Worksop Harriers enjoy a great start to March - including runners at Retford Half Marathon

It's been a great start to March for the Worksop Harriers with cross-country, muddy ultras and some great road racing on the opening weekend, writes John Harrison.

Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 8:00 am

Saturday saw the return of the Waterways 30, a ultra-distance event around Misterton, Clayworth, Wheatley and normally back via Gainsborough.

Despite being relatively flat for a 30 miler it can be notoriously challenging due to conditions underfoot being particularly sloppy, slippy and full of mud given the time of year it is run.

This year brought a whole new grim challenge as yet more on-the-day rain to follow the recent storm weather meant that an in-race diversion was needed as the Trent burst its banks.

Henry Brady and Chris Johnson completed as a duo in 4:55:35, followed by Stuart McCluskie (5:33:36) and Andy Ledger whilst Shaun Chadwick got another Ultra in following his Welsh Adventure with a 7:22:18.

On to Sunday Retford Half Marathon returned for 2022, this year incorporating the Nottinghamshire county championships and some incredible performances from the Harriers.

Starting from Retford Oaks Academy, the run heads out towards Barnby Moor, out-and-back along Retford Road before a gradual climb back up Old London Road for that difficult last third of the half with a fast finish downhill back to Retford.

The race saw 14 Harrier’s run, led home by Tom Shaw in 1:13:00, climbing several paces in the last two miles to take a county bronze medal.

Tom was followed by Matt Daly (1:23:18; 1:30 PB), Tom McLaren (1:29:06 and a huge PB of nearly 6:00) and Stephen Carr (1:32:00 with a great PB of 2:00 despite recently joining the Veteran Category). First lady for the Harriers was Charlotte Jones with not only an excellent PB of nearly 4:00 in 1:32:43 but also a county bronze medal joined at the finish line by Kerry Saville with a real gritty performance and 10 minute PB in 1:32:49.

Dave Clubb and Jordan Shipman made their debut half’s for the club in 1:42:33 and 1:52:03 respectively.

Kate Thorneloe is looking in great shape for the upcoming long distance Dukeries 40 with a PB and well under her 2:00 target with a 1:53:05. Biggest PB of the day went to Rachel Silcock in 1:53:52. who made an excellent time due, sharing the work with Tanja Maric in 1:53:56. Tony Gray seized on recent hard work to grab a 6 minute PB in 1:54:28 whilst Natalie Cunningham made a road half debut in an excellent 1:55:25 whilst Sally Hamer returned after some recent niggles to record a PB of 1:58:23. Andrew Creegan also made a debut in 2:02:10 whilst John Charles rounded out the Harriers team with 2:06:54.

Whilst most of the attention was on Retford, a solo Harrier Clair Raines raced the Oulton Park 10km. A double lapper of the racecourse that probably isn’t quite as flat as you picture. Claire completed the 10k in 53:13

It wasn’t all senior-based fun this weekend though as the Juniors were back at Berry Hill Mansfield for the final Mini League Match. It’s been a great series for the juniors with lots of attendance and a wide variety of competitions from the 1,500 m course for U11 boys and girls up to 4,000 m for U15 boys. There were some great performances from all the young athletes and even room for another medal for the Worksop Harriers as after 5 events Felix Woods finished 2nd overall to bag a Silver Medal for the series! It was also the last season competing in mini-league for Ethan Ellery, Chris Williams and Euan Carroll so we look forward to seeing them step-up to the next age category and level of competition.

Ethan will be back next week however for probably the final XC action till next winter as he is joined by Tom Shaw as both will represent Nottinghamshire County in their respective categories in the inter-counties competition at Prestwold Hall next Saturday, and with another three boys and girls in the reserve list there’s certainly potential for a few more to join what ensures to be really great experience of racing at a great standard event.