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CLC Striders Race Report from Gloucestershire County Cross Country Championship held on Saturday 7th January at Cotswold Farm Park

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There was a great haul of team and individual medals picked up by the Striders at the Gloucestershire County Cross Country Championship held on Saturday 7th January at Cotswold Farm Park.

Under grey skies and with storm clouds looming, the first race of the afternoon to see Striders in action was the Women’s race which was combined with the Men’s 65+ race. Despite there being a smaller field of competitors than the league matches we are used to, there was still a tough test for the Striders, with medals and possible selection to represent Gloucestershire at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championship in March on offer for those racing.

The starter’s gun seemed to be a signal for the heavens to open, as the pack accelerated into driving rain and strong gusts on their pursuit for County glory Running on an updated variation of the Cotswold Farm Park course, the Striders ladies battled the elements brilliantly and were led home in style by Helen Knight who was 6th female to finish and in doing so claimed county gold medal in her LV40 category.

Kate Telford and Liza Bradshaw promptly followed across the finish line in 8th and 10th positions respectively. The Striders ladies would finish third placed ladies team on the day resulting in county bronze medals. The same trio did however win the County Championship in the Masters Ladies team event.

The supporting cast of Striders ladies were not far behind with team captain Rachel Vines crossing the line in 13th position, Amelia Mullins in 29th and Fiona Brady-Miller in 32nd.

Running amongst the Ladies race was International masters athlete David James, who finished first in his age category for a 6th time to claim yet another gold medal They were individual medals for many of the Striders taking part in this Championship race with Knight (LV40 Gold), Telford (LV35 Silver), Bradshaw (LV35 Bronze), Vines (LV40 Silver), Mullins (LV50 Gold) and James (MV70 Gold) all securing medals for their efforts.

In the next race up, there was a small but committed turnout from the Striders men’s squad, with many saving themselves for a crucial Birmingham League XC fixture next weekend.

Almost unbelievably the weather turned dramatically for the better and the race set off with the athletes bathed in sunshine.

Making their way through just over 9 kilometres of heavy ground, the Striders men battled brilliantly to establish their positions and Rob Green ran a superbly paced race to finish 3rd overall on the day but he would be crowned as County Champion as he was beaten only by two guest runners, themselves ineligible for medals.

Following the champ home for the Striders was Tom Burgess, returning to fine form following a prolonged injury recovery, in an excellent 8th place overall. This would see Tom awarded the county bronze for the Senior Male category. The men’s quartet was completed with Nick Ledwold finishing in 42nd and Captain Will Pearce in 54th All eyes now turn to the Men’s and Women’s team push for promotion in their respective Birmingham League and Midland League cross country fixtures next weekend