Midweek Road Race League back with a bang as Spartans and Squirrels join forces
- Credit: KEITH FENWICK
A collaboration between Fairlands Valley Spartans and North Herts Road Runners brought a staple of the Hertfordshire running calendar back to actual roads.
The Midweek Road Running League had been on hiatus since 2019 with the 2020 edition non taking part at all while it was held virtually in 2021.
But the series of four 10k races got under way again in Division One at Stevenage, centred on Fairlands Valley Park, with 409 taking part.
North Herts' aim of returning to the top step of the podium after their 2019 success, got off to a decent start with their men's team finishing second and the ladies placing third.
That left the club third in the overall standings behind St Albans Striders and Trent Park.
They also had the individual winner of the men's race, Tom Webb coming home in 31 minutes 25 seconds. Karen Townsend was their first woman and eighth in that race, making her debut for the club.
Men's team captain John Auld said: "I am super proud of the whole teams performance, from the direct scoring team and right through the field.
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"I loved seeing team mates running for each other."
Spartans meanwhile placed sixth in the men's race and fifth in both the women's race and overall.
The club had 79 involved and the first one home was Simon Jackson, 15th in the men's race in a time of 32:59, two places and four seconds ahead of Jonathan Parr.
Suzy Hawkins was the club's first woman, placing 16th, while Gabrielle O'Brien were separated by two seconds in 26th and 27th.
Round two comes on Wednesday at St Albans with the remaining rounds at Chingford and Trent Park before the mob match, where clubs in all three divisions come together, to be held in Welwyn Garden City on July 6.
Spartans' Parr meanwhile was crowned county champion on the track, winning the 5,000m, while North Herts' Nick Malpeli of North Herts Road Runners took the national age group title at the Chester Half Marathon, running a PB of 1:18:33.
He was presented with his award by Johnny Mellor, the elite 2020 British marathon champion.