Friday evening’s Whissendine 6ix saw an army of Striders (and soon to be Striders) turn up in both running and supporting capacities. The race had several drop-outs last year as the date coincided with the annual Rainbows 100-lap challenge, but with no fixture clash this year there was a fine attendance. A fantastic course starts off uphill with a signpost saying “Highest Point” featuring quite early on – raising you emotionally to your “Highest Point” for the race as surely it is “all downhill from here!” This false placed confidence is quickly highlighted when, at halfway, there is another sign which states “Lowest Point” – again, this sign was indicative of both geographical and emotional states!
There were some interestingly placed distance markers along the route with all competitors beating their 5k PBs by about half a mile (5k sign at 2.65 miles), however, the overall distance was accurate.
A tough course, with two challenging hills in the last two miles, finishes off with a sharp downhill sprint across the finish line – which was crossed by Darren Glover in a fantastic time of 39.20 (12th overall). Next Strider across the line was Luke Eggleston in 40.22 (17th) closely followed by a Vibram-clad Shane Sharkey in 21st place (40.57). Clive Kent was next back (41.38 – 25th) followed by a Striders Quartet of Ben Pickard (44.38 – 45th), Nicholas Smith (44.47 – 46th), Tam Nicol (45.01 – 47th) and Matt White (45.03 – 48th). Tony Allen completed in 48.15 before Max Houghton – under the watchful eye of Dad John – got back in 52.04 beating John Hudson in 52.40 and Celina Silver (55.50). They were followed by another Striders Trio (you know how we like to hunt in packs….) Holly Houghton was masterfully paced around by mum Louise to “get under the hour” in 59.28 with Laura Pickard close behind in 59.37. Completing the Striders contingent – watched closely by super-coach Rob Beers – was Stuart Gergory in 1.01.59.
The race is completed by all finishers receiving a beer brewed at the ever popular Grainstore brewery along with a commemorative Whissendine 6ix glass. Across the road from the finish line at the White Lion pub there was a band playing in the beer garden under a marquee which was amply surrounded by BBQ burger stands and a Hog Roast. A true village fete atmosphere to it. Despite being the worst thing to happen to grammar since 5ive topped the charts, the Whissendine 6ix is certainly a highlight of the summer racing calendar. [Shane]