Athletics: Inspirational Paula’s Two Oceans – and two Barrows and 16 scurrying Squirrels

PUBLISHED: 08:52 03 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:03 03 April 2018

Paula Holm

Paula Holm

Archant

There were some notable runs this week from North Herts Road Runners – not least from the inspirational Paula Holm.

There were some notable runs this week from North Herts Road Runners – not least from the inspirational Paula Holm.

Gutsy Paula travelled to South Africa to take part in the Two Oceans Half Marathon despite three months of injury and being taken ill a few days before-hand, she made the starting line – for a 5.50am start.

Beginning in the Cape Town dark and facing extreme hills within the first mile and a half, Paula struggled from the off, completing the course in a creditable 1:43:36.

After the race she reflected on the experience, summing up the experience eloquently, telling CometSport: “The African spirit, incredible vibe, stunning scenery and watching the sun rise over Table Mountain during the dawn race, made for the most amazing once in a lifetime experience.”

Nearer to home, Jo Summers continued her incredible saga of marathon running, building up to her 200th 26.2 milers in Rome.

She completed two of the four in the Great Barrow Challenge near Bury St Edmonds on consecutive days, finishing the first in a comfortable 3:51, which she was pleased with.

The second, another scenic, undulating route generally considered to be tougher than the first day’s route, ended up being 30 miles.

Jo told CometSport: “It took me a while to settle into 30-mile mode instead of marathon, but once I had I just trundled along again and finished in 4:46 which I suppose isn’t too shabby for 30 miles.”

Linda Aird travelled to East London to take part in the Victoria Park 10k, which was being run alongside a half marathon and a 5k race.

Despite a congested start, the paths were wide and well-surfaced and the course was flat.

Linda said: “I decided to try and stay with a bloke just in front of me who was running at a good pace.

“I managed to stay with him for the whole race, playing cat and mouse - sometimes he was in front, sometimes I was - but he finished just in front of me, and we shook hands and thanked one another for pushing each other on throughout the race.

“I was pleased to finish in my best 10k time for a while, 50:27”.

The award-winning North Herts Road Runners are open to a wide range of runners – from marathons to 5k parkruns.

For more on this welcoming club follow them on Twitter @northhertsrr.

*Parkruns

As usual there were plenty of park runners out and about. Sue and Mark Vaughan ventured across to the Great Denham parkrun.

Sue is on the comeback trail after a series of injuries have interrupted her training. On the fast, flat 5K course at Great Denham, Sue blasted off at PB pace and, rolling back the years, negotiated her way round the course in a time of 26:34, coming very close to her parkrun PB set 2 years ago in Bedford.

This was a great indicator that recent training is paying off and that a return to form just in time for the imminent midweek league is on the cards.

Sue said “I wanted to go out hard and try to hang on, rather than play it safe, and it worked.

“The course is great and definitely one I will do again”. Mark won the race in a time of 17:00.

*Lindsay Cook was amongst a trio of Squirrels who took on a more local run.

Lindsay said, “I slid around Letchworth parkrun for the first time finishing in 33:27.

“I was pretty pleased with my time, given the conditions underfoot, and also felt very smug in my mudclaws as I got a lot more grip than most of the others there.”

*Other parkrunners this week in Letchworth were Richard Harbon in 7th place (23:00) and Rachel Annetts, 55th (33:55). In other parkruns: Ellie Scott was 38th in Norwich (26:07); in Kettering Chris Poole finished 49th (23:20); At Stevenage, Eva McCabe continued her success, finishing 22nd, (1st Lady) (22:13), followed by Stephen Lummis, 56th (25:04), Naomi Parkinson, 63rd (26:01); Lucy Hurley, 65th (26:05); Helen Giffin, 128th (29:16) and Sheila Leavy, 132nd (29:22). At the East Coast parkrun, Joe Sherry finished 48th (26:59) and at Holkham parkrun, Nick Malpeli was 8th (19:09).

An edited version of this article will appear in this week’s Comet newspaper.

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