It was a successful 2018 for Gade Valley Harriers with members putting in some fine performances and achieving great goals, with personal bests (PBs) aplenty and many competing in their first marathons and half-marathons, as well as club records being smashed throughout the year. The club also picking up team prizes at various races.
Into 2019, the Harriers are looking to build on all that as members aim to continue their personal progression. The club hope to see more records broken, pick up more team awards, and cement their place in the Chiltern Cross-Country League Division One.
The year started with a bang at Gadebridge’s ParkRun, with a total of 16 Harriers taking on the undulating, off-road 5km course on Saturday morning. Four of them finished in the top-ten, and four picked up course PBs (CPBs) in extremely cold conditions, with a biting wind blowing across the park.
Second-placed Phil Robbins was the first Harrier to collect a CPB, in a time of 19:38, with Hamish Shaw completing the free, timed, non-competitive event for the first time and crossing the line fourth in 20:02.
Dylan Wendleken (20:26) also grabbed a CPB with an eighth-placed finish, ahead of Antony Beamish (20:33), who was ninth.
Ross Deacon (20:55), Bill Hawes (21:15), Gareth Tucker (22:17) and Phil Mercer (22:27), who nabbed a CPB, all finished in the top-20.
Steve Newing (22:55), Andy Cook (23:02) and David Wood (23:04) locked horns and approached the final hill within a few seconds of each other. After a race to the line, the trio finished in consecutive places, ahead of Sian Shaw, who was the first overall female, in a CPB of 23:32.
Rob Potton (28:33), Jane Percival (29:36), Jaqui Sampson (30:07), Nick Crowther (31:09) and Peter Tucker (35:40) completed the Harriers’ line-up.
On Sunday, Dave Goodman ensured he was the first Harrier to complete a race and travelled to Brixton, south London, to take part in the Brockwell Park 10k.
He completed the three-lap course around the park, which boasts views of the City of London, in 42:18.
Meanwhile, a handful of Harriers had seen 2018 out with a New Year’s Eve race from St John’s Church in Boxmoor.
The 10km race took runners into the countryside and pushed them hard as they attacked the hills leading towards Potten End, before making their way back through Chaulden and into Boxmoor.
Laura Sharma-Smith was the first Harrier to cross the line, racing through in 47:19, ahead of Andy Bishop (50:37). Vicky Crawley-Wise (52:31), Leona Flaherty (56:08), Gina Oliver and Clare Cavenagh-Mainwaring (both 59:32), to round off a fine year for themselves and the club.