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Monday 29th November 2021

Christopher Westcott was delighted to earn another Personal Best in the Hatfield 5 on Sunday. Finishing in 12th position overall (2nd V40+), his time was 27:37 for a 39 second improvement over his previous fastest at the distance. It was a cold but beautiful morning for a run on a fast, flat course. The race also doubled as the County Senior Championship, with Christopher 7th fastest.

Congratulations to Dani Mainstone (newcomer to officiating) and Helen Pickard (unsung hero) who were both winners at the England Athletics Eastern Regional Awards this evening. Both very well deserved for their hardwork over the last year. Dani officiated at all of our matches home and away over the summer , often leading field teams. Helen has managed the new booking system, kept track and trace records, welcomed people to sessions, looked after the waitng list, dealt with 100s of emails from members and much , much more without which we would not have been able to return to trainng post Covid.

Without volunteers like Dani and Helen we would not have a club so thank you to both of you from everyone at SNHAC!

Monday 15th November 2021

Saturday saw the second race in the Chiltern Cross Country league. More runners took part as it was a UK Athletics Cross Challenge event, which added a further competitive edge to proceedings. The weather was overcast; no rain fell so conditions were good for athletes and spectators alike. The course was quite technical with some steep sections.

After two rounds our Juniors stand in fourth place overall in Division 2, an excellent position. 28 athletes ran for Stevenage. Our new U11s performed superbly: notably Hazel Spitzer coming 8th in the girls’ mob match and Oliver Rose 9th in the boys’ mob match. James Cook ran too (42nd).

6 took part in the U13 boys’ race: Aubrey Murray was the first SNHAC runner home claiming an excellent 4th place; followed by Evan Robson (7th), Patrick Thorne (10th), Harry Thompson (11th), Matthew Thompson (12th) and Harry Price (18th).

4 ran in the U13 girls’ race: Lauren Griffin was the first Stevenage runner in 7th place; Jane Griffin came 11th, Gracie Hall-Watts came 12th and Hannah Cook was 17th.

5 ran in the U15 boys’ race: Calum Fairey secured an impressive 2nd place; followed by Jack Thompson (13th), Thomas Redfern (14th), William Toffa (21st) and Harrison Lund (25th).

4 ran in the U15 girls’ race: Abigail Manson also came 2nd; then came Charlotte Livingston (15th), Imogen Rose (20th) and Lilly Ash (21st).

Will Galliford and Isaac Whitten ran in the U17 Junior Men’s race, with Will coming in a strong 9th and Isaac was 12th. Amelie Hobbs flew the flag for Stevenage in the U17 Women’s race coming 13th.

Our Senior Men ran in a hotly contested race with almost 550 mob runners. Adam Searle came 51st, a great result, with Club Coach Bob Whitten in 179th place. Rebecca Pickard was our lone representative in the Senior Women’s race, coming a creditable 64th.

It was a good day for Stevenage and North Herts. Well done to all, particularly to those who were running for the first time. See you at the next race in Luton!

Thursday 21st October 2021

The annual audit of all the Track and Field equipment provided by Stevenage Borough Council took place on Wednesday morning. This audit happens every Autumn and is a joint effort between the Club and SBC. It ensures that competition equipment for any match under UKA rules is top quality. Damaged equipment is discarded and that which is no longer top quality for competition is moved to the container which houses training equipment for use by the Club or the Schools for their matches. The last audit was done in November 2019. Everything has to be taken out of the containers, checked and if necessary weighed and replaced. The weather stayed dry, the sun shone and five SNHAC volunteers and a member of SBC’s staff set to work at 9.30am. Mick and Caroline Shortland , Steve Feely, Peter Keefe and Norma Harris along with Max from SBC emptied containers, counted, weighed and checked over 500 items of equipment. By twelve o’clock the task was completed, the lists updated and the job done for another year. Steve has taken home some hammers to put news swivels and wires on and some javelins which require new grips have been temporarily retired to SBCs compound. Fully collated lists with recommendations about addition equipment needed will be with SBC by the end of October.

Sunday 17th October 2021

Twenty-Five Stevenage and North Herts members made the journey to Shotover Hill, Oxford on Saturday for the first Cross Country League Match since December 2019. The journey in pouring rain had team members a bit worried, but by the time the races started it was a beautiful day and quite hot. The Chiltern League is even bigger now as a result of other cross-country leagues being unable to run post-COVID. 21 Clubs were taking part; this is serious competition.

It was great to see so many new Club members taking part. It was quite an intimidating occasion, most had not experienced anything like this and many hadn’t even run a cross-country race before. The races are all far longer than anything on the track, the course was demanding, taking most age groups into the Chiltern Hills and up one particularly long, steep hill – not for the faint hearted! Seniors got the opportunity to scale it twice!

The team did particularly well and there were some fine individual performances. A special mention must go to Hazel Spitzer U11 in her first competition who completed the 2km course in 7.46mins to finish 3rd. U11 Oliver Rose was 5th in the boy’s race with team mate James Cook 23rd.

Competing for the seniors in Division 2, Adam Searle finished the 8.9km in 37.15 mins for 33rd while M40 Bob Whitten, returning from injury was 134th. The Ladies race was over 5.8km and in spite of being ill earlier in the week Alex Gates finished in 16th in 26.43 mins. U17 Boys William Galliford and Isaac Whitten finished their 5.8km course in 9th and 12th positions in 21.42mins and 22.28 mins respectively. U17 Amelie Hobbs finished 11th in 26.22 mins over the 5km course. The U15’s ran over 4km. Top finishing was Jack Thompson in 13th 15.43 mins with Thomas Redfern 21st and Harrison Lund 25th. The team finished 6th. Abigail Manson led the girls home finishing 4th in 16.26mins, Charlotte Livingstone was 19th, Lilly Ash 21st, Alessia Payton 22nd, Imogen Rose 23rd and Molly Allen 25th. The team finished 4th. U13 Jake Trevelyan finished the 3km course in 10th with Matthew Thompson 11th – times 12.55 and 12.57mins respectively. Esme Searle led the U13 girls home in 6th 13.15mins with Lauren Griffin 7th 13.33mins, Jane Griffin 14th, Gracie Hall-Watts 15th and Hannah Cook 17th. The team finished 4th.

It was pleasing to see how everyone gave their best, supported each other and seemed to enjoy it (maybe after the event). It was a great experience and if this is how the team started the season, then with more training under their belts we should expect great things from this talented group of athletes.

Photos by Barry Cornelius ( https://www.oxonraces.com/photos/2021-10-16-oxford/ )