Striders Fly Round The Aviator 4
Following the torrential downpours and the violent thunderstorms of the night before, the Aviator 4 competitors were greeted by bright, cool but noticeably breezy conditions as they arrived at Staverton Airport to take their places on the start line for the Aviator 4 and become part of the history of CLC Striders.
With the runners poised to go, the lead-bike raring to go, and the spectators silent in anticipation, on the stroke of 10 o’clock on 8th May 2011 the sound of the claxon echoed around Staverton Airport ; with it the 68 runners were on their way, and the idea of a road race promoted by CLC Striders had turned from vision into reality.
And in Striders’ first ever road race it was a Strider who immediately took the lead. As the runners headed away from the terminal building and joined the path towards Chosen Home Farm, it was John Parker, one of the county’s leading distance runners, who, in familiarly dominant fashion, was establishing his authority on the race to put himself firmly in charge by the first bend which sees the competitors head through a half mile off-road section through farmland between the airport and Churchdown.
Parker was followed by a group of runners which included Gloucester’s Dave Gresswell, Severn AC’s Mark James and Striders’ Jon Bird and Jamie Paterson.
Within the leading group, Striders’ Eloise Du Luart was also establishing a solid lead in the quest for the women’s prize, and a number of other Striders were well within the top 30. These included Billy Bradshaw, Chris Slade and Joel Freeland in the men’s race and Lucy McNulty, Pat Woods and Amanda Steer in the women’s race.
With the route rejoining the road at Churchdown after one mile, Parker once more demonstrated his strength and application to stretch out along the long straight sections towards Badgeworth and Bamfurlong Road and open up an unassailable lead.
Behind him Gresswell, who was racing for the second day in a row, moved ahead of James who, in turn, had put clear distance between himself and the group that included Paterson, and Bird.
Meanwhile in the women’s race, Du Luart had built up a strong lead over her nearest rivals who included McNulty, Woods and Beth Wynn of Bourton Road Runners.
Following a section on the Churchdown â€“ Badgeworth road and a long undulating stretch on the Badgeworth Road, at 3 miles the route takes a sharp left onto Bamfurlong Road and after a relatively flat half-mile, rises gradually to cross the M5 for a second time before turning onto the airport road for the final 400 metre stretch.
Although predominantly flat, thanks to its exposed position by the Aviator runway, this was also one of the most windswept sections of the race.
As unperturbed as ever by the elements, Parker was by some distance the first competitor to enter the home straight and he crossed the finish line with the clock on 20:49 â€“ his average split of under 5:15 per mile an impressive feat on this deceptively undulating course.
Next to cross the line were Gresswell in 23:09 and James in 23:37; they were followed by Dan Fivey who with a time of 24:06 pipped his Up and Running colleague Jon Bird by a mere 6 seconds and finishing closely behind them were Jamie Paterson of Striders and Steve Moore, the first finisher from the strong Almost Athletes contingent.
The final top ten place was claimed by Eloise du Luart, who posted an impressive 25:30 to take 1st place in the contest for the women’s prize and break the Striders senior women’s 4-mile record in the process.
Outside the top ten there were also some compelling contests for spectators to enjoy, in particular from Bradshaw, Slade and Freeland; as they came into the final straight, there was little to separate the three runners and in spite of both Slade’s efforts to overcome the deficit and an attempt by Freeland to use his much celebrated and devastatingly effective sprint finish to make up distance , Bradshaw held off the challenge and claimed 13th place over Slade’s 14th and Freeland’s 15th. .
Coming in soon after were Striders’ next women’s finishers - Pat Woods, Amanda Steer and Lucy McNulty- who all claimed top 30 spots, McNulty’s 26:59 and Steer’s 28:15 earning them club records in their categories.
The Striders contingent was a formidable force throughout the field and there were numerous other notable performances from them including Amelia Mullins who ran well to take 32nd ; Stephen Callinan who took 34th spot on his debut for the club as well as Phil Hodder who set a club M60 record of 29:48 with his 33rd place and Derek Tebbs who set a club M50 record of 27:29 with his 20th position.
Aside from John Parker and Eloise Du Luart who both claimed first places, there were also awards for a number of other Striders â€“ Lucy Mcnulty who claimed 3rd place in the women’s race; Amanda Steer who took the L35 prize and Billy Bradshaw who took the MV40 prize.
For full race results click here