Striders Soak Up the Sun in Southport
A large contingent of Striders enjoyed a trip to the coast on Sunday to take part in the ever popular Southport Half Marathon. With suncream applied in advance of the forecast warm conditions, they stepped into the fresh and glittering seaside air ready to take on the 13.1 mile course.
On a rare outing on the roads, resident mountain goat Kevin Brennan was first Strider to cross the line in an outstanding 1:26, claiming the club V50 age group record in the process.
First female to finish for Striders was Hannah Whittaker in 1:35. Despite a long absence from racing, Whittaker acquitted herself superbly and will no doubt soon be back to her best, challenging for podium places.
Age category success was secured for Tony Dagnall, beating every one his V65 rivals on his way to an excellent 1:43, while John Barr’s 1:46 was enough to secure 2nd place in the V70 category.
There was a new milestone at the half marathon distance for Katie Taggart. Her 1:54 was her fastest 13.1 miles since 2015, and she was supported in her tremendous performance by good friend and training partner, Pete Medlicott, who ran alongside her every step of the way.
Darren Eckersley produced one of the performances of the day, obliterating his previous PB by five minutes, as he raced to an impressive 1:31.
A day of firsts saw Jackie Ellis complete her maiden half marathon, and clocking a 2:25 finish, while Ian Burt was overjoyed to achieve his first sub-two hour time in 1:58. The Ellis family was also represented by Anthony Ellis, who stormed to a 1:35 finish.
There were excellent performances also from Brenda Cahill in 2:00 and Jo Herriott in 2:11.
Husband and wife duo Gareth and Michele Davies also made the trip, with Gareth blazing to a 1:34 in the half marathon, while Michele completed the 10K event in 1:01.
For many of the Striders athletes, the Southport Half Marathon was the first race of the legendary Tour of Merseyside: a gruelling series of 6 races over 7 days totalling 52 miles. So after the race it was time to shake the sand from the running shoes and begin to prepare for the next day’s 6 mile race on the Wirral.