John Skevington starts the first of three special coached sessions

On the 11th January John Skevington travelled over to us in Melton for a technically packed, yet fun session of drills, practice and knowledge sharing.

After a brief introduction to the ideas behind the forthcoming drills, Ben and Jaqui were kindly volunteered to show their running form across the sports hall. This would set a benchmark where John vowed that he would make the entire running assembly better runners after the 2 hour session. Not only that, he had also captured Ben and Jaqui’s efforts on video. That was a statement of intent. Could it be met? Later we would find out…

With a circular warm up, the runners were somewhat prepared for the drills ahead. Rosie, John’s assistant, performed flawless looking demonstrations without apparent effort. She has obviously practiced these drills regularly. It was hard not to realise she is an ‘Elite’ runner as her T-Shirt stated and her form followed this through. Some noteable drills include the A-Skips, which some Striders had been performing in the technical sessions. Up and down the runners went, with observations and points of improvement pointed out by John and the team.

Warming up

B-skips were also performed. For many, this was unheard of. For others, the B-skip was a dark art heard about but never before seen, so it was interesting to see how this differed from the A-skip. And a Frankenstein drill. If only Frankenstein’s monster was as agile as all of the Striders, he might not have been so misunderstood. Lunges – what was interesting to see was the difference in how we may have been performing these before. These looked to take 2 parts to the movement to help ascertain the body position. Will be interesting to talk to Mark about this in the Structured sessions. When the drills are new, the positions can feel very alien, even unbalanced, but everyone persevered and improved immensely.


A series of force development and technique embedment took place using hurdles and steps with drills in a series of groups. Arms? Which arm? Now which leg again? Gradually all the Striders started looking naturals at these drills and the coordination of legs to arms looked great. The hurdles would seem to grow as the session went on and the odd hurdle would spring out from under the feet, but the jumping was looking really good fun, although tough! And a special kind of sit-up would engage the core.


After all that, it was back to reprisal of the Skips! Everyone immediately looked more confident and improved tremendously at these. Mark A was star pupil! Then how would Ben and Jaqui get on with the pressure of hordes of Striders watching to see if John’s statement would come to fruition? There was no doubt, they had both improved and looked great when running up and down the hall again. Then Liz G looked after us and led us through a great cool down.


This has been a great session to learn some drills and technique. Now to practice these more! 🙂

There’s two more sessions to go in the next two months. Send an email to if you are interested to find out a little about us or join the Stilton Striders. And remember the Striders Technical sessions take place every Thursday at 7pm, where these drills and more will be revisited. They’re great to help you run better, no matter your ability. These sessions take in various locations around the town, including smashing loops, hills (what hills?) and the pyramids. Mark Stoneley would love to show you where the Meltonian pyramids are 🙂

Thanks to Di for organising the venue. It was fairly tricky to find somewhere with availability for our growing club within some reasonable distance of Melton Mowbray. It’s great to see that England Athletics see that running at our grass roots is important, so we thank them for the funding of our fantastic efforts.

Leicestershire county XC champs – 6th Jan 2018

Rotherby Lodge Farm was the local venue for the Leicestershire County Cross Country Championships on Saturday 6 January 2018.  The earlier rain and slippery mud made this an extremely challenging course.  Natalie Teece had a great race amongst the top county cross country runners to win a bronze medal in the Masters category.  The ladies masters (6K) fielded a full team and achieved a credible 5th place out of 11 teams; Natalie Teece (29:48 3rd), Vicki Lowe (35:08 26th), Sharon Eshelby (36.40 33rd) and Lou Houghton (37.48 37th).

Alan Thompson led the Striders Masters Men in the 10K (52:19 20th), followed by Paul Geeson (59:25 50th) and Ian Howe (60:22 52nd).
A number of junior Striders also ran, putting in creditable performances:
U13 girls (3K) – Georgie W 18:42, Zoe N 19:00, Izabella R 19:58, Lucy J 20:26, Milly C 22:06
U15 girls (4K) – Amy J 24:36
U15 boys (4K) – Joe B 18:17

For those who enjoyed the terrain, the Frisby Fun Run on 14th April uses some of the same course but is considerably shorter!


* Interested in entering races? Not sure what you need to do?
Sometimes races need to be entered in advance, normally via an online form (but not always). Other races can be entered on the day as well, but may cost a little extra. Most races involve safety pinning your numbers on before the race. The League races often have chip timing too, which marry up to your race number.

Terrain and distances vary, but most races follow similar courses to previous seasons. Ask other Striders if they remember the course. An ‘oooh watch out for the hill at mile 4’ can be useful 🙂 Wear the club vest or t-shirt to get those Strider Cup points and most of all have fun!

Any questions, please email
The event calendar is here (races are constantly being added):

Chilly round up early late December and early January 2018

A couple of days before Christmas a group of Striders travelled to Gaddesby for the Gaddesby Gallop, a 5 and a half mile X-country race with a number of stiles, a dew pond and a drainage pipe to negotiate, and the mild wet weather had made it very muddy .

In a record field of 195, first back for the club showing his off road skills was Michael Atton in 23rd place in 40.23, followed by Ian Drage in 25th 41.03, then Paul Geeson 43.10, Darren Glover 44.31, John Houghton 44.47. Next in her first race for the club was Vicki Hurrell 45.52, Dan Giblett 52.32, Daniel Howley 52.32, Ross Jackson 53.36, Lou Houghton 53.52, Sarah Lawrence 60.47, Debs and Jon Wilson ran together in 67.08, Kaye Mead 68.44 .

Michael out of the woods
Michael out of the woods

In the new year a few striders travelled to Leicester for the 3rd round of the Leicester 5k Winter Series.

First back in 4th was Luke Eggleston in 18min 18, then in 6th and first lady was Natalie Teece in 19.57, followed in 7th by Matt Gayton in 20.28, then Liz Goodbourn first vet 50 lady in 24.53.

[Darren G]

Huncote Hash

On the 31st of December, I made my way over to Huncote to take part in the annual “back to basics” Huncote Hash cross country race. I was a solo Strider this year, joining 343 other runners for the 6.5 mile run. Heavy rain the previous day ensured a particular wet and muddy run, brilliant conditions for a fun XC. The course itself started off with a short loop through the local woodland, before heading out toward Croft Hill. I managed to conquer the hill, with my mum waiting at the top to shout some encouraging support and snap some good pictures. The route then descended back down the other side of the hill before making back towards Huncote, wading through a waist deep stream before attempting a sprint finish.

Ross Jackson giving it a blast on a wet and muddy fun filled day
Ross Jackson giving it a blast on a wet and muddy fun filled day

I managed to finish in 146th place in 1:03:36 before receiving my finishers soup and bread roll. As only my 2nd ever XC race I thoroughly enjoyed this. It is an incredibly well organised event with lots of support from the locals, without which there’s no chance I would have made it over that hill!

(Well done Ross!)

National Water Sports Centre 5K and Half

7 striders took part in this Christmas Half and 5k at the National Water Sports Centre in Notts. What a great local venue – would love to have a go at rowing. This run was 4 laps for the Half. It was billed as a great Christmas atmosphere, but would have liked to hear a bit more Christmas music around the course. Great fluorescent Christmas tree medal though. A two mile walk to the start – good job we were really chilled about it as nearly missed the gun.

Helen Widdowson was first Strider lady in 1.41.33 pb, then Vicki Lowe in 1.42.32, Michelle Farlow 1.43,14. All in top 20 ladies. Running together for the first 7 we paced ourselves well. Matt Gayton achieved 1.37.19, and Alison Wilson a fantastic 2.08.44. Dan Moult did the 5 k in a great time of 27.54. [Vik]

Dalby Dollop

A small selection of Stilton Striders and a dog braved a bitterly cold Sunday morning, with a biting wind which was enough to make your eyes water, to stand shivering in the middle of a field in Lycra for the Great Dalby Dollop.
The race started off with a section of undulating lumpy fields, which were not kind to the ankles, as an assortment of cow pats were dodged. Next, some slippy sleeper things for added instability and a few stiles were conquered before an uphill climb with plenty of trainer stealing mud and some rather overly familiar bramble.
After a quick water stop, just after the halfway point, there was a short section of well received downhill tarmac before everyone’s favourite… a damp, ploughed field. More muddy fields were then covered by the runners followed by another uphill trudge through a farm possessing plenty of strong ‘country smells’. Once over that experience, there was a bit more uphill before finally an interesting wave effect field to exhaust runners further as they bobbed up and down before approaching the finish line.
The Dollop was a thoroughly enjoyable, well organised, 4 mile local event involving runners, kids, walkers and plenty of Canicross entrants. A relatively small race by comparison but meaning no giant queue at the toilet beforehand and a more than sufficient supply of good cake and soup at the end. Surprisingly, there were three different finishers medals to choose from with some pretty fancy rosettes for the four-legged participants.
Congratulations to Andy who was the first male to cross the line. Other runners included Helen Metcalfe (and son), Andy Nicholls, Shaun Staff (plus supporters), Dan Giblett (and son), Ben Pickard and Jeff (with Laura supporting) and Sarah Lawrence (no show from the husband as he just doesn’t get running). Natalie Teece was also one of the organisers.
Would definitely recommend.

Sarah Lawrence

Skegness Coasters 10km

Coasters 10km
Coasters 10km

Julie Bass went to Skegness for the Skegness coasters 10km. It was 0 deg at the start and only 2 deg at the end with a bitter wind blowing. The race was run round the Water park and Caravan Park so virtually traffic free. Not a very interesting course but totally flat! I was pleased with my time of 46.00 and 1st V50, and 103rd place out of a field of 660 and 9th lady.

Julie Bass

Derby Runner XC – Prestwold

3 weeks after the 1st race in the series, a last minute change of venue was needed for round 2 due to problems with the landowner at Markfield.
Step in the fabulous John Skev and a more than adequate replacement was found at Prestwold Hall on a chilly but sunny day.
Many Striders with children will be familiar with this venue as it’s the location for the Leicestershire and National primary schools XC championships, so after supporting our offspring over the years, it was good to finally run here.
The course was 2 laps, with mainly wide open mowed grassland but also a couple of ditches to navigate, a steep hill up an embankment and a wade through a big puddle.  With little or no narrow parts causing hold-ups, the speedsters could really motor and show their class.  The rest of us did our best!
Prestwold XC Nov 2017
Prestwold XC Nov 2017
What was most pleasing about today’s race was how many people came, even though it was a less than ideal time, being the day after the popular Seagrave long-distance XC race.  With Katie, Vicki, Lou, John, Alan and Nick all having raced both, and Matt continuing to progress coming back from injury, there were some great performances.  Also great to see Kathy on her first XC outing declaring she “loved it” with a massive smile as she crossed the line.  We weren’t sure we’d have a full men’s team but when Nick turned up (with his very shiny new shoes!) I could have kissed him.  He’s happy that I didn’t!
Placings for the ladies: Katie Hateley 24, Vicki Lowe 52, Lou Houghton 130, Kathy Walsh 165, Celia Bown 171, Sue Pettingill 178, Kaye Mead 183
Placings for the men:  Ian Drage 82, Andy Nicholls 165, Alan Thompson 205, John Houghton 227, Tam Nicol 248, Matt White 291, Steve Dewick 309, Nick Pryke 322

Seagrave Wolds Challenge

2017 was the 13th consecutive Challenge, with a 16 mile route similar to the first event,  taking in the villages of Wymeswold, Rempston, Prestwold, Burton-on-the-Wolds, Walton-on-the-Wolds. There were 490 runners and 97 walkers at the start line.

49 211 Alan Thompson 02:08:08
66 529 Paul Geeson 02:11:57
87 621 Katie Hateley 02:16:26
152 316 Richard Gray 02:33:21
153 214 John Houghton 02:33:22
156 57 Dan Valencia 02:33:43
184 668 Vicki Lowe 02:42:21
190 384 Abigail Arnott 02:42:47
305 481 Brian Walkling 03:06:38
315 216 Louise Houghton 03:08:38
326 88 Rebecca Forrester 03:10:15
327 129 Daniel Howley 03:10:17
352 263 Nick Pryke 03:23:02
368 219 Jacqui Riley 03:27:00
369 381 Sarah Lawrence 03:27:01
421 421 Janet Hudson 03:41:49
422 422 John Hudson 03:41:50
490 379 David Hall 04:40:56

Julie finishes as 5th lady overall in the Robin Hood Trail 10km!


Julie 5th overall
Julie finishes 5th overall lady!

I went to Sherwood Pines on Saturday to run the Robin Hood Trail 10km. After the morning rain, it turned out cool, but sunny for the race, which I believe is 2 laps of the Parkrun Course.
Not too muddy for a novice trail runner like myself, I was pleased with my time of 46.48. Finishing 44th overall, 5th lady and winning the 2nd vet 40 trophy.
[Julie Bass]

Well done Julie! Fab result!

Whoop! Trophy!
Whoop! Trophy!