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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St Helens Striders