Garden City Runners making hay while the sun shines as they stretch their legs again

Garden City Runners' Dave Heal

Garden City Runners' Dave Heal will have added another medal to his collection after completing his 75th marathon. - Credit: GCR

Garden City Runners took full advantage of the beautiful weather and return of races to fill their boots.

David Heal's incredible sequence of achievements continued with his 75th marathon.

Run over an eight-lap circuit along the river at Walton on Thames, he finished in five hours 14 minutes 36 seconds in what he described as a back to normal run in perfect conditions.

He said: "I felt good. My previous marathon was a punishing slow, freezing cold one at Staines-upon-Thames after four months of lockdown and no long distance running.

"I'm happy to be back to my usual pace and determination in such a short time.”

A slightly further ultra marathon captured the attention of Becca Hayden and Ben Robinson as they travelled to the Surrey hills for the Hurtwood 50k.

With a total of 4,350ft of climbing from Dorking, the route followed the Greensand Way into the forested hills, taking in Leith Hill, Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill as it followed the woodland trails.

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Robinson, who came 119th in 5:59:00, said: "I went wrong at mile five and added another hilly mile by the time I had amended my mistake.

"There were brutal hills in places, walked a fair bit towards the end but ran the downhills hard. I saw at least one runner take a nasty fall and nearly went over myself.”

Hayden added: "I've never had to run a race with a first-aid kit, foil blanket and mask but the Hurtwood is such an amazing event.

"The whole experience from start to finish was so well planned with social distancing and organisation at the aid stations impeccable.

"Every runner was encouraging to each other, ensuring others were ok on the tough route and we were all in it for the challenge as much as the enjoyment.

"It was emotional crossing the finish line, my first race since lockdown, with people clapping as you finished."

She finished in 5:17:00 and was seventh lady overall.

Closer to home the final cross-cross country of the season took place at Cromer Hyde over a two-lap undulating course which, thanks to the lack of rain, was hard under foot and rutted in places.

Hannah Frank was the first lady in a time of 37:14 and Bruce Judge the quickest of the men in 29:16.

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