Helpston Harriers far too quick for the rest of the field

The high-flying Helpston Harriers teams.
The high-flying Helpston Harriers teams.
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Star-studded local distance running club Helpston Harriers hit the heady heights in the Green Wheel Relay on Sunday.

The new local club won half of the six category prizes as their three teams were easily the fastest finishers in the competition.

The Nene Valley Harriers team that ran in the Green Wheel Relay. From the left they are Paul Houlden, Sean Beard, Barry Warne, Nicky Morgan, David Marr and Abi Schofield.

The Nene Valley Harriers team that ran in the Green Wheel Relay. From the left they are Paul Houlden, Sean Beard, Barry Warne, Nicky Morgan, David Marr and Abi Schofield.

The Helpston men’s senior team enjoyed the honour of being the fastest team on the seven-stage course, completing the 49 miles in a time of 4:49.48.

Next came their men’s veterans team, who went round in 4:53.16, followed by their mixed team, who came home in 4:57.30.

Such was the dominance of Helpston that the fourth fastest team Fenland Running Club were 16 and a half minutes behind the slowest of the Helpston teams, finishing in 5:11.07.

Ben Heron, Paul Vernon and John Herbert, all of Helpston, were the fastest three athletes on the opening 8.3-mile stage from The Embankment Athletics Arena to Eye, clocking 44.46, 44.52, and 45.08 respectively.

Herbert, brother of one-time Posh goalkeeper Eddie, then went on to run the second leg between Eye and Newborough in the fastest time of the day, covering the 4.2 miles in 23.52 for the veteran men.

Steve Robinson ran legs four and five, the two longest legs of the day, covering a total distance of 16.8 miles from Northborough to Norman Cross via Ferry Meadows in a time of 1:44.32.

Robinson, competing for the Helpston men’s team, was the second fastest runner on leg four, and fourth fastest on stage five.

Paul Lunn of Helpston Vets was the speediest runner on the 8.2-mile leg four in a time of 49.16.

Helpston provided the quickest three runners again on the final 5.7-mile leg from Stanground to the finish at the running track, with Aaron Scott clocking 29:50,Anthony Johnson 30:52 and James Skinner 35:52.

Perhaps the best performance of the day came from Helpston’s Josh Lunn, who ran the 7.61-mile sixth leg from Norman Cross to Stanground in a rapid 38.15.

Helpston pair Tracy McCartney and Philippa Taylor were the quickest ladies on their legs with McCartney covering the 8.2-mile fourth leg in 57.56 despite being caught in a downpour of almost biblical proportions.

Taylor then completed the 8.6-mile fifth leg in 57.49.

Ruth Jones of Helpston Mixed was the second quickest lady on leg two with a 30:14 clocking.

Only Nene Valley’s Olivia Mead, who was running for Ramsey on the day, was quicker, going round in 29:00.

Yaxley highlighted the strength of their ladies squad as they collected the senior ladies team prize in an overall time of 6:31.31.

Both Gina Crane and Claire Piercy were the second fastest ladies on their legs with Piercy covering the 6.4-mile third leg in 46.16 and Crane clocking 59.13 on the fourth stage.

Yaxley split their ladies between two teams and the second team finished as runners-up in 6:37.27. Helena Potgeiter was the second quickest lady on leg six with a time of 56.44.

The Nene Valley mixed team were runners-up to Helpston in 5:58.00. Abi Schofield starred with a 50.03 clocking on leg seven.

The other two categories, the veteran ladies and the open team, were won by Fenland Running Club and Ely Runners respectively.