Dacorum & Tring AC Road Runners had some very hardy runners out racing over the weekend, braving sub-zero temperatures and, in one case, a freezing river – with some brilliant results.
First off, Andrew Cracknell finished first overall in the Bedford Autodrome Duathlon standard distance event; a 10km run, followed by a 40km cycle and then a final 5km run. He finished in a time of 1.58.59 – three and a half minutes ahead of second place.
His very impressive splits for the event were 34.39 for the 10km run, 1.03.41 for the bike and 19.02 for the 5km run – with both run splits the best of the day, out of 66 competitors, while his bike split was sixth fastest overall.
Andy said his win was unexpected, as it was his first-ever duathlon, but he was thrilled with the result as it was on the same course as the European duathlon championship qualifier next spring, where he’s now targeting a GB age-group slot based on his performance in Bedford.
He led from gun to tape in freezing temperatures, but said he couldn’t feel his hands on the bike and there were some strong winds too which made it tough. Even so, he “managed to stay out front, even beating all the sprint distance racers to the 5km point on the first run, which confused the marshals, and trotted the last 5km for a fairly easy win.”
Another speedster, Ania Gabb, ran 1.32.07 in the Wimbledon Common Half Marathon, fast enough for sixth senior woman and seventh female overall out of 289 female runners – and her time was only 17 seconds away from a PB – very impressive given the cold and hills and traffic on the course.
Chris Kitchener, meanwhile, travelled down to Wembley to compete in the Men’s Health Survival of The Fittest, a 10k urban obstacle race with over 70 obstacles and a stint in the river which he said was “freezing” – but he came through, finishing seventh in his wave and 192nd out of 5,350 people.
Two club members, Clare Hunt and Annette Howard, ‘did the double’ over the weekend, running two events in two days.
In Clare’s case, it was two events in two hours, as she ran the Croxley Green Christmas Cracker 10k in 52.16, only an hour after running the Cassiobury parkrun, where she was fifth lady overall.
Annette Howard ran at Croxley Green as well, and the next day joined fellow club runners Samantha Hawkridge, Ant Gomm and Rebecca White for the MoRun Milton Keynes 5km race – part of the Movember fundraising campaign for men’s health.
Dacorum & Tring AC also had 22 parkrunners in action, and they grabbed 19 top-three places (14 first places) at four parkruns – with two outright ‘first across the lines’ from Jamie Marlow and Grace Birdseye at Gadebridge, where the men’s team took the top three places overall.
At the Gadebridge event in Hemel Hempstead, Jamie managed to keep the youngsters at bay, finishing first male in 19.50, ahead of Joshua Van Heiningen (first JM15-17 in 20.20) and Rhys Rowlands (second JM15-17 in 20.53).
Matt Salt was seventh overall, and first SM20-24 in 21.47, while Grace (JW15-17) crossed the line in 23.34 as first lady, fast enough for 10th overall.
Keith Wishart was next (12th overall in 24.07 - first VM45-49), with Rob Salt hard on his heels in 24.31 (13th overall and first VM50-54).
Michael Lamb finished 14th, in 25.34 (first VM40-44), while Matthew David Stears was 16th in 26.32 (first VM55-59).
Kerry Hoar, back from injury, was fourth lady and first VW40-44, in 27.53, while Louise Flower was on volunteer duty as sweep, finishing with the last runner in 34.15. Also volunteering were John Jales, Carol Macdonald, Andy Mitchell, Tony Reeve and Kirsty Russell.
Daniel Griggs ran for the first time in Cassiobury, scoring a speedy time of 20.36, fast enough for 16th overall and second VM35-39, while Thomas Ashton also debuted at the event, grabbing first in the JM11-14 age group with his time of 21.07, for 20th overall.
Clare Hunt did the first part of her double act (just an hour before running the Croxley Green Christmas Cracker 10k), running a 23.51 (fifth lady and second SW30-34) while Henry Ashton pipped his mum to the post, finishing first JM10 in a time of 27.19, with Charlotte just behind in 27.25.
Over in Tring, the club had five runners in action: Sam Fielding finished sixth overall in 21.29 (first JM15-17), while Sarah Grover finished fourth lady in 24.11 (first SW20-24) and Sam Burnell, the male points champion for Tring park run’s first year, was 20th overall in 24.16 (first JM11-14).
Kate Crossland had a great race, finishing eighth lady in 26.00 and first in her SW30-34 age group, while Sarah’s dad Alan ran his 128th parkrun, finishing in 34.03.
Michelle Ashwell ran in Fritton Lake in Norfolk and crossed the line first in her VW40-44 age category in a time of 28.53, while, closer to home, team-mate Rob Deane was on hand as a volunteer at the South Oxhey parkrun.