MANY Spa Striders finished with their best ever set of results at Sunday’s Hilly 100 – an annual 100-mile relay round the Cotswolds with ten runners completing approximately ten miles each.
This year saw the largest number of clubs participate with 35 teams racing in some very hot conditions. Spa Striders entered their highest number of teams – men’s A and B, ladies’ A and B and a mixed team.
It was also Striders’ most successful year to date, coming home with three sets of trophies – ladies’ A team 2nd, men’s A team 3rd and men’s B team 3rd. For the men this was their highest ever finishing position.
The ladies’ A team have dominated the race in recent years, winning 7 out of the last 8 races and holding the course record. After a strong performance from Sue Cox the ladies were lying in 4th place after the first leg.
Caroline Whitehouse ran leg 2, gaining a place, followed by Jo Kirby who took the team into 2nd place. Melissa Venables had a sensational run on leg 4, making up considerable ground and took the team into first place.
Vicki Smith, Clare Hinton, Nadine Lee and Fiona Ferguson all ran well on legs 5 to 8 and maintained the lead. Lucy Burnett and Bethan Gwynn completed legs 9 and 10 in the heat and after a gutsy run the Strider team were overtaken in the last 800m and beaten by the narrowest of margins – less than 1 minute – after over 12.5 hours of running.
Spa Striders were only one of a few teams who fielded two ladies’ team. Ladies B ran well to finish strongly and comprised of Jackie Lindsay, Ruth Tennant, Jude Baum, Harky Kalsi, Alice Hewett, Amanda Wiggins, Tracey Murphy, Roz Cox (Captain), Laura Peake and Michelle Clements.
Kevin White set the bar high for Striders’ men’s A team on an excellent leg 1, sun shining but still cool, and he handed over to Will Johnson who carried on the excellent work, handing over to Trevor Wilkinson on leg 3 in a comfortable 3rd.
Following a great run from Trevor on the amended longer and tougher leg 3, Richard Shephard set off to close down the gap between Striders and Leamington. Shephard ended the notorious leg 4 in an outstanding 60.32 minutes later with Striders now in 2nd.
Nick Varey set off strongly, running a great leg and holding second position well into leg 5, but the heat forced Striders’ men to come up with a contingency plan to get their next runner down to mile 8 to take the baton from Nick early. This meant Dan Stannard setting off in 5th place.
After running an extra long run in the phenomenal heat, Dan had pulled back some time and Hartwig Busch closed the gap even further. After an excellent run by Andy Graham on leg 8 and a strong handover to Rob Thompson, there was no stopping them as they were on for their best placing yet and were not going stop until that finish line.
Leg 9 was run brilliantly by Rob Thompson and Victor Garanto ran a great leg to take Striders home, unable to catch Leamington as the deficit was too great, Victor brought Striders A team home in a comfortable third – the best ever result for Striders’ men.
The men’s B team was made up of Ivor Westmore, Paul Edwards, Nick Adams, Dave Phasey, Mali Murphey, Neil Butcher, Oli Brown, Dale Nash, Justin Mallard, Dan Fleming and finished third.
THERE was a good turnout of Striders at the weekend’#s Leamington parkrun. First home was David Maule, (33rd) in 20:47, followed by Richard Herdman (39th) in 20:59. Tim Down finished in 57th place in 21:25.
Other Striders results: Doug Rattray (154th) 25:15; Clare Hinton (163rd) 25:41; Andrew Roach (166th) 25:47; Katie Shorrock (205th) 26:56; Giles Conway (216th) 27:20.
THE CHALLENGING Slateman Triathlon took place in Snowdonia on Sunday in the stunning village of Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon.
It comprises a 1,000m open water swim in Llyn Padarn, followed by a 51km road cycle circular route and finished off with an 11km trail run.
Spa Strider Dawn Clark and her partner Mike Ellis (Birmingham Running, Athletics & Triathlon Club) took part. Clark was 29th lady in a time of 3:21:29 and Ellis was 134th overall in 2:57:24.