24 Jan 2016 – Barrow 6 (LRRL)

After last weekend’s snow caused the cancellation of the Markfield 10k, this Sunday saw the start of this year’s Leicestershire Road Running League (“LRRL”) winter league.  With illness and injury depriving the club of a number of runners, on an unseasonably warm morning there were 13 Stilton Striders toeing the start line.

Jason Barton was first Strider home, covering the 6 mile course in an impressive 34.51 for 16th place overall. Next to finish, taking over 4 minutes off last year’s time, was Luke Eggleston in 38.20.  Matt Gayton (39.21), Darren Glover (40.23) and Clive Kent (42.04) all finished in the top third of the record breaking 730 strong field.

Andy Nicholls, Katie Hateley and Michael Cooke crossed the line in quick succession (44.12, 44.13 and 44.20), followed by Wayne Hackett (45.29) and, making her debut for the club, Harriette Wright (51.42).  Steph Barlow, Tam Nicol and Jenny Kent completed the set, finishing together in 60.27.

The next race in the winter league series is our very own Stilton 7, which takes place from The Stute at Asfordby Hill on Sunday 28th February.  We’ll be publicising full details and put out a volunteer request shortly, so please hold the date in your diary.

3 Jan 2016 – Huncote Hash

Certainly the most intense (and most fun in my mind) short XC in Leicestershire, the 6.68 mile measured Huncote Hash is a wet, muddy and somewhat hilly feast during the winter months for fans of cheap sport (A mere £4.00 entry!)The sold out 400 entrants have on hand an impressive Strider turnout (Sue and Greg Pettingill, Rob Beers, Tony Allen, Simon Bottrill, Lou Houghton, Kaye Mead, Andy Nicholls, Matt Chalmers, Steve Dewick, Sarah Lawrence, John Hudson) plus a good contingent from Melton Running Club as well as support from Race photographers Jon and Debs Wilson.

Pretty much perfect conditions, wet` cold `raining` muddy as finally some of the Striders are prised out of Huncote Pavillion leisure centre for the race start. Some of the team are doing it as post New year’s training run and generally only the top 30 are going hard at it, usually it’s a post festive period bit of fun.

A fast start which despite a good 400m + to stream the field out still leads to us taking our time at the first stile due to the amount of runners who have gone out on a positive split. More or less neck and neck with Greg the first mile before his cunning experience pays off greatly, whilst about five runners are slowly climbing the banking in front he just runs up the side of them and off like a darting Hare! Greg is in particularly fine form today and you can sense he`s loving it, when this guy is feeling the love of running he`s damn hard to catch. Its mud, mud, mud all the way with plenty of running in ankle deep water and this is before the climb up Huncote Hill which is many steep steps followed by a very slippy brow of the hill.

This is followed by Croft Hill and I think possibly my last chance of the race to get near Greg, the rain is belting down; the winds are blowing like anything and I’m loving it! Greg`s well in front so try and set my sights on trying to beat Roadhoggs Nick Cobley who puts a good shift in the last mile, dosent quite happen but I’m eight minutes faster than last year.

As the team comes in after Leicestershires hardest short XC race thankfully they are all full of smiles having me talked them into it, “I loved it” is heard by every single one. It was a hell of a day out really enjoyable for all 16 of us plus official race photographers Malc Riley and Jon/Deborah Wilson, really hope we can get even more of us over to this next year.

Results : Greg Pettingill ( 51:36, 24th) Rob Beers (52:11, 29th) Simon Bottrill (61:49, 109th) Andy Nicholls (64:13, 137th) Tony Allen (69:18, 178th) Steve Dewick (70:49, 192nd) Lou Houghton (72:58, 207th) Sarah Lawrence (81:02, 255th) Sue Pettingill (81:58, 266th) Matt Chalmers (85:37, 284th) Kaye Mead (88:05, 291st)