A number of St. Helens Striders faced epic challenges over the weekend, made even more difficult by the soaring temperatures of a British July heatwave.

Kevin Brennan, Striders’ Ultra King, headed to the Lake District to tackle the Lakeland 50 Mile race – the fourth time he has competed in the gruelling event. The vertiginous hills and oppressive heat proved no match for Brennan’s dogged determination as he sailed around the course in a superb 11:16:22.

Anthony Ellis and John Williams travelled to Derbyshire to take part in the annual Thunder Run – an event which requires relay teams to run continuous 10K trail loops for 24 hours. Ellis and Williams were forced to recruit a team member after a late drop out. Mike Gittins, who is not a regular runner, answered the SOS call and helped them to cover a mammoth 150km over the course of the day and night.

Closer to home, some of Striders’ veterans once again brought home the spoils from the Aintree 5K, held at the world famous home of the Grand National. John Barr (22:24) and Brenda Cahill (23:55) both set new Personal Bests as they passed the winning post ahead of all their rivals to claim victory in their age categories. Sharon Swift also cantered to a new PB of 23:14, to claim 2nd place in her age category. The going was good for a number of other Striders. Katie Taggart’s run of PBs continued as she stormed the final furlong to finish in 24:33, with Martin Farrar only a short head behind in 24:41. Dean Thackeray was the final Strider to earn a PB with an excellent 23:36, while Lesley McGrail continued her rapid improvement with a strong finishing 28:26.

Performance of the day came from the lone Strider in the Half Marathon at the same Aintree event. Shaun Phoenix covered the 13.1 miles in a blistering time of 1:19 to finish in 9th place overall in a strong field.

On the day that St. Helens’ beloved Parkrun returned to Victoria Park after an 18 month hiatus, the popular Peter Teeling reached an astonishing personal milestone as he completed his 250th Parkrun.

Kevin Brennan still looking fresh after 50 miles of hills.

Thunder Runners Anthony Ellis, John Williams and Mike Gittins.

Smiling Striders celebrate their successful day at the races.