Harriers complete marathon in beautiful Florence

Gade Valley Harriers at the Florence Marathon PNL-161128-091247002

Gade Valley Harriers at the Florence Marathon PNL-161128-091247002

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A team of eight Gade Valley Harriers took flight to Florence in Italy this weekend to compete in the annual Florence Marathon.

In its 33rd year of running, the course started and finished at the Fortezza da Basso and the athletes took in the sights of the city, including the picturesque River Arno.

Karis Thomas at the Palmtunnel 10k. PNL-161128-091348002

Karis Thomas at the Palmtunnel 10k. PNL-161128-091348002

The perfect weather conditions suited the runners as the team all had great runs, with Andy Cook first home for the team and completing his third marathon in three months in a quick 3:22:18.

Cook was followed by Susie Ivin in 4:18:18, Paula Cook, 4:19:57, Dean Kidd 4:24:23, Anita Berwick 4:24:33, Joanna Kidd 4:39:20, Tina Searle 4:48:07 and Helen Heathcote 4:50:26 (PB).

In her new home town of Dubai, Karis Thomas completed the Palmtunnel 10K run, which set off in the early hours to avoid the scorching heat. The route took the runners around the famous Palm Jumeirah, three artificial islands created off the coast of Dubai and Thomas finished in a respectable one hour seven minutes.

Closer to home in Bassingbourn, Dylan Wendleken and Serena Harrap took on the Bass Belle 10 Mile race. The mixed terrain course suited the GVH athletes as they both had good runs, setting new PBs. Wendleken was first back in 1:03:33 (PB), Harrap posting 1:34:47 (PB).

Going off-road on Sunday were three Harriers at the Watford Autumn Challenge. The tough cross country 10K route took the runners through Cassiobury Park, then off up through the woods and hills of Whippendell Woods, before returning to Cassiobury. Lisa Pinder, Charlie Costin and Maria Kenny flew the club colours for the Harriers, Costin setting a new PB of 1:01:24.

Staying on–road on Sunday was Steve Newing from GVH, where he set a quick time of 33:51 over their annual 5 mile race.

The parkruns this week had 13 Harriers representing their team in four of the timed 5K runs.

Over in Hatfield, at Ellenbrook Fields, five Harriers donned the club colours where Anthony Willcox stormed home in second overall place in 18:59. Right behind him in third place was Vince Ellerby in 19:29, followed by Gareth Tucker 21:31, Tracey Cotton 23:46 and Russ Bailey 24:17 (PB).

Verulamium Park in St Albans had Anthony James and Lesley Jugoo representing GVH, James first back in a speedy 17:25, Jugoo posting 34:26.

The local Gadebridge Park run saw James Birnie first home for the team in 20:55, followed by Phil Robbins 21:02, Antony Beamish 21:39 and Peter Tucker 31:48.

Travelling north to Sheffield this week were mother and son team Helen and William Terry to take on the Graves parkrun. Both liked the course, setting new PBs, William pipping Helen at the post with a time of 29:19, Helen on his heels in 29:20.