Three Stilton Striders – Rob Beers, Greg Pettingill and Steve Dewick – made the trip to Bagworth for the second of this season`s Derby Runner XC league races.
A very cold morning, leaving the warmth of Greg`s car was hard enough, Steve estimates around 550 runners at the start line, very big attendances for the series this year. A vested and bare armed Rob and Greg hit the start line, perhaps the minimalist shorts weren’t the smartest move at first but Greg`s extended warm up has us quite toasty pre-race briefing.
We have started quite high up and flying elbows are minimal, I nudge in front of Greg and make a positive (Split?) start, it’s certainly undulating and I recall feeling a bit worn, looking at my watch and had only been running ten minutes!
Nice and muddy course within Bagworth Heath woods with sections of technical and the odd surprising incline, quite a few ending up on their backsides also. It is tough as I’m sure most groaned after the first lap knowing they had to do it again, the second lap for me went faster although my legs felt a little bit slower. Spend the race chasing Barrow Runners shirts, also weirdly I never saw any ladies running near me after the first 400m of the race??? Stilton crew had all gone for rubber studs though many went for spikes and just were sliding everywhere; it was slippy rather than deep mud today.
Completed the race with a smile, Rob Beers (97th), Greg Pettingill (102nd) and Steve Dewick (300 and something, he said!). Really nice warm down mile round the park also taking in some of the trails and slopes we didn’t do in the race, cracking area to do a few miles round.
Bradgate Park is the next race of the series on December 6th, a 5.25 mile two lap course with like the other races of this series a very well thought out course with a bit of everything. We`d ideally like to triple the attendance of Stilton Striders for this one, race usually costs a mere £3.00 (may be £4.00 at Bradgate but will inc parking at Newton Linford gates) and we usually go and get warm in a local pub after so please give it some consideration. [Rob]
Stuart Gregory was the only Stilton Strider to make his way to Chase Water for the annual 10km trail race and lined up with 304 other runners on a breezy, cool and cloudy day. With a relatively high number of runners on trails that were less than favourable towards overtaking Stuart found it hard to find a way through and as the possibility of a personal best sailed away into the sunset Stuart decided to put all of his efforts into the second half of the race and with clearer trails his times began to respond as Stuart crossed the finish line in 1hr 5m. [Stuart]
Stuart Gregory was the only Stilton Strider to take part in the final race of the Midland 10km trail run series at the National Watersports Centre and joined 189 other runners on the start line on what was a very cold day with a biting wind chill making it feel more like -3c. The first half of the race followed a series of foot paths and trails around the outside of the main boating and multi events lake before heading out into the main parkland, at this point Stuart was holding on to what remained of the main field which had been blown to bits in the first few KM’s. As Stuart headed out into the parkland around the centre he began to make ground on a number of runners including some familiar faces from other races and after a number of short sharp inclines Stuart hit the final incline to finish out on his own and rounded off a steady run with a sprint finish to complete the 10km course in 1hr 4m 59s.
Stuart Gregory was also the only Stilton Strider to make his way to Nottingham for the annual 5km Mo Run, having placed highly in last years event and with his form slowly picking up towards the end of the year Stuart was hoping for a similar performance this time around and after making a good start to the race, his pace settled into the 10 minute per mile range where it remained for the rest of the race as Stuart completed a nice steady run in 31m 17s. [Stuart]
This great event, now in it’s second year, always attracts a variety of runners and is very much a fun and friendly event suitable for the whole family. Never ones to miss a out on a good run, a number of Striders took to the 3 mile near pitch black course on a oddly mild night for the time of year. The first of the Stilton contingent back was Michael Cooke in 4th place with a time of 23:42, James Ridealgh finshed 5th with a time of 24:05 and Stuart Gregory in 13th place with a time of 27:37. For the ladies, Sarah Lawrence crossed the line in 30th place with a time of 33:43 and was closely followed in 31st place by Kaye Mead in a time of 33:44. [Stuart]
12 Striders joined a field of around 300 for the 2nd Beacon Hill half marathon on a very windy but mainly dry day. A two lap course around the country park, with over 1500 feet of ascent, this was no small challenge – particular for those making their Striders debut over the distance.
Dan Valencia crossed the line as first Strider home and 10th MV40 with a time of 1.42.41, next back and 1st junior was Luke Eggleston in 1.47.02, closely followed by Mike Bryan 1.48.52 and Simon Bottrill 1.50.27. Next back, first female Strider and 7th Vet 40 was Louise Houghton in 1.59.44, Shane Sharkey followed closely behind in 2.00.55 along with John Houghton 2.01.07, Jon Wilson 2.07.21, Deb Wilson 2.17.50, Matt Chalmers 2.27.14 and Stuart Gregory in 2.36.35 completed the finishers. Hopefully Vicki will recover soon from injuring her leg during the race.
Stuart Gregory was the only Stilton Strider to make his way to Derby for their monthly midweek races. In the first race of the night Stuart was joined by a bumper field of 63 runners all hoping for a good time and Stuart was no exception in that respect as he set off at a fairly strong pace and completed the mile in 7m 50s, 30 seconds faster than October and 11 seconds faster than his previous best for the course. In the second race of the night Stuart was joined by another bumper field of 91 runners who were all looking for a good time. After a pacey start to the 5km race Stuart increased his pace over the final mile to the cross the line in a course best time of 28.20, 1 minute 23 seconds faster than his previous course best for the event. [Stuart]
Louise, John & myself [Dan] entered the inaugural Norfolk Coastal half & marathons respectively. The event was organised by positive steps in partnership with Norfolk County Council. The course ran between Weybourne & Sea Palling. The event fell on John’s birthday, so the day was set up perfectly, & the weather was fair. As we arrived in the village hall we were greeted by the organiser ‘Kevin’.“I take it you’ve downloaded your maps” Kevin probed sternly. When the hilarity ceased & the realisation that we might need to navigate set in, it became obvious that the standard retort “We’re Striders we don’t do Nav” wouldn’t wash with Kevin. We awkwardly shuffled over to the maps on the wall and took photos of the course.
Kevin sounded the klaxon & we set off.
The path took us right along the cliff edge, which was suffering from serious erosion, so much so that the path simply disappeared in some places adding to the allure of the challenge. As we scurried down a path between some dunes a rather rotund child turned to his mother & queried “what’s this running all about?” It wasn’t long before we had an answer. We ran down onto the beach and in a scene reminiscent from the film chariots of fire, we pegged it along the surf line! We felt like running couldn’t get much better! There is a lot of beach running on this race, which we loved however if it’s not your thing be advised. After missing an (acorn), and completing an extra mile we still managed to come in at 4hrs:20 ish.
Meanwhile Louise had “chosen” to set off with the walkers. After it dawned on them Lou & some others quickened the pace & completed the half with a highly respectable time of 1hr :50 after being reprimanded by Kevin for not tearing a page out of the book at the end of the beach (evidence of completion). After the race it transpired that Lou had run upwards of 13 miles after a navigational error but still managed to be 1st lady!
A great event & would definitely, do it again next year. [Dan]
Twelve Stilton Striders in attendance for the annual Seagrave Wolds challenge, a 16 mile XC event for runners and walkers, again as last year taking a route through the Wreake valley. It’s quite warm but very wet weather with many showers and quite strong winds, great when behind you bit hard going when not! As per usual we are set off by the town crier at 9a.m, 618 runners and walkers in today`s well sold out in advance event although not all did make the start line. The beginning couple of miles are best described as a warm up as on road up Berrycott Lane and onto Paudy lane as we come into Six Hills, a friend I run up with complains about `Not good in Walsh`s`. The first real stretch of muddy underfoot comes as we head towards Ragdale hall with driving rain hitting us face on, I’m running in tandem with fellow Strider Michael Atton making good headway as we hit the village of Hoby at the half way point.
For me that first hour went really quick and the route carries on through Brooksby and Rearsby, then quite a few miles of gates and stiles as we head towards Ratcliffe on the Wreake. Last couple of miles aren’t my finest but do my good turn shouting to someone who went the wrong way, and those who know me knew I’d be turning my nose up about running through a golf course! The hill back into Seagrave felt like climbing the side of Everest, not many out supporting today it is a bit rough weather-wise but get back in a time and position I’m massively proud of, mind you I think we all did well not just speed wise but conditions were erm challenging.
Naturally anyone who has done this event will tell you it’s one of the best organised and friendliest locally with extra special mention to the fabulous catering. Plenty of smiley faces from the team afterwards, not to mention a massive load of Running shirts for Katie Hateley`s Gambia appeal! [Rob]
Striders Results: Rob Beers (1:58:43, 18th place) Mike Bryan (2:03:24, 31st) Dan Valencia (2:05:48, 38th) Michael Atton (2 :05:50, 39th), Simon Bottrill (2:18:44, 91st), Richard Gray (2:24:13, 118th) Katie Hateley (2:24:16, 119th) John Houghton (2:25:13, 124th) Lee Quinn (2:26:28, 129th) Mike Brighty (2:36:47, 156th) Vicki Lowe (2:40:52, 178th) and Abigail Arnott (2:40:54, 179th)
Stuart Gregory was the only Stilton Strider to make his way to a very wet and windy Chesterfield for race 10 of the 11 race series and was hoping to set an improved time building on last month step forward, unfortunately this was not to be the case as Stuart finished the event with a time of 30.53 in 97th place overall. [Stuart]
A group of six Striders headed to Victoria Park for the first race in the winter series of Leicester City 5k events. Jason Barton once again set the pace, finishing 2nd overall in 17.48. Next back, and 3rd MV40, was Darren Glover in 19.54, followed by Luke Eggleston (20.19, 6th SM), Shane Sharkey (22.22), Abi Arnott (2nd FV40 in 24.22) and Stuart Gregory (29.01).