For a first long distance event then you probably can’t do better than the Dukeries Ultra, organised by Hobo Pace, with a choice of 30 or 40 miles of predomiantly flat woodland trail largely spent under the cover of Sherwood Forest. Three Stilton Striders entered the 40 mile distance this year; Rich Gray, Simon Bottrill and doing his first ultra distance event Jon Wilson.
Conditions were near perfect for the day with it being clear and dry with a welcoming cool breeze when under cover. Despite a small navigation error in the first few miles, which was due to not keeping the eyes open to spot the right sign (another race route crossed over with similar signage) rather than any error on behalf of the organisers, this was such an easy route to follow. With such beautiful surroundings the miles were soon eaten up along with the generous supply of food at the checkpoints making the whole run an enjoyable experience. All three Striders completed the course with Rich and Simon finishing jointly in 7:40:42 and Jon Wilson accompanied by daughter Laura (running for Abingdon AC) finishing jointly in 10:07:59.
This was well organised and well marshalled event clearly signed throughout in a beautiful part of Nottinghamshire. Special thanks goes to SSRC’s Kaye Mead and Debs Wilson both marshalling at the last checkpoint and a very welcome site at mile 34.
Most of us would probably have preferred to be one of the ducks floating down the stream in the duck race rather than running 5 miles in the fierce heat but that didn’t stop a plucky group of Striders amongst 331 runners including some mad fools from the Wymeswold club running in full body duck outfits. First home was Luke Egglestone 30:54 (15th) followed by Andy Nicholls 32:04, Tam Nicol 36:18, Jon Wilson 40:14, Lora Holmes 43:11, Vanessa Walker 43:59, Kathy Walsh 45:06, Debs Wilson 47:24, Steph Nicol 47:47 plus Vanessa & Ray’s son Seb Walker in 36:08.
The course was an out-and-back route which was mainly uphill to the half way point then a nice fast 2nd half to the race being mainly downhill. Great feeling to end the race faster than you started and big crowds to cheer you home. A lovely little race, good value and with a technical T-shirt thrown in too.
On Sunday a group of Stilton Striders travelled to Leicester for the Livingston relays , one of the oldest races on the local calendar first held in 1928 and the original silver cup is still awarded to the winning men’s team .
Last few years held at Braunstone Park, a mainly flat 1 lap coarse with a small but sharp climb in the last mile, it’s regarded as a quick coarse with some of the fastest men going under 15 minutes for the 3 mile route .
3 ladies per team , 4 men per team , each runner does 1 lap then passes on to the team mate and the quickest overall time wins .
In the veteran category, Striders Vet ladies came away with a brilliant silver medal for the 2nd year in a row , this year’s medallists were Lou Houghton 21.35, Vicki Lowe 21.39 and Julie Bass 21.13.
Ladies A team were: Michelle Farlow 21.29 , Sarah Lawrence 23.16 , then Sharon Louise 22.01 .
Ladies B team were: Emma Hope 25.33 , Rachel Heggs 24.51 , then Charlotte Allen 23.34 .
Striders Vet men came 10th in their category with Ian Howe 19.50 p.b , Neil Jaggard 21.54 , Matt Taylor 19.35 and Darren Glover 20.05 .
Striders A team came 12th in their category with Luke Eggleston in 18.03 , Jason Barton an excellent 16.25 p.b , Matt Gayton 18.57, and Niall Rennie 16.55 p.b
Striders B team were: Ross Jackson 21.26 p.b , Sean Elkington 18.31 , Tam Nicol 21.56 and Christie Jones 20.16 p.b.
Also in Leicester a few ran the ‘ Big Leicester 10k .’ A large field of over 1100 runners held in Abbey park. First back for Striders in an excellent 32nd place was Alan Thompson in 39 min 34, then 181st Greeba Heard in 48.31 , the 203rd Jon Wilson in 49.31 , then 401st Anne Craddock in 54.41 , then 434th Lynda Harris in 55.02 and 560th Deb Wilson in 58.58 .