Runners go far and wide at weekend

North Herts Road Runners were spread far and wide with the Letchworth-based club competing at six different events. These included cross-country, half-marathons and an 18-mile endurance event in Devon known as the Grizzly. Successes included a team gold,

North Herts Road Runners were spread far and wide with the Letchworth-based club competing at six different events.

These included cross-country, half-marathons and an 18-mile endurance event in Devon known as the Grizzly. Successes included a team gold, an individual bronze and a new club record.

Watford was the venue for the Herts veterans' cross-country championships on Sunday.

The Squirrels sent a small team but this did not prevent Rachel Lancaster from picking up the individual bronze medal in the female V45 category.

She also led the team to the gold medal with club colleagues Christine Sharp and Karen Dodsworth.

In the V35 category Jo Summers ran well over the 5k course to finish in fifth position and Duncan Hooker was the highest placed male runner from the club over the longer 10k course.

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A new club record for a half-marathon was set at Milton Keynes by veteran Paula Adams who bettered the previous female record by just five seconds as she completed the 13.1 miles in 1-24:19.

Adams also finished as the eighth placed female in a race that had almost 2,000 finishers.

The next runner in for the club was Paula's husband, Clive, who was just over a minute behind his wife with a new personal best of 1-25:36.

Other finishers were John Russell (1-26:39), Stewart Bryant (1-28:32), Jane Chappell (1-30:22, pb) and Colin Hewitt (1-47:59, pb).

There were two more stirling performances at the distance as Kevin Ferry stormed home in 12th place out of a field of more than 2,000 runners at the Brentwood Half-Marathon in Essex.

Ferry clocked 1-17:22 over an undulating course and set himself a new personal best.

Veteran Steve Taplin completed the Hastings Half-Marathon in 1-26:21 and was among the first few hundred runners home out of a huge field of more than 3,000.

Mike Mello went an extra couple of miles over a cold, windy course at the Kelmarsh Hall 15-mile road race in Northants and finished in 1-52:45.

The Grizzly in Devon is around 18 miles of hills and mud and is not an event to seek a fast time or for the faint-hearted.

The emphasis is on just getting round the tough, strength-sapping course.

Regular Grizzly competitor Gary Cook put in a fabulous performance to finish 29th out of more than 1,000 runners with a time of 2-28:33.

Three other club members completed the ordeal with Lysa Ralph finishing in 3-46:59, Paul Bowal in 3-50:10 and Lindsay Cook in 4-04:10.

Six members of FVS TRI braved the cold conditions to compete in the Milton Keynes Half Marathon and achieve a top 10 finish and four quality personal bests.

Simon Hall was first home for the club in 1-14:41 to give him an excellent 10th overall.

A welcome return from injury saw Steve Wells record 1-20:11, good enough for fifth in the male vet 40 category and 36th overall.

Personal bests for Jeremy Prodger (by more than two minutes) and John Burgess (16 minutes!) provided encouragement as they both prepare for the London Marathon.

There were more best times for Rob Wilson (eight minutes), busy training for his first Ironman event later in the year, and also Dave Coard (two minutes).

Times: Simon Hall 1-14:41, Steve Wells 1-20:11, Dave Coard 1-23:21 pb, Jeremy Prodger 1-27:34 pb, John Burgess 1-28:05 pb, Rob Wilson 1-31:24 pb.

Sam Tophill raced the Finchley 20-mile road race as part of her build up to the London Marathon and finished on target in 2-28:27.

Simon Patenall made his annual pilgrimage to Devon to race the Grizzly.

Although different each year, the course was particularly gruelling this year and really lived up to its name providing Simon with one of his personal worsts at 3-26:26!

Sharon Crowley was the Fairlands Valley Spartan star at Sunday's Milton Keynes Half-Marathon.

Her previous personal best of 1-44:52 was set way back in 1993! She has run dozens of half-marathons since but beat that by 1:52 when she crossed the finish line in 1-43:00.

Sharon was one of 15 Spartans who ran and other best times were set by Gary Mulhern (1-39:41), Gillian McFarlane (1-43:45) and Doug Hall (2-04:48).

New member Jon Wilson ran a fine 1-38:27, while the first Spartan finisher was Jim Brown in 1-28:01.

Times: Jim Brown 1-28:01, Kevin Smyth 1-34:38, Jon Wilson 1-38:27, Gary Mulhern 1-39:41 pb, Tessa Stephenson 1-41:15, Ron Church 1-41:51, Sharon Crowley 1-43:00 pb, Gillian McFarlane 1-43:45 pb, Ian Chappell 1-44:23, Frances Ridgway 1-44:26, Barbara Wilson 1-45:38, Paul Holgate 1-46:23, Dave Paul 1-47:15, Carol Paul 1-57:00, Doug Hall 2-04:48 pb.

Andy Patterson ran a superb debut 20-mile race on Sunday. He finished the cold Finchley 20, in North London, in 2-15:50.

In the same race Simon Jackson improved his 20-mile time by 15 minutes when he crossed the line in 2-24:40. Mark Beasley was the third Spartan in 2-33:22.

Roger Biggs continued his rich vein of form with yet another best time since 1999!

This time the 57-year-old was competing in the Treviso point-to-point marathon near Venice in Italy.

In good conditions the current Comet Sportsman of the Year recorded a time of 3-28:19.

As well as being his best marathon time since 1999, it was also only the second time he has run sub 3-30 in 17 years!