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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

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