The lengthening days of late spring heralds the season of summer evening races and St.Helens Striders travelled down the East Lancashire Road to take on the Walton Park 5 Mile Race on Tuesday. The fast, flat course attracts top club athletes from throughout the region.
Eric Ranson was first Strider home in 48th place in an excellent 32:55, with Paul Howard and Craig Whittaker completing the first three, while Sue Heaps was first female Strider in 40:38. Heaps’ performance was enough to claim first place in the V55 category, while the evergreen Brenda Cahill also tasted victory in the V60, finishing right behind heaps in 40:47. Performance of the evening came from Colin Wilson, who achieved a huge PB of 37:37, to knock an incredible four minutes off his previous best. Wilson had Peter Teeling to thank for providing a target to chase as he finished in 37:27.
On Friday night, dynamic duo Kelly Hamilton and Rachael Fairclough competed in the Christleton 5k. After a tremendous battle between the friends and rivals, Hamilton came out on top in a rapid 19:14, with Fairclough hot on her heels in 19:35.
At Sunday’s Chester Half Marathon, Hannah Whittaker produced a sensational performance to finish 15th female in 1:31, securing a new PB over the 13.1 mile course. In her first half marathon in three years, Rachael Fairclough showed no ill effects from Friday’s race as she finished 17th female in 1:32. Husband Peter Fairclough acted as pacer for his wife and provided valuable support throughout the race. Angela Jones also performed admirably, completing the race in 2:21.
A hardy band of Striders took in a mixture of camping, running and music at the Keswick Mountain Festival. The highlight of the weekend was a 25km trail race over imposing mountainous terrain. Rebecca McKenna delighted her team mates as she finished in 4:14 alongside Claire Blennerhassett and Sharon O’Connell, knocking an incredible 30 minutes off her time in the same race last year. The three amigos – Joanne Jackson, Jane Marshall and Joanne Keogh – ran in tandem, finishing in 4:26. Trail connoisseur David Brisco glided effortlessly around the tough course to finish as first Strider in just on 3 hours, with Colin Wilson and Darren Eccles also performing impressively, alongside Mike Brunt and Libby Phillipson.
Sunday saw one of the U.K.’s largest races in the shape of then Great Manchester 10k. Graham Jones was first Strider home in a fantastic time of 42:33. Pete Medlicott ran superbly to register a new PB, in the neat and tidy time of 44:44. Ian Spencer sliced 90 seconds off his previous best at the race, with a speedy 56:59. Debs Hill also excelled in a time of 1:15.
At the bizzarely named Anderton Boat Lift 10k, the bionic man, Ian Chisnall, continued his inspirational recovery from a hip replacement operation with a fantastic time of 42:21, coming second place in the V45 category.
Star travellers of the weekend were Carol foster and John Williams. Foster completed the San Javier 10k in Murcia, Spain in 51:17, finishing 3rd in her age category, while Williams completed a 5K Parkrun in the shadow of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in 21:16, also securing a 3rd place finish.