The new year began with a championship tilt for Garden City Runners - and ended with some well-earned medals in the soaking wet conditions.

The Herts Cross-country Senior Championships took place at Cassiobury Park in Watford on Sunday, with nine from the Welwyn Garden City club making the journey.

The route took the athletes through fields, trails, paths and boggy woods, all of which had been churned up by younger runners who raced before the senior events.

That second the GCR contingent did themselves proud.

Lizzie Parry was first home for the women, running one lap of the 8k course in 30 minutes 11 seconds to finish third overall.

Juliet Vine was fifth in 30:37, Martha Hall 18th in 33:59 and Hannah Frank the fourth of their scoring team in a time of 38:17.

Those efforts were good enough to give the GCR women the bronze medal in the team competition.

Rebecca Barden also ran for GCR, clocking 40:50.

The rain had somehow intensified when the men set off on their two-lap 11k course.

Chris Baylis led the men home in 46:34 ahead of Dom Thomas (50:20), Steve Ellerd-Elliott, who ran 51:57 despite missing the start, and Nick Summers in 53:05.

A spokesman for the club said: "A huge thank you to all the marshals and volunteers who stood out for hours in the pouring rain to see us all safely round the course, especially our GCR marshals Sean Bowen and Jacqueline McCallum."

This week's parkrun action had club members travelling far and wide.


There was a win at Shipley Country for Rebecca Cullers, in a time of 24:54, while Alex Faulkner was second lady at Canons Park in 25:41, 19 seconds ahead of Katherine Farrell in fourth.

Jamie Rose made up the GCR trio at this venue finishing with a time of 21:17 and sixth place overall.

At Panshanger Chris Eland was first GCR and sixth overall in exactly 20 minutes while at Dunstable Downs Andrew Holt was second in 22:42.

Samantha Hastie ran her 50th parkrun at Great Yarmouth North Beach, described as the hardest in the UK, with the help of three team-mates.

The course consists of a mix of shingle and sand with the wind whipping the sand about causing the most problems.