Image by Vikki Lince, the Advertiser Group Newspapers
Last sunday (22nd June 2014) saw the 3rd annual Hitchin Hard Half Marathon (H3M) since it's relaunch in 2012, with around 400 runners taking part. Organised by the Rotary Club of Hitchin Tilehouse and with major sponsorship from the Advertiser, the Hitchin Hard follows a pretty gruelling course over the hills between Hitchin and Kings Walden - it's a route that catches a lot of people by surprise.
This year, H3M raised £10,000 for local charity, Cancer Hair Care.
After a deluge of rain in 2012, and an incredibly cold snap this time last year, midday temperatures this year reached of 24°C. The biggest concern for runners, organisers, and the army of St John's Ambulance volunteers was competitors staying hydrated.
The men's race was won by Mark Vaughan of the North Herts Road Runners who completed the course in 1h 19m 1s.
The women's race was won by Wendy Webster of the St Albans Striders who completed the course in 1h 29m 9s.
The Hitchin hard half is a local event with money raised to support local charity, Cancer Hair Care. DW Sports Massage provided sports massage for competitors and spectators before, during and (mostly) after the event, asking for a suggested donation of £5 for a 10 mins massage.
This year, 24 people had massages, raising £160 for Cancer Hair Care (some people generously gave more than the suggested £5). Most people, of couse, just wanted help with recovery for their legs: calf muscles, hamstrings, and quads. One of two though, needed assistance with sore backs and shoulders.
Last year people queued for up to 40 mins for a massage after the event, so this year I asked a colleague - Andy Bradley of AB Sports Massage, Ware - to help out. Although we were able to help a lot more people with getting their muscles going again after the race, the queue seemed no shorter. The rest of the race village was being dismantled around us as we worked.
It seems that you can't have too many sports masseurs, so next year, there will be 3 of us to try to make sure that everyone who wants a massage gets one as soon as possible after they've finished.
If you need help with your legs as you train, or as you recover, do get in touch.