Track and road events of varying distances capture the attention for club runners

Joel Evans and Ed Laws of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club

Joel Evans and Ed Laws of Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club at the SEAA Championships. - Credit: SNHAC

Stevenage & North Herts Athletics Club were in action on both the track and the road this week - with plenty of success.

The South of England Senior/U20 Championships in Bedford saw eight from the club take part over the two days.

Shannon Rapacchi cleared a personal best of 3.30m to win the bronze medal in the senior's pole vault while U20 Joel Evans snatched third from team-mate Ed Laws in the 400m hurdles, also recording a PB.

Across at Jarman Park in Hemel Hempstead, there were 19 representing their schools at the County Schools Championship and there were wins for Jessica Astill in the 300m and Camille Akinfenwa in the high jump.

The road event was round one of the Midweek 10k event, held virtually.

SNHAC placed third out of the eight teams in Division Three with the quickest from the club, and fourth overall, being Chris Westcott in 38 minutes 39 seconds.

Adam Searle, Andy Robson, Isaac Whitten and Trevor Mason all made the top 30 while in the ladies' race it was Alex Gates who finished first for the club, her time of 49:59 placing her seventh lady.

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Jenny Cotter and Chris Feely came across the line together in 11th and 12th.

Fairlands Valley Spartans meanwhile took the win in Division One, with their men finishing first and the women third.

Andrew Patterson's second-place run in 33:36 was a huge help as were the efforts of Simon Jackson who was sixth and Jonathan Parr who was seventh.

In the ladies Suzy Hawkins was ninth in 41:50 while William Morley was the first U20 in the men's race.

In total the club had 97 runners submitting times.

North Herts Road Runners were second in both the men's standings and the ladies as well as overall.

Kat Burr, Rhia Botha and Ellie Webb of North Herts Road Runners

Kat Burr, Rhia Botha and Ellie Webb of North Herts Road Runners at the club's 5k test event. - Credit: JAMES WALSH

Their big focus this week though was a 5k test event on Norton Common in Letchworth Garden City.

They used their club members to test, plan and prepare for their regular First Saturday of the Month race, suspended since 2020.

Jillian Tooley-Boys of North Herts Road Runners with Mabel

Jillian Tooley-Boys of North Herts Road Runners with Mabel at the club's 5k test event. - Credit: JAMES WALSH

Race director Richard Harbon said: ‘We’re now completely confident that we can put on a safe and enjoyable monthly 5k starting on July 3, or as soon as the national rules allow after that.

"We really appreciate the support we’ve had with this from our own members and the wider community, especially North Herts District Council who have been super-helpful."

One other event this week held the attention of some club runners - the St Albans Half Marathon.

Glen Cuzner was the best finisher for Stevenage Striders' men in a time of 1:37:54 while Helen Moye was the club's leading woman in 2:05:07.

Heather Jones of Fairlands Valley Spartans

Heather Jones of Fairlands Valley Spartans celebrates her new PB at the St Albans Half Marathon. - Credit: JIM BROWN/FVS

For Fairlands Valley Spartans though the undoubted star was Heather Jones who improved her personal best by a huge six minutes, finishing in 1:43:50.

Luke Gurney and Christine Zverev of Fairlands Valley Spartans

Luke Gurney and Christine Zverev of Fairlands Valley Spartans at the St Albans Half Marathon. - Credit: LUKE GURNEY/FVS

She was the first lady from the club while Danny Scanlon came in first for the FVS men in 61st place, clocking1:30:26.

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