It has been a busy few weeks for St. Helens Striders as marathon season finally got under way. After a delay of almost eighteen months due to Covid-19 restrictions, the iconic London Marathon saw legions of runners descend on the capital and Striders were well represented amongst the hordes.

First Strider to stride past Buckingham Palace and cross the line at the end of the epic 26.2 mile distance was Greg Hale with an astonishing time of 2:44. Ironman Richard Seville temporarily discarded the wetsuit and bike to focus solely on running and was rewarded by breaking the elusive sub-3 hour barrier with an outstanding 2:57.

Veterans Tony Dagnall and Brenda Cahill produced their customary excellent performances to finish in 3:45 and 3:57, securing their places in next year’s race through Good For Age qualifying times. It was also a well-deserved PB for Dagnall and a V65 club record.

A week later, it was Manchester’s turn to host their mass participation marathon. The flat course attracts PB hunters from far and wide. In his first attempt at the distance, Dylan Redican was the first Strider to complete the course in 3:03, a superb debut which will no doubt lay the foundations for a sub-3 hour marathon in the near future.

Gareth Davies produced a gutsy performance after battling injury throughout the build up to clock 3:41. Garry Humphreys ran strongly to dip under the four hour mark in 3:58 with Sharon Swift close behind in 4:00. Newly-elected club chairman Mark Hamilton, also taking part in his first marathon, finished in an impressive 4:13.

Lesley McGrail, Alex Abbott and Angela Cropper put in impressive performances, while John Barr showed tremendous courage to complete the 26.2 miles despite suffering injury and having to hobble through the final stages.

The world’s biggest half marathon, The Great North Run, took place in Newcastle a couple of weeks earlier. Brenda Cahill once again excelled, finishing third in her age category in 1:47. Karen Harrison also took to the north east streets with a creditable 2:34.

Busiest of all the Striders this month was the irrepressible Kevin Brennan, tasting age category victories in back to back races. Brennan decimated his age group contemporaries in the Liverpool Skyline 10 Mile Race and the Mersey Tunnel 10K in consecutive weeks, securing top ten overall finishes in both events. To top it off, Brennan produced another superb effort to complete the Chester Marathon in 3:10.
Brennan was not the only Strider in Chester. John Barr and Brenda Cahill both ran in the half marathon event on the same day. Barr finished 2nd in his age category in a new PB of 1:45, while Brenda Cahill was not to be outdone as she also beat all but one of her age group rivals as she crossed the line in 1:47. Martin Farrar ran well to finish in 1:51.

Anthony Ellis took to the hills for the Rivington Trail Half Marathon. With course marking errors causing the race to be a mile and a half longer than advertised on an extremely hilly route, Ellis did superbly to finish in 47th place overall in an impressive time of 2:13.

Elsewhere, Jo Herriot completed the Warrington 10K in a determined 55:01.

Striders celebrate after completing the Manchester Marathon.
Striders celebrate after completing the Manchester Marathon.
Kevin Brennan ends a busy month at the Chester Marathon
Kevin Brennan ends a busy month at the Chester Marathon
John Barr, Brenda Cahill and Martin Farrar in Chester.
John Barr, Brenda Cahill and Martin Farrar in Chester.
Anthony Ellis conquers the Rivington hills.
Anthony Ellis conquers the Rivington hills.