Round-up: County medal glory and ‘Ironwoman’ Jan in action

'Ironwoman' Jan Strachan
'Ironwoman' Jan Strachan
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Dacorum & Tring’s young middle distance squad produced a series of fine results at last weekend’s Herts County Championships, held in ideal conditions at Woodside Stadium in Watford.

Yet again Kristian Imroth put in an exceptional run to win a fiercely-contested under-17s 800m race.

Dacorum & Tring coach Mike Dunphy, one of the top coaches for young athletes in the country, with Olivia Edwards, winner of the county bronze in the U13 girls 1500m.

Dacorum & Tring coach Mike Dunphy, one of the top coaches for young athletes in the country, with Olivia Edwards, winner of the county bronze in the U13 girls 1500m.

Taking the lead just before the 400m mark, which he reached in under 59 seconds, Kristian maintained a torrid pace throughout the second lap, and towards the end of the back straight had to hold off a fierce challenge from Shaftesbury runner Ben Winfield.

Entering the final straight, Kristian held a one-metre lead over his rival, and had to summon up all his strength and courage to maintain this slender advantage to the finish line.

Kristian’s winning time of 2:01.36 was fully seven seconds faster than he achieved at this event last year, and more than a second faster than his previous personal best (PB) achieved in a schools’ race earlier this month.

Running in the same race as Kristian, and competing in his first-ever championship race, James Glyn made a fine debut to finish fourth in 2:05.71.

Jamie Bailey ran his heart out to finish second in his heat of the under-15s boys’ 800m in 2:20.10, fully eight seconds better than his previous best.

However, this exceptional run took its toll in the final, run four hours later, where he finished eighth (2:25.78).

Alex Bousfield showed a welcome return to form after several months out with a foot injury, to take fourth in the under-17s women’s 800m in a season’s best 2:35.53, just a second outside her best.

Olivia Edwards started the under-13s girls’ 1500m with a previous best time of 5:13.0, and faced very strong opposition from national-level runners Aimi Weightman (Shaftesbury) and Lily Tse (St Albans).

Showing great determination and much-improved tactical nous, Olivia stayed in contention with the leaders throughout the first two laps, at which point Weightman made a long run for home to finish a clear winner in 4:59.

She was followed home by Tse (5:06), while Olivia took third in a magnificent 5:08.47. Olivia’s time, a new PB by five seconds in only her second 1,500m race this year, is just one-and-a-half seconds outside the club’s under-13s girls’ record, which has lasted since 1992 and must now surely be under serious threat in the weeks ahead.

Olivia’s time also vaulted her into the top-20 in the UK for U13 girls this season.

In the same race, Summa-Jo Bradley came in under the six-minute mark (5.54.89), while Elliot Su and Emma Cresswell ran well in their first county championship to finish in 6.19.28 and 6.25.14 respectively.

Rory Bartlett-Tisdale put in a strong 5.53.77 to finish ninth in the under-13s boys’ race.

The next outing for the squad is the EYAL meet this Sunday on home turf at the club’s Jarman Park athletics track in Hemel Hempstead.

Other D&T news:

Dacorum & Tring’s ‘Ironwoman’ and endurance athlete extraordinaire Jan Strachan was pushing the limits once again over the weekend.

On Saturday Jan was in Surrey to take part in the North Downs Way 50 Ultra Run, organised by Centurion Running. It starts in Farnham and takes the hardcore entrants on the North Downs Way national trail via Puttenham, Guildford, Merstham and Oxted before reaching the finish at Knockholt Pound just outside Greater London. The 50-mile route is extremely tough and has 1700 metres of elevation for the runners to contend with. The first half is billed as more runnable than the latter, but is by no means flat and has sections of leg-sapping sandy terrain. At the 24-mile mark they reach stepping stones before facing the unenviable task of going up and then back down Box Hill.

Reigate Hill follows with Botley Hill another landmark to be conquered before reaching the finish.

The weather was ideal with a nice cool start, leading to bright sunshine.

The route offered some stunning scenery and spectacular views with Jan at times running through woods carpeted with bluebells and garlic.

These wooded areas also provided hazards in the form of tree roots which on three occasions caused Jan to fall, bruising her knees and elbows.

But Jan is made of stern stuff and didn’t let this deviate from her mission. After running a total of 51 miles, she reached the finish in a superb time of 11 hours 43 minutes. This major achievement comes only five weeks after clocking 11:50 for the sister event, the South Downs Way 50.

The Durrell Challenge on the island of Jersey is a timed 13km road race starting near the People’s Park, St Helier, and finishing at Jersey Zoo.

After the race the zoo opens to all for an opportunity to experience pop-up stalls showcasing the best Jersey has to offer. D&T’s Alison Richardson, having fairly recently made a return to running from injury, completed the hilly course in 1:18:44.

Alison said: “It was a hard but beautiful route on the island that I love. I’m really pleased with my time.”

The Balearic island of Mallorca was host to the Ironman 70.3 on Saturday – a 1900m swim, a 56m cycle and finishing with a half-marathon.

A 70.3 ironman triathlon is often referred to as ‘half-ironman’ but there is nothing half-measures about it, testing people’s multi-sport fitness and resolve. D&T’s Michelle Jackson successfully completed the swim in the harbour city of Alcudia, the cycle ride, which takes the athletes up the mountains of the island in a one-loop course, and the flat run of 2.5 loops along a wonderful beach.

Michelle said she enjoyed the swim, the bike leg played to her strengths as it involved climbing although she could have done without the head wind, and she survived the run which was in very hot temperatures. Her swim split was 41:19, bike 3:18 and the run 2.00.09. Including the two transitions, Michelle’s overall time was 6:10:42.

The Dulux Trade London Revolution is a weekend of cycling a 360-degree loop around London taking in iconic London landmarks, hidden green lanes, picturesque villages, testing climbs, incredible views and sweeping descents.

D&T’s Penny Wallduck and friends Nicky Henry and Clare Murray joined 2,500 riders to take on the two-day 185-mile ride.

The event started from Lee Valley in Edmonton, finishing on day one at Royal Windsor race course where 1,000 riders bedded down for the night in ready-prepared camps under the stars before heading back the 85 miles to Lee Valley on day two.

It claims to be “not just another sportive” as it’s taken the best elements of the worlds top one-day cycling events such as flawless timing, signage, two pit stops on each day to keep the riders refuelled and hydrated, safety provision and an exceptional route.

D&T’s Andy Guilder took part in the Pittaway Beverly 10km race in East Yorkshire. He continued his recent impressive streak, finished in a speedy 50:45.

The historic city of Bath was the venue for The Two Tunnels Hilly 10km and half-marathon on Sunday.

D&T’s Rebecca White tackled the half-marathon while team-mate Adrian Eeles took on the 10km.

Adrian was the first man in the 40-49 age group and completed the route in 50:28.

Rebecca had a more laid back approach to the half-marathon and made it a social occasion by befriending three other runners and running the entire distance with them.

The 13.1-mile route included lots of pretty rural trails with wild garlic and picture-book scenery as well as one huge hill. Rebecca ran with a smile on her face and enjoyed the experience so much she didn’t take any notice of her finishing time.