Dacorum & Tring Road Runner David rakes in more than £15k for charity

David Stears with his New York marathon medal
David Stears with his New York marathon medal
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David Stears, of the Dacorum & Tring AC Road Runners, completed the New York City marathon in a time of 4.19 – raising over £15,000 for MacMillan Cancer Care in the process

The race was one of his long-term goals, and although the huge crowds, deceptively tough course and the unusually warm weather prevented him from achieving his target of a sub-four hour marathon, he said the experience was “utterly amazing”.

Dacorum & Tring runners at the St Albans parkrun, from left: Janice Flowers, Thomas Ashton, Alexis Bunce, Rebecca White and Jan Strachan

Dacorum & Tring runners at the St Albans parkrun, from left: Janice Flowers, Thomas Ashton, Alexis Bunce, Rebecca White and Jan Strachan

Back in the UK, two club runners added to Dacorum & Tring’s tally of age group course records for the 5k parkrun distance, giving the club a total of 15 records over 12 age groups at six parkruns.

At Gadebridge parkrun in Hemel Hempstead, Freddie Truman-Williams finished eighth overall for first in the JM11-14 category in a time of 21.39 – a PB for the hilly course and giving him the parkrun record for the event in his age group.

Catherine Davies also grabbed a new Gadebridge parkrun record of 23.18 in the VW50-54 age group, in her first outing at the event.

Other club members holding parkrun records for the Gadebridge parkrun are: Daniel Belsey in the JM10 category, his twin sister Rachel (JW10), Joshua van Heiningen (JM15-17), Indira Patel (JW11-14), Grace Birdseye (JW15-17), Matthew Salt (SM20-24) and Kate Rennie (VW40-44). Rennie also holds the VW40-44 record for the Tring parkrun, while Alex Eykelbosh is the record holder in the SW18-19 category for the St Albans parkrun.

Two club members, Jamie Marlow and Kelly Du Buisson, hold the parkrun records in the SM30-34 and SW30-34 age categories at the South Oxhey parkrun, with Marlow also holding the record for his age group at the Cassiobury parkrun in Watford.

Jamie Bailey, meanwhile, holds the JM10 parkrun record for the Aylesbury parkrun, showing that the club’s middle distance squad for young athletes – coached by UKA Level 4 coach Mike Dunphy – is making its mark on the local running scene, with a total of seven junior parkrun records.

Truman-Williams and Davies were not the only club members at parkruns over the weekend: on a rare break from competition, a total of 41 runners ran at nine parkruns around the country, racking up a total of 38 top-three placings and 13 PBs, prompting head coach John Jales to praise the adult Road Runners’ coach Rob Deane and Dunphy for the superb string of recent top performances and PBs across all age groups.

The club recorded 11 age-group top-three placings at Gadebridge, with Richard Slack second overall and first V35-39, in 20.44.

Not far behind him was Truman-Williams in eighth overall and first JM11-14 in a new PB of 21.39; he was followed by Michael Lamb in 23.00 (third VM40-44) and Martin Kerr in 23.09, a big new PB for him (third VM35-39).

Grace Birdseye was 18th overall in 23.17 (third female and first JW15-17) with Davies one second behind (first VW50-54), giving her the Gadebridge record for her age group.

Sam Sullivan crossed the line soon after, in 23.54, for first VW40-44. John Stevens finished in 25.50, for first VM55-59, while Andy Mitchell was second VM50-54 in 26.25.

Kerry Hoar had her first run back after injury, cruising through to finish in 28.15, with Denise Burford next in 28.54 and Penny Walduck in 29.06. Calypso Phillips was second JW15-17 in 29.25 and her sister Star was first JW11-14 in 34.29.

John Jales was honoured for completing his 25th stint as a Gadebridge volunteer, and was joined on the volunteer roster with Erin Marlow, who was joint race director for the day, and her dad Jamie.

Over in St Albans, Joshua van Heiningen had a superb race, finishing second overall out of 401 runners (and first JM15-17) in a new PB of 17.16.

Training partner Rhys Rowlands was fifth overall and second JM15-17 in 18.16 while Matt Renphrey was third for the age group in 20.02.

Thomas Ashton scored a huge new PB of 21.01 - 44 seconds faster than his previous PB on the course and easily fast enough for first JM11-14 - while Evie Clilverd ran for the first time, posting a fast time of 21.42, fast enough for first JW11-14.

Olivia Edwards ran a new PB of 21.52, giving her first place in the JW10 category (by more than 11 minutes). Her dad Jonathan was tantalisingly close (four seconds) to his PB, finishing in 22.49, while Jan Strachan posted a huge new PB of 23.33 - first time under 24.00 and more than 30 seconds faster than last week, which was also a PB.

Rebecca White equalled her PB of 28.32 in her first parkrun with the club, while Janice Flowers was a mere one second off her PB of 29.44. Alexis Bunce showed her training is going well, with a new PB of 30.05.

At Cassiobury, Steve Russell led the club home, finishing 15th overall in 19.14, for first VM45-49, while Becky Fawcett grabbed herself a huge new PB of 21.11, giving her first place in the SW30-34 age group, with Duncan Hamilton, who helped pace her to her new best finishing just behind in 21.22.

Rachel Lewis was only three seconds off her PB, finishing in 22.39, fast enough for second SW25-29, and Clare Hunt was not far off her PB, crossing the line in 23.36 for second SW30-34. Kirsty Russell got her third PB in a row, finishing in 26.10, accompanied by Jess Tanner, who crossed in 26.14.

In Tring, Sam Burnell was 19th overall, finishing in 23.14, not far off his PB and fast enough for second JM11-14. Kate Crossland, smashed her Tring PB to finish in 25.41, for second SW30-34, while both Daniel Belsey (second JM10) and dad Richard got new Tring PBs of 27.05 and 27.11 respectively.

At the Hereford parkrun, Erica Klein got another new PB of 26.18, placing her first in the SW30-34 age group.

Louise Flower ran at Woodhouse Manor in Leeds, and although she didn’t get a PB, she finished in 25.41, more than three minutes faster than her last outing on the course.

Over at the Kings Lynn parkrun, Tony Reeve stormed home in 22.47, easily taking first in the VM55-59 age group. Matt Salt ran at the Southsea parkrun, finishing sixth overall out of 328 finishers and he crossed the line in 18.50 (second SM20-24).

Carolyn Heeps was running in Wimbledon, where she finished just two seconds over her PB, in 23.38, despite twisting her ankle late in the race and hobbling home - and still finishing first in her VF55-59 age group by more than five minutes.

Three club members, Michelle Ashwell, Rob Deane and Robert Wright, were on hand as run volunteers at the South Oxhey parkrun.