It was a proud weekend for St. Helens Striders as the supremely talented Rachael Fairclough donned the England vest after being selected to represent her country in the British Masters Home Nations Cross Country fixture at Aintree. Competing against the best Masters athletes across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Eire, Fairclough produced a sensational performance to finish first English woman in the V35 category and 30th overall in the event at Aintree Racecourse.
There were PBs galore at the Preston Harriers 10 Mile Race – an event that draws runners from far and wide as the race incorporates the Northern 10 Mile Championship. Kelly Hamilton, despite only entering at the last minute, continued her outstanding year as she sliced a huge four minutes from her previous best, clocking an excellent 1:06:17 to finish 11th lady overall.
The determined Kylie Barlow was another to set a new PB of 1:12:56 with an excellent run, with sister Siân Walsh following suit to make it a great day for the family, knocking two minutes off her PB in 1:24:22.
In their seemingly endless streak of new bests, Gary Eccleston (1:19:53) and Nicola Donovan (1:27:55) once again set new marks at the 10 mile distance.
At the 13 Arches Trail Half Marathon in Radcliffe, Striders battled wintry conditions and a tough 13.1 mile course. First Strider home was Karl Bowles, who made light of the conditions to finish in 1:32 and 36th place overall. Trail specialist Kevin Brennan was next to cross the line in 1:34 for 46th place. Eric Ranson ran well in 1:40, while the sole female Strider, Ann Johnson, battled in powerful fashion up the final hill to clock an impressive 1:54.
Two Striders headed to Blackburn to compete in the inaugural Blackburn 10K. Katie Taggart continued her great year with a strong finishing 54 mins on the undsulating course, while veteran Brian Middleton’s 43:17 was enough to secure him victory in the V65 category. His excellent time would also have been enough to win the V60 category. As ever, Middleton continues to show the younger athletes a clean pair of heels.
Hills were the order of the day too in Conwy, as Danny Fegan competed in the picturesque Welsh town’s half marathon and finished in a superb 1:37, while Pete Medlicott chased him home in 1:43.
Fairclough powers across the course at Aintree
Fairclough ready for her England debut.
Striders assemble for 13 Arches Half Marathon in Radcliffe
Striders ready for the Preston 10 Mile Race.
Katie Taggart shows off her medal in Blackburn.