It was another weekend of successes both at home and abroad for St. Helens Striders. The EHM Festival in nearby Warrington produced a string of fine performances across three tough courses, despite the inclement weather conditions.
In the 5km race, Martin Ballard secured an impressive top 10 finish in a time of 20:51. In the 10km event, Zoe Fillingham set a 2nd PB in as many weeks coming home in 57:52. There were also new PBs for Gary Eccleston (53:47) and Nicky Donovan (53:08). Daniel Tetlow (44:14) and Susan Kerfoot (47:22) also produced performances of note. Kelly Hamilton adopted the role of 45-minute pacer to push competitors to their target time and did so in typically enthusiastic fashion.
The main event, the half marathon, saw PBs tumble with impressive regularity. Chris Reid crossed the finish line at the historic Golden Gates in a blistering 1:36 to secure a new best at the 13.1-mile distance. Anthony Ellis was hot on his heels with his own PB of 1:37 while Karl Bowles, in his first outing in the red and black, showed his promise with a superb time of 1:40. Tony Horsfall continued his fine form, crossing the line in 1:43; a time matched by the indefatigable Claire Scott. Kevin Winstanley continued his comeback trail with a determined 2:23, taking 20 minutes off his previous half marathon time. After a 4-year hiatus at this distance, Steve Conway delighted his admirers with a dogged 2:17. There were astounding improvements from both Jane Marshall, who lowered her previous best by 4 minutes in setting a time of 2:05, and Colin Wilson, who celebrated his recent ‘Strider of the Month’ award with a breath-taking 8-minute PB of 1:43.
The intrepid Katie Taggart and Pete Medlicott formed a squadron to fly to Berlin to take part in the city’s marathon. It was a historic day as Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge demolished the marathon World Record on the streets of the handsome German capital. Equally impressive, however, was Medlicott’s first sub-4-hour clocking over 26.2 miles at the 11th attempt. He avoided hitting the wall and blazed through the finish line at the iconic Brandenburg Gate in 3:56. Taggart also completed the course, taking the opportunity to savour the sights as she cantered with consummate ease to the applause of the exuberant German crowds.