Firstly, apologies for the somewhat late appearance of this month's Log (no excuses beyond making the most of the sunshine, and having a slightly fuller social calendar than usual I'm afraid!).
Well, it's been another busy month for the club, with, aside from the ever present Parkrun, members competing in three marathons (two 'North of the Border'), a half marathon, two five milers, three 10ks., and an aquathlon, as well as joining Watford Joggers to explore Cassiobury Park and Whippendell Woods. Pride of place in this round-up however has to go to the eighteenth running of the club's annual 10k. (the fourth as Run Wembley). Once again, a massive "Thank You" to to all members, family and friends who volunteered their services to put on another excellent event. A great effort all round, but I'd like particularly to thank Bev. for again (under additional pressure this year) expertly co-ordinating proceedings at HQ, Lise, Tony, Mike, David and Gavin for the 'early set up', Trish for the results, Mark for sourcing the goody bags etc., Malcolm and Lisa from Serpentine for the timekeeping/recording (assisted by Liz), Tony and Dave for running the bar (the latter also helping out with one or two 'electrical problems'), Victor for designing and helping source the T-shirts, and Metros (34), QPH (14), and Hillingdon (11) for supporting us in numbers (Metros providing over a quarter of the 10k. field once again). Last (but certainly not least) it's 'Hats Off' to Louis for another outstanding job in pulling the whole show together in his usual inimitable style. Cheers Louis! As ever, runner feedback was overwhelmingly positive with the encouragement from marshals particularly noted. Inevitably, one or two problems were highlighted (brought up at our internal de-brief the following Tuesday) and will be addressed to make 'Run 19' (hopefully) even bigger and better!
As for the event itself, once again our luck held with the weather, and, for the eighth time we broke the 100 barrier for the 10k., 112 runners crossing the finishing line this year, up from 98 in 2016. Numbers stayed steady for the 5k., 64 completing the course this time round as opposed to 67 last year, whilst 16 took part in the 1k. Fun Run (up 50%). A good day for QPH with last year's winner, Johnny Suttle (36.16) coming in as runner up with sam Sutherland (37.54) third, however the winner, Stuart Sharp (Holmfirth Harriers) left both trailing in his wake clocking an impressive 34.05. For the women, Joanna Braine (QPH again!) led the field home in 45.31 just ahead of Zoe Dobbs (Hillingdon). Adewale meanwhile brought the family along for a day out, Abigail running in the 5k., and Angela in the Fun Run (both raising funds for St.Luke's), whilst Mark and Alistair kept the club colours flying in the 5k. with Geraldine acting as tail-runner. Good also to see a few familiar faces back for the day (Luke, Mushtak and Jim), while I'm pleased to say a good crowd stayed behind to enjoy a , this year, 'unplugged' session from regular 'guests' "The Soul Agents" who again went down well. Around £240 was taken behind the bar, whilst proceeds from the raffle, plus tea/coffee sales ( thanks to Jane and Ellen) once again raised well over three figures for club funds. An early report in one of the local paoers meanwhile indicated St.Luke's were expecting to raise in the region of £8,000 from the event.
Staying on the home front, 16 runners lined up for our second handicap race on the 16th, with Liz leading the field home with Angela and David close on her heels. Means that after two races, Mr. Heathcote (47 points) is currently in pole position, with Angela (41) second, and Victor (39) third.
Moving on to 'foreign fields', Bank Holiday Monday saw a hectic start to the month for the club with Peter and Liz taking on the marathon and half marathon, respectively, at Milton Keynes whilst Victor, John and the two Brians headed out to Cassiobury Park for the Watford 10k. and Tony, Rita and I hied forth to Chesham for the Pednor 5. Two days later Tony and Victor were back on familiar ground for the first race in this year's Wimbledon Trail Run series (Tony finishing first MV60), whilst eight of us took up Watford Joggers' kind invitation to join them for their "Bluebell Run", a very enjoyable experience. Could get used to having an HQ like the West Herts. Sports & Social Club! Anyway, moving on, the 13th saw Angela South of the river for the Southwark 10k. before Tony headed up to Scotland for the inaugural Stirling Marathon on the 21st whilst Louis and Ellen took on the slightly less strenuous Willesden Aquathlon (400m swim/5k. run), and Victor 'moonlighted' for QPH's team in the Green Belt Relay (Harriers finishing a creditable 9th). The month then ended in another flurry of activity around the second Bank Holiday weekend, Tony, Victor, Geraldine, Kay and I doing a spot of 'speedwork' in the Westminster Mile on the 28th, whiste Liz completed the second leg of our Scottish marathon double in Edinburgh, before Yvonne and Geraldine took to the streets of Westminster again on the 29th for the Vitality London 10,000.
Once again club records were 'under assault' with no fewer than six new marks being set over the month, Tony leading the way with three (MV60 5 mile, marathon and mile) with Liz (FV50 marathon), Victor (MV35 mile), and Geraldine (FV40 mile) chipping in for good measure. Liz and Tony had meanwhile kindly put up prizes of 'Scottish goodies' for the members who could most accurately forecast their combined marathon finishing time (8.33.52) with Kay and Bev closest to the mark.
As for Parkrun, May proved a relatively quiet month with no particularly 'exotic' venues added to our roster, though we did pass the 1,700 mark for combined runs, and, for the record, Gladstone Park saw an average turnout of 166 for the month's four runs.
Well, think that about covers it for this month.
Next Month: the first two Summer League fixtures, the St.Albans Half Marathon, and much, much more.......
See there was a world record 386,050 applications for the 2018 London Marathon ballot with 327,516 from the UK (up 29% on 2017) so fingers-crossed we get someone in! And whilst I'm thinking of the Marathon, I see Victoria Carter (TVH) who's known to a few of you posted a time of 3.26.53 for this year's London to pick up a "fastest Nun" certificate from the Guinness Book of Records (shame we never managed to get her to sign on!).
Staying with 26.2 miles, the jury is still out on whether or not a sub two hour marathon is possible, Eliud Kipchoge's 'time trial' at Monza on May 6th producing a tantalising time of 2.00.25!