Hermitage Continue Success

Wednesday 5th August saw the latest fixture of the Leicestershire Road Racing League get underway. The Joy Cann 5, hosted by Huncote Harriers, is always a popular event in the racing calendar and this year was no exception. 37 Hermitage Harriers made the journey to race around the fast course - with great success.

The men’s team again delivered a solid performance with all of the A Team placing within the top 40 finishers. First home for the club was Jason Williams, who claimed second place overall as well as first vet40 with his impressive time of 27 minutes and 1 second. He was quickly joined by teammate Tony Woodward who finished 4th overall in 27:22. The next three finishers all crossed the line within one minute of each other: Gavin McDermott crossed the line in 29:05 to claim 19th position and 3rd place in the vet45 category, fellow Harrier Ryan Twigg was hot on his heels when he crossed the line in 29:33 and 25th position and Paul Gregory ran a fantastic race to finish in 28th with his time of 29:44. The final three places on the men’s A team were also claimed with just seconds between them. Shaun Coulton finished in 34th place and 2nd in the vet50 category with his time of exactly 30 minutes. Coulton was joined just 4 seconds later by men’s team captain Darren Weston who placed 35th in 30:04. Darren Wilson completed the men’s team when he finished the race in 38th with his time of 30:14, a time doubly impressive since it was hot on the heels of the Dovedale Dipper, at which Wilson claimed first place in the vet challenge.

Not to be outdone, the ladies also produced an impressive performance. Mia Weston was first lady over the finishing line in an outstanding time of 35:19 and claimed top spot in the ladies’ A team. Bonita Robinson and Hannah Wheeler took the next two places in the team with times of 36:04 and 36:52 respectively. The final A team spot went to Zoe Sewter who clocked up a fantastic time of 36:54 just three days after completing a challenging 26 mile race! Katie Wright claimed first place in the ladies B team with her time of 38:34 and bagged herself a new 5 mile PB too! Next over the finishing mat was Kate Scott who took part in her first league race for 12 months and clocked up an impressive time of 39:42. The final two spaces went to Kate Reeves, who also made a return to racing after a short break, and Judith Brand, who claimed second place in the female vet 60 category, with their times of 40:21 and 41:25.

As always, a number of successes were celebrated club-wide. Hermitage introduced some of their newer members to the joy of racing in silver with Rich Watson, Nerissa Baseley and Jane Plackett all taking part in their first league fixture. Baseley and Watson both set new 5 mile PBs at the race too - 51:11 and 43:01 respectively. They were not the only ones to smash their 5 mile previous bests: Ian Waterfall shaved more than 5 minutes off his time to set a new PB of 41:01, Carla Johnson lowered her PB to 42:54, 42:55 became the new 5 mile PB for Kelly Garrigan-Cooper and Charlotte Pollard smashed her previous best with a new time of 46:08. Darryl Johnson and Debbi Payne also set new course bests. Johnson delivered an impressive 43:55, despite being in recovery from a foot injury and Payne took a minute and half off her course time to finish in 49:11.

Further afield, club member Ben Shannon took part in a European Championship Final Race which was a 72 hour, 450km, non-stop expedition race. The event was a team effort and took place in the Irish mountains. Ben’s team, Nav4Adventure, took on a total of 40km of running, 40km of kayaking, 7km of orienteering, 220km of biking, a 40 metre abseil, a mountain trek and many sections of swimming across various lengths of open water - all in exceptionally challenging terrain. The team had to cope with minimal sleep, cold conditions, timed check points and managing the food intake needed to keep their bodies functioning at a high level. Ben said there were times during the race when he felt 'hypothermic' but that flying down one of the fastest down-hills he has ever encountered without using his brakes was 'incredible'. Despite a mechanical issue with one of the team’s bike chains in the final stages, the team managed to finish in 35th position overall and are now looking for their next extreme challenge