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CLC Striders race round up - For the weekend of 11 November 2023

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Midland and Birmingham Cross Country Leagues, Division 1, Race Day 1 - Pittville Park, Cheltenham

A beautiful and sunny Saturday Armistice Day also marked a momentous day in the history of CLC Striders, as both the women’s and men’s teams lined up to compete in the top division of their regional leagues against the best clubs from the Midlands area. It was a proud day for this small and inclusive running club from Cheltenham. And, after weeks of heavy rain, the ground was heavy but not too muddy.

First to do battle were the ladies. The first scoring ladies home were Helen Knight in a time of 27:21 in 39th place overall as 4th in her Masters category. Next was Kate Telford in 28:29 in 66th place overall and 14th in the Masters. Liza Bradshaw was just seconds behind in 28:35, for 70thplace overall and 16th in the Masters. And the fourth scoring finisher was captain Rachel Vines in 29:00 dead for 84th place overall and 19th in the Masters. This was an amazingly strong start to the season, with the Masters achieving 2nd place in their category.

The remaining seven Striders ladies all ran well, too, with Rachael Cary finishing 122nd, Fiona Brady-Miller in 128th, Steph Parker in 129th, Laura Leaver in 160th, Emma Abbey in 161st, Nicola Weaver in 169th and Rebecca Reynolds in 174th. In the overall team standings the CLC Striders ladies came 8th out of the 18 of the best teams in the Midland region.

Next it was the turn of the men – on their first ever outing in Division 1 of the Birmingham League and up against the best of the best from across the region.

At the time of writing the results for the men’s race are still not published, but the scoring six athletes for the A-team, in order of finishing, were the ever-reliable Rob Green, Will Ferguson, Joe Willgoss (just three days after becoming a first-time dad), Sam Baylis (with a storming run), Alex Johnston (deep into his training for the Valencia Marathon), and Iain Porter.

The six B-team scorers on the day were Rob Barnett, Ben Cooper (making his cross-country debut for the club), John Comer, Will Pearce, Paul Lockyer and Richard Aarons. Such was the excitement about their Division One debut, the club managed to field a further six finishers in Aled Leaver, Joel Freeland, Gary Farquharson, Jack Wilde (also making his cross-country debut for the club), Tim Brock, and Eoin McQuone. And club super-vet David James also ran in his V70 category.

With an A team score on the day of 655 points, the Striders find themselves in 15th position in the league of 16 and unsurprisingly given the calibre of the division will be battling it out for league survival this season

The Striders Masters team of Green, Ferguson, Porter and Pearce ranked 3rd out of 11 teams on the day

It was strong start in this highly competitive league and look forward to racing again in Wolverhampton on 2 December 2023

Ladies XC team

Pictured, the ladies team, from left to right: Fiona Brady-Miller, Nicola Weaver, Emma Abbey, Laura Leaver, Rachael Cary, Helen Knight, Kate Telford, Rachel Vines, Steph Parker, Rebecca Reynolds and Liza Bradshaw

Mens XC team

Pictured, the men’s team, from left to right: Back Row – Rob Green, Tim Brock, David James, Alex Johnston, Joe Willgoss, Rob Barnett, Aled Leaver, Gary Farquhason, Paul Lockyer, Iain Peter, Jack Wilde From Row – Adam Greenwood, Will Pearce, John Comer, Eoin McQuone, Will Ferguson

Brecon Mountain Trail Marathon

Meanwhile, over in Wales, club ultra-man Rob Bircher was running in the Brecon Mountain Trail Marathon, starting in Talybont and following the Beacons way up and over Tor y Foel, through Talybont Forest, Talybont Fechan Forest, then up to Pen yFan via Cribyn and down some extremely technical trails back to Talybont and the finish. With over 4,500 feet of ascent, it was a tough event and Rob loved every minute of it.