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Race report from weekend of 23 and 24 March 2024

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Fission 20 and half Marathon / Cleevewold / Forest of Dean Trail Half / And some Ultras!

In typical CLC Striders fashion, this last weekend (23 and 24 March 2024) saw runners from the club racing in a wide variety of events – both close to home and abroad.

Perfect for all those in training for spring marathons, Saturday 23 March saw the Fission 20-mile and Half Marathon races held on a really windy morning around the quiet country lanes south of Berkeley. Four Striders competed in the 20-mile distance, winning the second team prize in a big and competitive field on the day.

Individually, Joe Willgoss finished first for the club with a top-10 placing, just outside the two-hour mark, in 2 hours 11 seconds. He was followed home by Rob Barnett in a time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 37 seconds – 2 minutes faster than his time in the event last year. Club Captain Will Pearce clocked 2 hours, 14 minutes, 34 seconds and Richard Aarons, racing this distance for the first ever time, finished in a solid 2 hours, 16 minutes, 21 seconds. The only CLC Strider in the Half Marathon distance, Paul Northup, went sub-90 minutes with a time of 1:29:15 for second V50 finisher on the day.

On Sunday 24 March, it was the turn of the hill and trail runners to compete in the annual Cleevewold race hosted by Cheltenham Harriers. The wind had eased and the sun shone for the event. At the time of writing, results are yet to be published, but Helen Knight was the first lady finisher overall and Fiona Brady-Miller was third lady. Alex Doherty, Tom Fletcher and Gavin Jerman also ran great races for the club – and the mixed team of Helen, Alex and Tom won the first team prize. A great morning’s work for CLC Striders in a great local event.

Slightly further afield on the other side of the county, Rich Elsworthy and Jon and Helen Howes took to the forest trails for the Forest of Dean Spring Half Marathon. Over a challenging and undulating course, Rich clocked a fast 1:21:58, Jon continued his strong comeback in 1:27:56 for third place in his MV45 category, and Helen ran a sub-two-hour half in a time of 1:57:51.

Meanwhile, the club’s Ultra specialists were putting themselves to the test this weekend, too – Rob Bircher in the Fallout Ultra in Oxfordshire and Ollie Watkins in the Ultra Trail Chianti Castles event in Italy. After an illness-interrupted training block, Ollie battled through to drag himself to the end of the 100k course in a time of 14 and a half hours-ish. While Rob, kitted out in a full hazmat suit, had to make his way as far away from the site of an imagined nuclear event (at Harwell, south Oxfordshire) and get outside of a 40-mile imaginary exclusion zone (as the crow flies) as soon as he could. He managed 46 miles, just to be sure, ending up somewhere near Banbury.

Cleevewold 2024

Pictured at the Cleevewold Race, from left to right: Tom Fletcher, Alex Doherty, Helen Knight, Fiona Brady-Miller and Gavin Jerman