle surgery in 2019 won the B final shot.

Alex Pickard and Jacob Kinchin-Smith of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club

Alex Pickard and Jacob Kinchin-Smith of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club exchange the baton in a relay. - Credit: NORMA HARRIS/SNHAC

Will Lawler ran a PB when finishing third in the 110m hurdles and another PB was equalled by Aime Taylor who cleared 3.20m in the pole vault as she finished second, the same place earned by Annabel Howells (300m), Amelie Hobbs (3000m) and Will Galliford (1500m).

Other podium places were earned by Olivia Lindsay (long jump), Jamie Joseph (100m), Oliver Humphrey (100m hurdles) and Tiago Garcez- Pereira (discus).