Winter off to flying start

Hermitage Harriers were back to tearing up the tarmac in style on Sunday in the first fixture of the 2015 winter road racing league. Barrow 6 certainly drew in a crowd, with 667 runners passing over the starting mat including 43 Harriers - 13 ladies and 30 men.

The men clocked up some impressive performances with 10 male Harriers finishing within the top 50. First Harrier home was Tony Woodward, who knocked 2 ½ minutes off his previous 6 mile PB to finish in 4th position overall with a time of 32.31. He was soon joined by team-mate Matt Adcock who crossed the line 5th in a time of 33.22. Third Harrier back was Jason Williams in 34.43 and 17th position overall. Jason was also the first veteran over the line for the team.

Equally impressive performances were delivered by the Hermitage ladies, five of whom finished inside the top 40. Mia Weston, following a string of successes at the winter cross country fixtures, showed off her race skills on the road finishing as 19th lady in 42.47. She was quickly joined by fellow Harrier Joanne Matthews who, after a two year break from league racing, finished as 21st lady in 43.00 and was first veteran 40-44 lady over the line. Zoe Sewter completed the top three female Harriers in a time of 43.10 and was 26th lady home.

A notable performance came from Darryl Johnson who ran to heart-rate for the first three miles as part of his London Marathon training, and then raced the second three miles, passing 60 runners and finishing in a time of 56.15. Katie Smith, Zoe Sewter and Ryan Tweed also delivered impressive runs, all knocking significant time off their previous 6 mile PBs whilst Craig Hinds set a fixture PB over the new Barrow course. In addition, Louise Mason and Judith Brand ran an excellent race, with Louise finishing third in the vet 50-54 ladies category and Judith finishing first in her age category as well as clocking up a 6 mile PB. Two Harriers, Tracey Richardson-Lyne and Peter Dargue, represented the club for the first time in a road league fixture and were both cheered home by many team-mates, friends and family on the finishing half mile stretch.

Club chairman Andy Buck said after the race "I am very proud of the awesome performances by everyone racing at the first Winter LRRL race... What an incredible race!" The club will now turn its attention to the second fixture of the league, Markfield 10k, on Sunday 8th February and the next XC fixture the following weekend.