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Harriers Go Global!

May 21, 2015

Paul Berwin at Tel Aviv

Paul Berwin at Tel Aviv

If anything has marked our running year so far, it has to be the number of marathons that our members have taken part in; for  a while it seemed that every week a Harrogate Harrier would be competing in a 26.2 mile race and not all of them were in the UK – the club has truly gone global this year!  It’s fantastic that we have such an adventurous membership and the news deserves to be broadcast, so here’s a round-up of this year’s marathon adventures: First up was Paul Berwin who travelled all the way to Tel Aviv in Israel for his marathon.  This was never going to be an easy one, Paul knew that conditions were going to be hot and the race difficult, but he was raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and the United Hebrew Congregation, so of course it was very important to him.  Simply “hot” probably doesn’t do justice to the conditions during the day, therefore the organisers moved the start time to 5.45a.m., meaning a very early wake-up call.  Apparently all the race signs and announcements were made in Hebrew and Paul hopes that he didn’t miss anything important!  Nonetheless, from about 20K onwards the early-morning heat made it a real problem and cramp and dehydration soon took their toll.  He finished the race in a very creditable 4:25 which was below target, but given the conditions he was pleased to finish – especially as the race was abandoned before the final time cut-off and scores of runners were treated for the effects of heat exhaustion.  More importantly, he raised over £2500 plus gift aid for Macmillan and over £1500 plus gift aid for UHC and that’s what really matters.  Tel Aviv Marathon 2015 Results

Sue & Victoria after Barcelona was done and dusted!

Sue & Victoria after Barcelona was done and dusted!

Next on the Harriers global stage were Victoria Tremlin and Sue Moul, both of whom travelled to Barcelona for that city’s annual marathon with their sights firmly set on a good performance after a period of training under the watchful eye of Harry Dowdell.  Both girls motored past La Sagrada Familia to secure personal bests, Victoria was ecstatic to achieve her sub-3:30 goal with a fantastic 3:28, while Sue trimmed 18 mins off her previous best to finish in an excellent 3:44.  It will come as no surprise that both these ladies have their eye on the 2016 Boston Marathon, having now set qualifying times for their respective age groups.  Barcelona Marathon 2015 Results

Rob Athey and Simon Lawson were next up, taking on the rigours of the Paris Marathon and it’s masses. I’m not sure if it’s the biggest marathon in the World but it can’t be far off – 54,000 people registered for it and there were 6,738 runners from the UK alone!  Both lads did us proud, I’m not sure if Rob claimed a PB here but he finished in a very respectable 4:10:16, while Simon was overjoyed to finish his first marathon in an excellent 3:37:48.  Well done to both.  Paris Marathon 2015 results

Wendy Marks has ran several races in Greece, but on this occasion went for a big one – the Alexander the Great Marathon which travels from Pella to Thessaloniki.  She reports that the weather was more like an English winter than spring in Greece and battled wind and rain all the way back to the finish, barely having time to appreciate the lovely countryside that borders the course.  Wendy had set her sights on a sub 3:15 finish, but the strong headwind had other ideas and as the race progressed the miles started to feel hard, she also struggled with the cold (being dressed for a hot summer marathon), however picked up in the final few miles as the wind dropped and the sun came out.  She made a final push for the finish and was chuffed to finish with five minute PB of 3:18, 5th lady overall and 1st FV45.   Well done Wendy – excellent stuff.  Alexander the Great Marathon Results

Adam on the home straight at Rotterdam

Adam on the home straight at Rotterdam

Nathan Smith and Adam Prentis hopped across the channel to take part in the Rotterdam Marathon and begin their 2015 26.2 campaigns.  They report that the event  was pretty well organised and the day before they had some good races for kids to experience and be supported along the finish line of the marathon. On the morning of the race it was clear skies and blue and during the race it was actually quite warm. Nathan partnered with a fellow runner from Ripon Runners for the first 20 miles, but slowed down a bit towards the end, nonetheless finishing in an excellent time of 3:18, a PB by 8 minutes.   Adam had an absolute stormer of a race and blasted around the course to finish in another PB time of 3:04, fantastic results from both Harrogate Harriers.  Rotterdam Marathon 2015 results

Needless to say, the fell-runners were part of this marathon odyssey as well:  Saturday 25th April saw one of Yorkshire’s most famous races take place for 61st time – dubbed the “Marathon With Mountains” – but better known as the Three Peaks Fell Race.  It’s a properly hard race, tough due not only to its distance (23.3miles) and climb (5,296 feet over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough) but also because of the tight cut-off times. Not for the faint hearted, there were over 1,018 entrants: 802 started and 701 finished.  Nick Andralojc, Jake Turnbull, Phil Birch and Graham Molyneux all qualified for a place and on the day were greeted by cold and drizzle, with light snowfall on the summit plateaus – so pretty normal for a fell race!  First Harrogate Harrier back was Jake Turnbull with an impressive 309th place in 4hr 17mins 19 secs, followed soon after by Nick Andralojc with 4hrs 18mins 26 secs, Phil Birch 4hrs 20mins 28 secs and Graham Molyneux (459th) with 4hrs 35mins 41secs.  Winner of the race was fire-fighter and Salomon International Team’s Ricky Lightfoot who worked a nightshift, drove from Cumbria, won the race in 2hrs 51’ and 42 secs and apologised that he could not stay for the prize-giving and headed back to start another night’s work.  Stout performances guys!  Three Peaks 2015 results

The following day it was the Big ‘Un and the race for which a lot of training had taken place – the London Marathon.  We actually had nine Harriers taking part, they were greeted by almost perfect running conditions, it was cool with just a hint of rain in the air and only the occasional gust of wind to contend with.  The stand-out Harrier performance had to be from Andy Grant, he  has been running really well this season and he didn’t let this opportunity pass, finishing in a superb 2:33, a PB by almost 8 minutes and the best Harrogate marathon time for many a year – and in front of Paula Radcliffe to boot!   This result puts him well up there in the UK age-group rankings and he absolutely deserves the plaudits for a great race.  Other Harriers fared just as well:  Mark Seymour has been trying to run a Boston qualifying time for years and having subscribed to a new training plan, really produced the goods on the day – despite an injury sustained just four weeks previously – to finish in 3:32:11, well under the BQT for his age-group and he will be there in 2016.   He’s now considering the Toyko marathon, the only marathon among the World Majors that eludes him!   There were PBs for Ros Moore (3:31:53) and Nicola Smith (3:54:58) and good races also from Wendy Marks, Dave Harrison, Eve Hawkins, Mark Robinson and Lisa NewtonLondon Marathon 2015 results

Nathan powers home to a new PB!

Nathan powers home to a new PB!

Our final marathon story comes from Nathan Smith, who – despite having recently raced in the Rotterdam Marathon – travelled over to Belfast in an attempt to get the London “Good for Age” time that he’d been seeking.  He reports good support and course that has a gradual climb up the Antrim Road for about six miles, then a sharp drop back to sea level for two miles.  There was also a section next to the sea along the “tow road” which he says was horrendous, however he managed to hang on to his projected pace, passed the 3:15 pacers and powered through to a new PB in a great time of 3:12:21, giving him the London qualifying time he wanted – well done Nathan!  Belfast Marathon 2015 results

Double Firsts

April 16, 2015

The club has seen some terrific performances on the roads of late, it seemed for a while that a member was doing a marathon somewhere in Continental Europe every weekend!  With all this going on we sometimes forget that we’ve got some outstanding off-road runners too, this was demonstrated lately when a Harrogate Harrier won both the Troller’s Trot AND the Blubberhouses 25!!  Both of these local events are tough, uncompromising races of about the same distance with a good amount of climb, they attract the best of local talent so this really was a massive achievement.

First up was the Trollers Trot on 7th March, the weather was a bit windy but at least the snow we had earlier in the week had cleared up!  The moors were boggy and wet, however this didn’t stop Andy Grant who set off at his usual (fast) pace, running alongside another runner from Wharfedale Harriers, then without 10 miles to go he upped the pace and put some serious distance between them, eventually finishing the race in 2:57:01, over five minutes in front of the second-placed man.

Next it was the Blubberhouses 25 on 29th March, conditions weren’t brilliant and it was windy with rain/sleet at times, however Andy Dobby – a previous winner of this race AND the Troller’s Trot – wasted no time in pushing for the lead, swapping places on a continual basis with Liam Dunne (Otley AC).  As the pair climbed up towards Rocking Hall, they started to pull away from the third-placed runner and from there on it really was just between the two of them.  The rain and wind was definitely taking its toll, Andy reports that conditions were hard over Round Hill (the fell race route), but both runners kept with each other, so after the hard slog around Swinsty and back to Norwood they both did the sensible thing and crossed the line together, sharing the honours.  This was excellent running from Andy, he has struggled with injury in recent months and is only now getting back to his best.

Trollers Trot Results

Blubberhouses 25 Results

A Brace of Ten-Milers

March 27, 2015

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Dan Atkinson gritting it out to the finish ….

The 2015 race season is well underway and we’ve already seen some great performances from Harrogate Harriers both on and off-road, we’ve had club members compete in ultra-distance trail events, fast and furious 10Ks, tough and muddy fell races and road marathons, our colours have been far and wide.  It’s getting to that time of year when the ten-milers take place though, for a (relatively) hilly area, we’re unusually blessed with a couple of nice flat 10-mile races – the deservedly popular Snake Lane 10 and Thirsk 10 – and it’s fair to say that most local runners will have their PBs at one of these fine events.

The Snake Lane 10 is a very popular race with the club, you have to be on your toes to even get a place (it fills up very quickly) and this year no less than 24 members made the trip over to Pocklington to take part.  Conditions were excellent for racing and Dan Atkinson put his recent injury problems behind him to put in tremendous run and be the first Harrogate Harrier across the line in 1:05: 10, just a few seconds ahead of Adam Prentis who had an equally superb run to claim a new PB.  Wendy Marks always enjoys this race and has been putting in some excellent performances in recent months – she targeted this race especially and didn’t disappoint, running an outstanding 1:07:28 to earn an new PB and 4th FV45.  Personal Bests also for Simon Moffatt, Darren West and Si Lawson – it really was the day for it!

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Ros & Wendy at Thirsk

A similar number of Harriers made the slightly shorter journey over the Thirsk for their ten-miler (one of our Club Championship Races) and once again there was no shortage of action:  Andy Grant put in a scintillating performance to finish 4th overall in 54:03 and 1st MV40 by some margin.   Ben Shacklock – currently leading the Club Championship – pulled out all the stops to finish in a PB time of 1:03:56 while Adam Prentis picked up the threads from his Snake Lane performance and ran a terrific race, improving still further on his PB in 1:04:37.  Our first lady – or rather ladies – were Ros Moore and Wendy Marks who crossed the line together in 1:12:58, a new PB for Ros, excellently paced by Wendy.  Well done to all, great running!

Snake Lane 10 Results
Thirsk 10 Results

PECO XC – The Season So Far

February 24, 2015

PECO_Juniors

Junior Harrogate Harriers give the Seniors a Cheer!

Four of the five PECO Cross Country races have now taken place, these have been have been staged at Pendas Fields (Wakefield), Nostell Priory, West Park Fields and Bodington Fields (Leeds).  34 juniors, 13 ladies and 24 men have contested at least one event: Ever-present in Junior Year 4-6 have been Joseph Harris, Mark Wood, Jessica Thompson James Wood, Callum Slee, Ella Colbourn and Emily Young, while in the Junior Year 10–12 Joe Bryant, Amy Proctor, Rebecca Wood, Emma Proctor, Louisa Welton and Isobel Harris have also been regular competitors. Seniors Emma Robinson, Jodie Peary, Jillie Townend, Steve Nesbitt and Stephen Kirk have all kept a clean sheet. All the juniors have performed really well,particularly Amy Proctor and Joe Bryant who are leading their respective age groups with Jessica Thompson, Joseph Harris and Rebecca Wood lying second in theirs. The ladies are also performing well, as they top the second division and are second in the Lady Vet 1st Division and individually Emma Robinson is currently in 6th position overall. The men are struggling as our very top runners have chosen not to be involved with the exception of Jonny Johnson who placed an excellent 6th in race 4. With one race to go the men are 6th in the first division (out of 7 ) and 9th in the Vet Premier division ( out of ten ). The club are in second position in the Colin Morath Memorial Trophy, this is awarded to the club that makes the most progress over the season. The club needs a good turnout of members at the last race on Sunday 1st March at Roundhay Park, especiallyfrom the men if we are to avoid relegation. The ladies need to cement their position at the top of the league and individually. My thanks go to Claire Wood and Simon Claridge for organising the juniors and Sue Moul our senior Peco representative. Details of all things Peco can be found at www.pecoxc.co.uk/

Tony Essex
HHAC Chairman