The Berkhamsted Half & other Races
Berkhamsted Half Marathon and 5-mile Fun Run
By Tom Webster
An event with a scenic route through the Hertfordshire countryside? A few ‘undulations’ to test your pacing and training? A direct train link to LB? It’s easy to see why the Berko Half and 5-Mile Fun Run played host to a strong group of red-and-black-clad runners on Sunday 6 March.
The 39th running of this well-organised event saw 18 LFRs crossing the start line, taking on both the half and the perhaps deceptively named 5-mile ‘Fun Run’.
First off for the half were Adam Carter, Anne Graeff, Dawn Kennedy, Dougie, Emily McClelland, Kevin Hare, Martin Addrison, Matt Gilbert, Matthew Ma, Niki Casey, Steve Ellerton and Will Langdon. Wayne Walker took advantage of the late-registration to sign up not long before the starter’s klaxon sounded.
Half an hour later the 5 milers set off, with Jim Buttleman, Lindsey Rigby, Sandra Dunsterville, and Tom Webster lining up alongside Janet Langdon, with Will’s brother Joe joining in to make the event a true Langdon family affair.
Tackling the hills
Both distances allow for a short warm up down Berko’s high street before the elevation starts to ramp up when you’ve got a few miles in your legs.
It being March, the weather could have been anything from blazing sunshine to blizzards, but runners were treated to brisk and slightly breezy conditions. It was clear that at least some of the advice from the recent England Athletics coaching sessions had been taken in, as shown by Coach Matt Gilbert’s enthusiastic participation in the official event warm up and Martin Addrison’s dedication to keeping his extra layers on until as close to the start as possible.
Berkhamsted’s course is, thankfully, proof that what goes up must come down and the downward-sloping final mile saw some storming finishes from the Halvers and 5-milers alike, with Matt Ma and Jim Buttleman the first LFRs to cross the line in each event respectively
Beating their best
There were strong performances all round, but special kudos goes to anyone setting a personal best on a hilly course like this. Kevin Hare was one of those, with a PB of 1h 35m 55secs in the half, while Janet Langdon improved on her last performance in the 5 miler two years ago. A special tip of an LFR cap to Adam Carter, though, who is in scintillating form and took a full four minutes off his half-marathon PB. No mean feat given the elevation!
Finally, thanks go to those LFR friends and family that came to cheer the runners round the final bend, with a particular nod to canal-runners Andy Heale, Gavin Prechner, Ian Bisby, Sagar Kharab and Will Ellis.
By Emily McClelland
Whilst many LFR's were in Berko, Thom Smith was in Paris, which he describes as his second home. Thom said the course is relatively flat, perhaps we need an LFR trip next year? Thom ran a great race running 1hr32, which is fab time, though he said it wasn't a PB... what is your PB Thom?! However, he was really happy with the result as he only properly resumed running this year following a back injury from skiing. He's a relatively new member to LFR and we've enjoyed welcoming him on club runs over the last few months. We love the "pain" photo of Thom below taken just after he crossed the finish line!
Back on the 27th February Sally Dickinson was in Norfolk and she ran the Hunny Bell Cross Country. This was approximately 5 miles of what Sally described as "never ending hills"! We thought Norfolk was meant to be flat?! Sally said it was a lovely friendly event serving tea and cake afterwards for a local charity "Break". Despite the hilly terrain, Sally came 3rd in her age category... Well Done! It looks as if the sunshine was shining too looking at her medal selfie. On the same weekend Andy Griggs ran the Wokingham Half marathon, Andy didn't feel prepared for the race, but he still completed it. Well done Andy, those miles still count. Also running a half distance was Dan Lovelock who ran Active Training World's Welwyn Garden City Half under blue, blue skies. ATW are great events always providing free race photos and great medals. We love Dan's smiling race snap.