Springing into action

Springing into action: Our Women’s 10K Road Championship at Frank Harmer 10k, Brockwell Park.

Now that winter, with its frost, wind, icy rain and character-building cross-country racing, is safely behind us, let us welcome spring: cut lawns, softer shoes, lighter steps – and the start of the road-running season.

So we spring into action with the Frank Harmer Memorial 10K. An important race hosted by the club and open to all runners, but also Herne Hill Harriers’ women’s 10K road championship.

A sunny day with a keen wind sees us gather in Brockwell Park, excited by the quality of the light and not quite sure whether to keep our gloves on or off. Take them off, I say.

We have the fun run at 10:00; which is fun (but also deadly serious as there are Dennis the Menace badges at stake – phew, there are enough for everyone). 10:30 sees the start of the race.

All our Herne Hill Women are looking strong on lap one. Lap two and things are hotting up, gloves are being removed and thrown at unsuspecting marshals. (Next time this marshal will bring her riot gear.) Lap three brings the glorious finale: a last dash up a short incline sees the runners to the finish where they are welcomed with Dennis the Menace badges, bananas and more.

Nikki Sturzaker was first home with a time of 42:53. Close behind was Natalie Zara in second place with 43:26. The third Herne Hill woman, with a time of 47:46, was Sarah Guest, making up the winning women’s team. There was a PB for Mary Setyabule – who ran her own, longer course by including an additional circuit of the pond – with 49:38. Carmel Baxter-Wilks ran her first race as a club member and was rewarded with an encouraging 54:39. And Sarah Allen kicked off her road season in good form with 54:59. Congratulations to all: the sun was out but the course was windy and hilly. After the race, with bananas eaten and badges affixed, all gloves went very definitely back on.

Many of you may not know there is a splendid trophy for the winner of our women’s 10K road championship. Nikki now does: she can take it home, quaff champagne from it, keep her socks in it or use it as a gong to announce the start of dinner. And she will need polish, as it is very, very shiny. So next year, save yourselves a trip to Ikea: you don’t need more glassware, drawer dividers or dining accessories; you need a big shiny, multi-purpose trophy, won at our very own Frank Harmer Memorial 10K.

Hayley Cook