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CLC Striders Race Report from Race 1 of the Gloucestershire Cross Country League on Saturday 5 November held at Cirencester Park

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CLC Striders made a strong return to racing through the mud as the cross country season kicked off with the opening fixture of the Gloucestershire League on Saturday 5 November 2022.

With both the Men’s and Women’s teams in action, it was great to have a mix of seasoned veterans, cross country debutants and new club members lacing up their spikes to represent the club.

Given that it had (seemingly) rained non-stop for the past week or so, those turning out expected some challenging conditions underfoot. But the superbly planned course, in the stunning Cirencester Park, held up pretty well – and no lifeguard was required on the day!

Following a slight delay to the start time, first off for the Striders was the 10-strong Women’s team, racing alongside Super-Veteran and International Masters athlete David James in the men’s 65+ competition.

Leading the Striders ladies home was Helen Knight in 38th place, closely followed by fellow A-Team scorers Liza Bradshaw in 40th and Kate Telford in 46th to secure an 8th placed team finish (6th A Team). The trio all finished within the top 5 of their respective age categories on the day and finished as the 3rd placed Masters Team so expectations for team medals at the end of the season are already riding high.

Rachel Vines, Amelia Mullins and Fiona Brady-Miller made up the ladies B team, with Mullins finishing first in her age category.

Charlotte Kerr, Emma Abbey, Rebecca Reynolds and Charlie Hayward all ran strongly to complete the team effort for the ladies.

Meanwhile, David James, fresh from his recent England Masters Team call up (and a bout of COVID to boot), ran superbly to finish 3rd in his age category.

Next up it was the turn of the Striders men to take to the field, in an eventful race with no less than three footwear mishaps! A year on from his Striders club debut at the same venue, Rob Barnett led the team home strongly in a fine 53rd place (five minutes faster than his time in 2021). Barnett was followed home by Rob Finch who has made significant gains since his return to club running with CLC. Finch crossed the line in 58th position after a fantastic run in his favoured off-road conditions.

Despite losing a shoe in ankle-deep mud on the first of the three laps, Striders newcomer Alex Johnston battled back well to finish in 82nd place. Paul Lockyer in 111th, Paul Northup in 118th, and Joel Freeland in 128th made up the scoring A-team for the Striders on the day, as they finished a 15th team overall (10th placed A-team).

Despite being one short of a full scoring B-team, the Striders men were backed up strongly by Nick Ledwold in 140th, Adam Greenwood in 151st, Eoin McQuone in 179th, Dominico Geracitano in 189th and Mike Speke in 199th

The Strider’s Men’s Masters team of Lockyer, Northup, McQuone and Geracitano finished as 15th placed team in the Masters competition.