Thousands take part in annual Herts 10K

A SELL-out pack of 3,000 runners swarmed through Rothamsted Park on Sunday for the annual Herts 10K in aid of Grove House Hospice.

An overwhelming demand for places meant all spaces were sold in advance of race day and there was a full waiting list of hopefuls.

Many of the runners were taking part in a 10K run for the first time, and Sunday was the culmination of months of training. They included Sarah Toll from Hemel Hempstead who was the lucky winner of a Herts Ad competition to train for the event alongside personal instructor Ben Jackson.

She said: “I wouldn’t have been running at all if it weren’t for the services that Grove House provides, as with their help I am recovering from cancer and wrestling the demon side-effects that come from the treatment. With Ben’s help and my own determination to succeed, I’ve managed to take a huge step on the journey back to full health and complete my first 10K run in just over an hour. It was, muddy, crowded, noisy and one of the toughest things I have ever done, but you know what, it was a privilege. I gave everything I had to be here today and I’ve had a fantastic time.”

The official countdown for the race was led by local footballer, Simon Martin who is one of the leading players at St Albans City Football Club.

The winner of the men’s race, Matthew Salt, finished in just under 33 minutes, while first across the line in the women’s race was Georgia Dench from Harpenden with an impressive time of 40 minutes and 40 seconds. Georgia, who also won last year, said after the event: “This is the best organised and friendliest race I take part in, the atmosphere is amazing.”

Local running club Harpenden Aros had success on the day when Hannah Turner took third place in the women’s race.

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The trophies were presented to the first three men and the first three women by Lawrence Levy, founder of the Herts 10K, St Albans City player Nick Jupp, and Harpenden Mayor Cllr Nicola Linacre.

Cllr Linacre said: “There were so many runners of all ages and abilities and everyone there contributed to a fantastic event. The word hospice can sometimes be a bit frightening, but for those of us who have lived through cancer we know it can be a place of comfort and much needed support, so it was heartening to see so many there to give their time and raise much needed funds for Grove House. I was delighted at the event and I hope the 10K event continues to go from strength to strength.”

The elite runners were joined by others aiming to set their personal best times as well as those with a more light-hearted approach who came dressed as babies, tigers or bananas and even a Morph suit!

Lawrence Levy said: “The turnout today has been absolutely amazing. The people of St Albans and Harpenden can be very proud of the Herts 10K, as no other local charity can boast a fundraising event on this scale. The support from people both locally and further afield is humbling. I’ve seen nothing but happy faces today - even from those with tired legs! Our challenge now is to secure as much sponsorship as we can to help the hospice reach their annual fundraising target of �6.5 million.”

On the day it was estimated that just over �85,000 had been raised from the event with organisers hoping this figure will increase over the coming weeks to a total closer to �150,000.