SPA Striders took part in Startford AC’s Cotswold Hilly 100 race last weekend – a 100-mile relay race through the Cotswolds.
Teams are responsible for supporting each runner on their leg and ensuring a successful handover at the end of each leg which creates logistical challenges.
Runners have been known to lose their way, get stopped at railway crossings, get their support vehicle stuck in a ditch, to have to continue onto the following leg because the next runner hasn’t arrived and even be involved in a head to head sprint on the last leg after 100 miles.
The race is special for Striders as the club remember the inspiring Richard Bicknell who always used to take part in the relay and sadly passed away just over five years ago.
And the first runners lined up at the American Fountain in Market Square, Stratford with start times staggered at 5am, 6am or 7am depending on the team and their predicted finish times.
The course starts at 200ft and ascends to over 1,000 feet of elevation by the end of leg two and then continues in a roller coaster of scenic lumpiness.
It was a day of enormous Strider spirit and support throughout the 100 mile course from runners and non-runners alike.
The grandest of tailgating parties, cheering on our runners with music blaring, shouting, singing and even some live viola playing.
Every runner taking part wore a proud smile on their face as they completed their gruelling leg of the journey and passed on the baton to their teammates.
The day ended as always with a celebration at the Stratford AC sports club and the awards ceremony.
The ladies team won their race in 12 hours 35 minutes whilst the men’s team were third (behind Kenilworth and Stratford) in their fastest ever time of 10 hours 25 minutes to claim a club record.
Elsewhere, Ves and Kevin B took part in the Revenge of the 5th on the May 5 in a Star Wars themed half-marathon race in the Shropshire Hills.
Other Striders in action were James, Elaine and Kate E who took part in the Silverstone 10K at the famous racing circuit.
James was taking part in his first race in two and a half years and despite warm and windy conditions he completed the race in 59:19.
He was led home by Elaine (43:15) and Kate Evans (57:00) who has recently returned to the Strider fold.
Additionally, Kelsey took part in the Big Bear events ‘Swan challenge’ at Coombe Abbey Park. The race involves running as many 5k laps as you want within a six-hour time limit.
Kelsey ran a total of 40 miles and she was very relieved not to encounter any angry swans.
Coming back from injury, Shaun Martin completed the Chester half-marathon in 1 hour 40 minutes.
Lastly, Georgie Acton took the ultra baton to complete the Shires and Spires clockwise race.
The event is run in a clockwise direction on even years and anti-clockwise on odd years.
And due to a navigational error she added an extra 1.6 miles to make 36.3 in total in 8 hours 18 minutes.