Track meetings bring success for some while trail runs bring mud and water for others

Ed Laws of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club in action at Bedford

Ed Laws of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club in action at Bedford. - Credit: SNHAC

Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club youngsters had both national and regional competitions to keep them focused as the return to the track continued.

Joel Evans was racing in the England Athletics U20 Championships at Bedford.

His time of 57.73 seconds in the 400m hurdles wasn't enough to make the final and a slight hamstring pull will leave him sidelined for a few weeks of rest.

His fellow U20 and U17 athletes were in action at Ware in the first Southern Athletic League meeting of the season.

With the league regionalised for 2021, pitting clubs from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire together, there were wins for Shanumi Akinfenwa in the U17 high jump, U17 pole vaulters Shannon Rapacchi and Aimie Taylor and Libby Taylor in the U20 hammer while Georgia Shephard-Gazely came second in the U20 javelin.

In the men’s team Elior Harris jumped for the first time in two years, clearing 1.80m for second in the high jump and there was a PB for Jamie Joseph in the U17 200m as he came third.

Other PBs went the way of Laws (U20 400m) and Isaac Whitten (U17 1500m) while Bhuvanesh Ramanuath won the U20 100m B final.

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After heading out in sweltering conditions one week earlier, three from North Herts Road Runners had almost the exact opposite for their latest race - the virtual Midweek League.

And what should have been a pleasant run along the Letchworth Greenway for Lindsey Lucas, Helen Marson-Smith and Jo Sopala, turned into a slog through knee-high puddles and across fields.

Helen Marson-Smith, Jo Sopala and Lindsey Lucas of North Herts Road Runners

Helen Marson-Smith, Jo Sopala and Lindsey Lucas of North Herts Road Runners. - Credit: NHRR

The trio were just happy to wear the club vest again, finishing the run within 90 seconds of each other.

Fairlands Valley Spartans headed further afield with a team tackling the Race to the King, a 55-mile trail run along part of the South Downs Way.

Cathy Craig, Jackie Downes, Neal Muggleton, Hazel Smith, Karen Ellis, John Nelms and Sharon Crowley of FVS

Cathy Craig, Jackie Downes, Neal Muggleton, Hazel Smith, Karen Ellis, John Nelms and Sharon Crowley of Fairlands Valley Spartans at the start of the 55-mile Race to the King. - Credit: FVS

And rewarded with sunning views as they moved from Goodwood Racecourse to Winchester Cathedral, Karen Ellis, Jackie Downes, Neal Muggleton, John Nelms and Hazel Smith finished in 13 hours 53 minutes 51 seconds.

Karen Ellis, Jackie Downs, Neal Muggleton, John Nelms and Hazel Smith of Fairlands Valley Spartans

Karen Ellis, Jackie Downs, Neal Muggleton, John Nelms and Hazel Smith of Fairlands Valley Spartans at a checkpoint on the Race to the King. - Credit: FVS

Two others also completed the race, Cathy Craig accompanied by Sharon Crowley who is making her way back from an injury picked up in 2019.

David Bowker meanwhile won the Milton Keynes 24-hour race, completing 15 laps of a 6.55mile course.

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