The Road to Wigan Pier was awash with red and black as hordes of St. Helens Striders crossed the border into enemy territory to take on the 6th Wigan 10k.
On a bright, early September morning, recent recruit Kane Green was first Strider home in 6th place with a new Personal Best (PB) of 34:30.
PBs abounded as Ann Johnson produced a sensational performance in slicing more than two minutes off her previous best, with a superb time of 45:56, ably assisted by her devoted pacer Neil Hunter.
Frank Cahill also obliterated his own personal record in a time of 44:09, as did Peter Moville dipping under 47:00 for the first time.
In her first 10k as a Strider, Shelley Hughes showed her future potential with a hard fought PB of 56:17. Zoe Fillingham delighted her friends and family with a new best of 58:27.
Further impressive performances came from Claire Scott, John Lingard, Kevin Cairns, Joanne Jackson, Mike Brunt and Rebecca McKenna. Celebrations continued long into the early afternoon in the cosy environs of Orwell’s favourite hostelry.
Striders’ stalwarts Martin Ballard and Tony Dagnall took a ferry across the Mersey to compete in separate races on the Wirral. Ballard wowed the locals, crossing the line in a huge new PB of 1:33. Dagnall took on the 10k race and emerged with his own record in a neat and tidy 44:44.
Further afield, ambitious Striders took on the challenge of facing World and Olympic champions Sir Mo Farah and Vivian Cheruiyot in the iconic Great North Run. In the 13.1 miles between Newcastle and South shields, Peter Bennett was not quite able to match Farah’s finishing power but finished in an impressive 2:15:32 in unseasonably warm conditions. Katie Taggart also tamed the tough course, while Amanda Coogan, Joanne Keogh and Tami Garvey-Jones selflessly raised over £700 in aid of Breast Cancer Care through their efforts in the North East.
It was a family affair in Cheshire as Carla and Vera Langley made their trail debuts in the Delamere Montane Trail 10. The pair conquered the trails in fine style and can be proud of their first foray into trail racing.
For some Striders, simply running was not enough and the brutal challenge of Tough Mudder was the order of the day. David Brisco and Darren Eckersley braved mud, electric shocks and icy water as they overcome the increasingly popular obstacle races. Eckersley finished the North West event at Cholmondeley Castle in 3:18, while David Brisco also completed the course in fine style. Brisco was spurred on in his labours by the knowledge that his efforts were in aid of The Alzheimer’s Society.
A successful weekend for St. Helens Striders was made complete as lone wolf Justin Smith trod his own path away from the popular races of the weekend and was rewarded with a new PB of 58:18 at the Salford 10K.
Report by Kane Green