An action-packed weekend for busy Gade Valley Harriers

Gade Valley Harriers were in action at the first Chiltern League meet of the season in Watford
Gade Valley Harriers were in action at the first Chiltern League meet of the season in Watford

It was another busy weekend for Gade Valley Harriers, with the first cross country race of the season in the Chiltern League, the Herts 10K, the Ridgeway Run, the Forest of Dean Marathon, and the Spartans Challenge.

The Harriers put out a record number of 23 men and nine ladies at the Chiltern League meet at Watford’s Cassiobury Park.

Newly promoted to Division One in the league, the Harriers put in a fine performance and achieved eighth place in the seniors’ competition, with the men’s team in seventh place and the ladies in 11th.

Harrier Andy Norton completed his second marathon – part of his five marathons in five weeks challenge – at the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

The race was an eight-lap trail race around Mallards Pike in the heart of the forest, and Andy completed in 3:53:44, knocking a huge 26 minutes off his time from the Bournemouth Marathon last week.

Elsewhere, 14 Harriers travelled to Harpenden to compete in the Herts 10K Race.

New Harrier Ross Armstrong came in an impressive fourth place overall out of 2,093 athletes in 36:11.

Michael Birch finished in 39:59 with Simon Wallis next home in 40:52, Andrew Smith in 43:54, Andy Terry in 46:31, Paul Blayney in 47:32, Rob Potton in 48:06, Rossiana Mee in 52:53, Emma Nash in 53:50, Rich Hutton in 54:49, Karis Thomas in 58:13, Peter Tucker in 58:14, Paul Mosely in 1:02:14 and Helen Heathcote in 1:02:34.

Meanwhile, 11 Harriers joined 518 runners to take on the Ridgeway Run on Sunday.

The Ridgeway Run was set up 1982 and is a challenging trail run of approximately 15km, over a scenic route mainly on footpaths and bridleways with stunning Chiltern views.

Starting on the outskirts of Tring, the course gradually ascends into the Ashridge Estate, past the Bridgewater Monument, takes in a stretch of the famous Ridgeway Path and Pitstone Hill before descending back into Tring and finishing at the Cricket Club.

The GVH team of Mark Crabtree, John Lawler, Steve Boyd and Tom North finished second in the men’s race, with Gemma Bitaraf, Claire McDonnell and Tracy Aldridge Jones coming second in the ladies’ race.

Individually, Crabtree was first home for the Harriers in 1:05:32, followed closely by John Lawler in 1:06:39, Steve Boyd 1:08:40, Tom North in 1:09:52, Steve Newing 1:11:59, Gemma Bitaraf 1:15:38, Claire McDonnell 1:17:27, Tracy Aldridge Jones in 1:18:20, Victoria Crawley-Wise in 1:22:47, James Thomson in 1:23:31 and Jackie Eskdale in 1:33:27.

In action elsewhere, Steve Reeve showed his grit by completing the Spartan Race in Nutley, East Sussex.

The Spartan Races are a notoriously tough 20K+ obstacle races, with mud, water and 26 obstacles to overcome.

Jenny Barnett was the lone Harrier at St Albans parkrun this week, where she clocked up a time of 30:25.