Great North Run tempts many north with Baldock Rat Run providing the home comforts

North Herts Road Runners at the Baldock Rat Run.

North Herts Road Runners at the Baldock Rat Run. - Credit: NHRR

The Great North Run attracted plenty of runners from north Hertfordshire to the splendours of the north east with some great results.

The now iconic race had courted controversy when it announced a change in the normal route from Newcastle to South Shields through the towns of South Tyneside.

This year's course was an out and back 13.1 miles around Newcastle and Gateshead with two crossings of the Tyne Bridge.

Kat Hinitt, Dave Braybrook and Andrew Coates of North Herts Road Runners said the postponed 40th edition was held in "an amazing atmosphere" and it spurred Braybrook on to a PB, clocking one hour 38 minutes 57 seconds, while Hinitt and Coates both dipped under the two-hour barrier.

Steven Dobner of Fairlands Valley Spartans started at his marathon pace but kicked on when he felt good, finishing in 1:54:47, and team-mate Adrian Donnelly stormed round in 1:28:01, a new best for the distance.

Stevenage Striders had David Mendonca representing them and he finished in 2:07:30.

Paula Holm, Tracy Pitcairn and Rhia Botha of North Herts Road Runners at the end of the Baldock Rat Run.

Paula Holm, Tracy Pitcairn and Rhia Botha of North Herts Road Runners at the end of the Baldock Rat Run. - Credit: NHRR

Closer to home the Baldock Rat Run proved a popular choice of event for some, with money raised going to Garden House Hospice Care.

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North Herts Road Runners claimed a clean sweep of the podium places in the women's race.

Tracy Pitcairn took the win in 20:36, a new course record despite a pre-race fall leaving her bloodied, and she was followed home by Paula Holm and 35-weeks pregnant Rhia Botha.

NHRR also had the winner in the men's race over the multi-terrain course around Ivel Springs and the Greenway.

Tom Webb claimed that in 16:50 with John Auld second.

John Harris of Fairlands Valley Spartans was 11th overall and Sue Hamer and Erica Grayson were separated by just three seconds.

Ed Laws hands over to Stevenage & North Herts team-mate Jessica Astill in the 4x400m mixed relay.

Ed Laws hands over to Stevenage & North Herts team-mate Jessica Astill in the 4x400m mixed relay. - Credit: NORMA HARRIS

Away from the road, Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club were competing the final two league matches of the season.

The senior team were at home on their Ridlins track and had a new club record in the hammer to celebrate, George Marvel extending the mark he set at St Albans last month.

He launched it 53.89m to win that event while Libby Taylor took the honours in the women’s.

Other wins came from Ed Laws and Joel Evans in the 400m hurdles and Shannon Rapacchi and Aimie Taylor in the women’s pole vault.

Steve Feely also took the B string shot while the day ended with an exciting 4x400m mixed relay, the Stevenage team of Laws, Jessica Astill, Alex Pickard and Chris Feely finishing third.

One day later 28 of the club’s young athletes travelled to Cambridge for the last Eastern Young Athletes League meeting.

And they returned with wins for new member Aubrey Murray in the U13 high jump, Bobby Pitman in the U15 discus, Sam Buss in the hammer and Jamie Timms in the javelin.

Georgia Sutcliffe claimed a PB in each of her three U13 events - the 100m, 200m and long jump - while Enid Whitton managed two in the shot and discus.

For the U15s there were bests for Kirsten Morley (200m), Fran Hart (high jump) and Kaira Harvey (long jump) while Reece Wannerton won the pole vault.

Annabel Howells (200m) and Delia Prevatali (high jump) both came second in the U17 events with PBs.

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