Garden City Runners set themselves up beautifully for 2024 with a flurry of late-2023 events.

The final outing for 10 of the Welwyn Garden City-based running club was the St Albans New Years Eve 10k.

The run, which utilised the Alban Way, was well attended and all entrants finished with a medal and a glass of Bucks Fizz to celebrate the new year.

Sidney Valentine, who finished in 56 minutes 48 seconds, said: "The conditions for the first and last half kilometre proved to be tricky and a little slippery under foot but I am happy to report all GCR runners made it through whilst staying on their feet."

Janet Bream finished third in the FV 60-69 category in a time of 58:45.

Martin Mitchell (41:02), Andrew Morgan (47:33) and Valentine were the first three men to finish from the club while Anna Lillie (52:52), Maggie Wright (55:47) and  Bream were the first three GCR females.

Carol Reid (58:41), Kirsty Hawkes (1:02:00), Kath Evans (1:06:26) and Valerie Levison (1:12:10) were the others in the squad.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Garden City Runners, including Peter Harvey (second from left) at the Buntingford 10k. Picture: GCRGarden City Runners, including Peter Harvey (second from left) at the Buntingford 10k. Picture: GCR (Image: Garden City Runners)

One day earlier the Buntingford 10 had more GCRs out on the road and it also brought two medals for Peter Harvey as the race incorporated the British Masters Athletics Championships as well as the Hertfordshire Veterans Road Running County Championship.

Eight took part in the event with Harvey the first of them home in a new masters' PB of 1:00:53, placing him 40th overall and second in the over-55 group.

The last time he won a national medal was in the early 1980s but for judo.

He was also third in the over 50s for a county bronze.

Chris Jones got round the hilly course in 1:02:44, good enough for 52nd position, while Neil Hume was a minute behind in 1:03:47 and 57th and Matt Baker 62nd, albeit claiming a PB of 1:04:15 too.

Chris Harbron (1:23:58), Anne Henson (1:31:58), Kath Evans (1:46:22) and Caroline O'Dwyer (1:54:33) were the others.

A themed run saw Danny Figg take on the Tolkien Trail Race.

He said: "While visiting family around Christmas I competed in the Tolkien Trail Race, an 11.1km trail run around Stonyhurst in Lancashire.

"It was through landscapes that inspired Tolkien and involved a riverside cross country section, steep steps through woodland and a short section on lanes.

"I came first in a time of 45:18."

A  total of 90 from the club also took part in a parkrun on Saturday.

Caroline Hale was second lady at Luton Wardown while Lucy Iles finished in the same position at Homewood, in Ottershaw, Surrey.

Thomas Buzzard was sixth overall at Westmill, out towards Ware, with Paul Guy was eighth at Sedgefield in County Durham. 

Further up the north-east coast, Michael Germany and Katharine Farrell ran at the spectacular Druridge Bay, Northumberland.

James Huish had the best result, winning at Great Dunmow.

At the home event at Panshanger, Chris Baylis was second overall with Daniel Pudner fourth and Jamie Rose seventh.

Felicity Wadley was seventh lady, Helen Stafford ninth and Katy Healy 10th.