Hamilton Sweeps the Board at Striders’ Presentation Day

Hamilton Sweeps the Board at Striders’ Presentation Day


The last turn of the calendar traditionally brings great excitement for St. Helens Striders with the Christmas Party followed by the chance to celebrate members’ athletic achievements at the annual presentation afternoon.

Big winner of the day was Kelly Hamilton who was voted Strider of the Year by her fellow members for a second consecutive year. The award was testament to Hamilton’s unwavering support of her clubmates alongside her own outstanding achievements. Hamilton’s success didn’t end there – she scooped the Striders Grand Prix title for the fastest combined time over the Half Marathon, 10 Miles, 10K and 5 Mile distances.

The Grand Prix competition for the men saw Chris Hazeldine claim the title as the runaway winner. With consistently outstanding performances across the year, the result was never in doubt. In the age graded awards, to celebrate the best performances adjusted for age, Brian Middleton and Brenda Cahill were crowned champions.

The Mini Grand Prix was a hard fought competition, with Striders battling it out to record the fastest combined time over the 5k, 5 Mile, and 10k distances. For the women, pocket dynamo Wendy Davies claimed the prize, while Kane Green was victorious for the men.

The ‘New Strider of the Year’ award gives members a one-off chance to bag the trophy, before joining the grizzled ranks of Strider stalwarts. 2019’s well deserved winner was the veteran John Barr, who has thrown himself with gusto into the club’s activities, and claimed the prize to rapturous applause.

The popular Striders Handicaps, organised by club legend Frank McAllister, sees Striders take part in races with members setting off at intervals based on their fastest times. Peter Teeling and Sharron Burt were rewarded for their victories in the Summer Handicap, while Tony Dagnall and Brenda Cahill received their trophies for their recent Christmas handicap wins.

The awards for ‘Most Improved’ also saw popular winners. Gary Eccleston, seemingly beating his PBs on a weekly basis of late, and Lisa Glover, for her meteoric improvement at Parkrun over the year where the worthy winners.

there were three awards for ‘Photo of the Year’ and winners Katie Taggart and Pete Medlicott, Jo Herriot, and Eric Ranson received a mug with their winning photos emblazoned on it.

Last, and certainly not least, the Jim Crehan Award for Outstanding Contribution was handed to Brian Middleton for his exceptional work behind the scenes to improve and promote the club, alongside his decades of athletic success with Striders.

A day earlier, a trio of Striders headed into Lancashire to take on the Wesham 10K. In dazzling winter sunshine, David Wilson hurtled through the fresh and glittering air to race to a fantastic new PB of 34:30 and a 7th place finish. Not to be outdone, the rapidly imoroving Dylan Redican secured an outstanding new PB of 36:32 to finish in 12th place overall. Emma Callery, in the form of her life, completed a hat-trick of new bests as she powered home in 43:36 to complete a successful morning for the club.

At the Myerscroft 10 mile, Brian Middleton once again performed superbly to cross the line in 1:09 – a time that a man half his age would be proud of. It was yet another V65 category victory for Middleton, who continues to show the younger athletes a clean pair of heels.

Katie Taggart ended the year in style at the Oulton Park Half Marathon. Motoring around the course more renowned for high powered cars than neon clad runners, Taggart ran her fastes time in more than 3 years at the distance, taking the chequered flag in 1:57.  

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Kelly Hamilton named ‘Strider of the Year’

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Katie Taggart takes to the podium at Oulton Park.

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Dylan Redican, Dave Wilson and Emma Callery brave the cold at Wesham 10K.

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Katie Taggart and Pete Medlicott’s ‘Photo of the Year’

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Eric Ranson’s ‘Photo of the Year’

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Jo Herriot’s ‘Photo of the year’

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A high class field of athletes from across the country assembled at the Wilmslow 10K on Sunday aiming for strong performances on the notoriously fast course and a small group of Striders travelled down to compete. Perfect conditions made for an ideal tilt at a good time. First Strider home was Kane Green, getting closer to his best after a summer plagued by injury, in 35:25. Kelly Hamilton ran superbly to finish agonisingly close to her PB in 39:46, finishing in the top 10 ladies in the process. Producing a season’s best at the distance, Anthony Ellis finished strongly to cross the line in 41:58. Despite entering at the last minute, the determined Wendy Davies showed her talent with an excellent 47:05.

Conditions were somewhat different closer to home at the Festive Flash Five Mile Race at Pennington Flash. The recent inclement weather made for muddy trails and uneven surfaces at the popular local event. Hannah Whittaker returned to the scene of her victory in the summer renewal of this event after a recent return to action following an autumn beset by injury. She put in an excellent display to finish 3rd lady in 35:32. Kylie Barlow chased her all the way and delighted her friends and family with a highly creditable 4th place finish in 36:33. Third Strider back for the women was Ann Johnson, who splashed through the slutch to post 41:06 for an impressive top 10 finish. there were other notable performances from the female Striders. Amanda Coogan laid some demons to rest as she tackled the challenging terrain and coming through unscathed after a recent broken ankle in 51:32. Sharon O’Connell made light of the mire with a fleet footed 41:40 while mudlark Karen Harrison was as happy as the proverbial pig as she crossed the line in 54:45.

For the men, king of the trails Kevin Brennan was first Strider to finish in 5th place, clocking a rapid 33:10 with Eric Ranson close behind in 34:30 for 7th place overall. Third to finish for Striders was Aaron ‘Guardiola’ Scott, upping his game as his long-suffering wife Claire and their tribe of angelic children cheered him on from their marshalling positions.

On Saturday, the British Athletics Cross Country Challenge took place at Sefton Park in Liverpool. The event forms the qualifying trial for the European Cross Country Championships, so some of Britain’s top athletes converged on the city to earn their places in the prestigious event. Rachael Fairclough continued her excellent cross country season to finish in 90th place overall – a superb achievement competing against the best the UK has to offer. Peter Fairclough and Mark Riley also travelled to the event and put in their customary excellent performances.

Wilmslow 10K photos courtesy of Mick Hall Photos:

https://www.mickhall-photos.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mickhallphotos/

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Striders ready to tackle the mud at the Festive Flash Five at Pennington.
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Kelly Hamilton storms to tenth place in Wilmslow.
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Kane Green battles a rival at Wilmslow.
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Wendy Davies glides towards the finish at Wilmslow.
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Rachael Fairclough battles Britain’s best at the Cross Challenge.
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Fairclough Stars for England Masters


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.   

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Fairclough powers across the course at Aintree

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Fairclough ready for her England debut.

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Striders assemble for 13 Arches Half Marathon in Radcliffe

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Striders ready for the Preston 10 Mile Race.

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Katie Taggart shows off her medal in Blackburn.

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Crehan and Gawthorne Victorious at Strider Trail 5

Sunday saw the St. Helens Striders 5 Mile Trail Race return for it’s 4th instalment on a bright autumn morning down at Sankey Valley. Despite the perfect weather on the day, heavy rain in the days leading up to the event made for tricky underfoot conditions.

St. Helens Sutton A.C.’s Matthew Crehan once again showed his class to claim a 3rd victory in the race. Establishing a big lead from the off, his rivals were unable to come close as he stormed home in 28:43. It was a 1-2 for Sutton as Charlie Roberts was next to cross the line in 30:33. It was only Thomas Dempsey of Kirkby Milers who prevented a total Sutton domination of the podium with a fast finishing 31:41 to claim 3rd in front of David Twigg.

In the ladies’ race, last year’s champion returned to defend her title. Lisa Gawthorne of Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton Harriers made light work of the mud to dominate the race and once again claim victory in an impressive 36:44. Liz Whitfield of Warrington’s Spectrum Striders earned a hard fought 2nd place in 38:52, with Jennifer Brady of Liverpool Running Bugs claiming 3rd.

There was further success in the age group categories for Sutton as Chris Birkett claimed the V40 prize sfter finishing in 6th place overall and Chris Reid bagging the V55 win to cap a great day for the club. Other winners included Robert Hough (V45) and Alan Brady (V65)of Spectrum Striders , Christopher Lee of Liverpool Running Bugs (V50) and Anthony Beyga of Kirkby Milers (V60).

For the ladies, Pat Helsby of Kirkby Milers produced a sensational performance to finish first in the V60 race, ahead of the winners of other younger age categories. Kate Johnson of Spectrum Striders earned the V45 prize, with clubmate Eleanor Roberts claiming the V50 win. Other winners were Tracey Carr of Liverpool Running Bugs (V55) and Cath Boland of time2run (V65).

With members of St.Helens Striders employed in organising and marshalling the race, there was the chance for one lucky Strider to win a golden ticket entry to the race through a club raffle which raised £174 for the St. Helens Young Carers Charity. Mark Hamilton was the winner, and was cheered on enthusiastically by his teammates out on the course to finish in 51st place overall.

Fast start at the Strider Trail 5 Mile Race
Matthew Crehan out of sight of his rivals.
Ladies champion Lisa Gawthorne on her way to victory.
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