Midland League Div 2 Race 2, Clopton Park, Stratford, 2 Dec 2017
Saturday 2 December saw the Striders Men’s and Ladies teams make the short trip north to Stratford upon Avon for the second race in the Midland Cross Country League Division 2, held over the rolling parkland at Clopton Park on the edge of the historic town.
On a grey, drizzly and misty afternoon, both teams battled hard to win some hard-earned results over what is surely one of the best cross country courses around. Not only does the course boast some testing climbs and descents, but it is peppered with grassed over tree roots and ridge-and-furrow undulation, making it hard to get into a rhythm and requiring total concentration, grit and determination.
Pictured, left to right: Cerys Jones, Jill Hooper, Laura Fletcher, Helen Knight, Amelia Mullins, Patricia Sturgess, Nicola Weager, Amanda Steer, Emma Abbey, Karlien Heyrman.
Running two big loops of the course, the CLC Ladies once again set the standard in their race and once again they were led home with a superb performance from Karlien Heyrman, finishing 16th overall and 7th senior lady in a sub-30-minute time of 29:14. Next home for the Striders on the day was a determined Patricia Sturgess, 22nd overall and 12th masters finisher in 30:11. Close behind was Helen Knight, 26th overall and 16th masters finisher in 30:32. Then came the seasoned pair of Amanda Steer, 35th overall and 20th masters lady in 31:50 and Amelia Mullins, 36th overall and 21st masters lady in 32:05. The sixth finisher for the A Team was the improving Nicola Weager, 48th overall and 15th seniors in a time of 33:20.
The B Team runners on the day finished as follows: Laura Fletcher was 58th overall and 19th senior in 33:55; Emma Abbey was 62nd overall and 40th masters finisher in in 34:22; Jill Hooper was 92nd overall and 27th seniors in 35:54; and Cerys Jones was 115th overall and 74th masters finisher in 38:27.
Overall, the CLC Ladies maintained their impressive 3rd position in the division.
Pictured, left to right: Back row – Paul Northup, Will Ferguson, Iain Porter, Bradley Coates, Paul Lockyer, Charles Goodwin, Tom Vickers, Martin Bick, Andrew Gage; Front row – Kyle Sollars, Mark Fuller, JJ Willson, coach Brendon Ward, Tom Fletcher and Javid Norat.
And then it was the turn of the men, who were led home in 9th and 15th places by Will Ferguson and Iain Porter in 36:35 and 37:14 respectively. On a course with so many ups and downs and twists and turns, Fergusson struggled to really open out, while Porter (with his club nickname of The Mountain Goat) thrived over the hilly terrain.
Performance of the day for the men came from club newbie, Tom Fletcher who blasted round to a top 100 finish in 84th place and a time of 40:46. He was followed home by the club’s fourth top 100 finisher, Mark Fuller, in 97th place and a time of 41:31. Vets Charles Goodwin and Paul Northup completed the scoring six for the A Team with Goodwin bagging a strong 116th position in a time of 42:16 and Northup a minute behind in 142nd place and a time of 43:18.
The B Team finishers were led home by Tom Vickers in 151st place and a time of 43:41 and Paul Lockyer in 154th in a time of 43:49. The next four CLC finishers for the B Team were Javid Norat in 197th in 46:23, John JJ Willson in 206th 47:05, Andrew Gage in 252nd in 51:58, and Kyle Sollars in 257th in 52:29. Martin Bick and Bradley Coates also ran for the club, finishing in 264th and 270th respectively in times of 53:29 and 54:48.
On the day the men’s A Team finished 11th and the B Team 10th. And, after the second race of the league, the A Team remain in 9th place overall and the B Team are in 19th place. While Will Ferguson is in 5th place and Iain Porter is in 10th place overall in the individual standings at the end of 2017.