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CLC Striders race round up - For the weekend of 2 December 2023

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Midland and Birmingham Cross Country Leagues (Division One, Race Day 2) Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton - Saturday 2 December 2023

On a bitterly cold but crisp and clear early December day, it was time for CLC Striders to journey northward to race in the second fixture of the ultra-competitive Division One regional cross country leagues. The fixture was hosted by Wolverhampton and Bilston athletic club on a course that used the parkland around the Aldersley Stadium. Conditions underfoot were firm, after a few nights of frost and sub-zero temperatures.

As usual, first it was the turn of the ladies…

Once again, the CLC Striders ladies were led home by Helen Knight, in a time of 27:10 for 26th place overall and as 4thin the Masters category. Kate Telford was next in 27:59, for 42nd place overall and as 13th in the Masters. Liza Bradshaw clocked 28:14 for 50th overall and 14th in the Masters, Rachel Vines finished in 28:58 in 68th overall as 21stin the Masters, and Steph Parker was 108th overall and 40th in the Masters in 31:55.

Overall, the ladies were the 10th placed team of 18, but were 2nd in the Masters category. A really good day out in the toughest of leagues.

Next, it was the turn of the men, with many of the club’s strongest runners competing in other events elsewhere on the weekend. Sam Baylis continued his really strong start to the cross country season by leading the team home, finishing in 103rd place in an impressive time of 36:41. The remaining five scorers for the A team on the day finished in relatively close order – Paul Lockyer in 197th, Aled Leaver in 198th, Gary Farquharson in 201st , Richard Aarons in 211th, and Tim Brock in 217th. The B team runners on the day were Robert Hyams, Jack Wilde and super-vet David James. Overall, the team finished 16th in the Senior field and 10th in the Masters.

Ladies XC team

Pictured, the ladies team, from left to right: Steph Parker, Kate Telford, Helen Knight, Rachel Vines and Liza Bradshaw

Mens XC team

Pictured, the men’s team, from left to right: Aled Leaver, David James, Tim Brock, Paul Lockyer, Jack Wilde, Robert Hyams, Dan Bazzard, Richard Aarons and Sam Baylis.

Meanwhile, elsewhere…

Salisbury Plain Trail Marathon – Winter Edition - Saturday 2 December 2023

Rob Bircher, the club’s ultra specialist, used the Salisbury Plain Trail Marathon (Winter Edition), as a chatty training run in temperatures well below zero, running through banks of freezing fog.

La Saintélyon - Saturday 2 December 2023

Much further south, the club’s emergent ultra-man, Ollie Watkins, faced freezing conditions in the iconic La Saintélyon – a night-time run between Saint-Etienne and Lyon. Despite falling a few times on the very icy trails, the last time hurting himself badly, he managed to battle through the remaining 22 miles to complete this gruelling event in one piece. Just.

Valencia Marathon - Sunday 3 December 2023

Perhaps the performance of the weekend came from Alex Johnston in the Valencia Marathon. Having prepared meticulously, Alex ran a perfectly judged race, keeping his pace absolutely steady and metronomic from start to finish. In the end, he achieved a brilliant PB time of 2:43:30.

Alex Johnston Valencia marathon