Running vests swapped for suits and posh frocks as St Albans Striders honour club’s stars

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:00 21 November 2018

St Albans Striders' Graham Smith presents Wai Meng Au-Yeong with the inaugural John Hope Award at the club's annual presentation dinner.

St Albans Striders' Graham Smith presents Wai Meng Au-Yeong with the inaugural John Hope Award at the club's annual presentation dinner.

Archant

St Albans Striders honoured their many stars of the season at their annual awards dinner.

St Albans Striders' Graham Smith and Deirdre Heydecker at the club's annual presentation dinner.St Albans Striders' Graham Smith and Deirdre Heydecker at the club's annual presentation dinner.

Nigel Aston and Magdalena Petrus took home the awards for the most improved male and female athletes.

Aston has gone from strength to strength this year, setting new personal bests in every distance more than once.

Petrus meanwhile did her first sub-25 minute 5K and took 15 minutes off both her half marathon and marathon PBs in Nottingham and New York.

Jen Conway is female athlete of the year after winning the Welwyn 10K and coming second in the Herts 10k and fourth overall in this year’s Mid Week Road Race League (MWRRL).

St Albans Striders' Magdalena Petrus (centre) was named most improved female athlete at the club's annual presentation dinner.St Albans Striders' Magdalena Petrus (centre) was named most improved female athlete at the club's annual presentation dinner.

She also smashed her half marathon PB by four minutes at Nottingham in September.

The male athlete of the year went to Jonathan Scott after topping the MWRRL and coming a narrow third in last season’s Chiltern Cross Country League.

Scott also won the Welwyn 10k and has broken several of the club’s MV40 records.

Michelle Martin is volunteer of the year for outstanding service in a number of roles while outgoing chairman Graham Smith was presented with the Strider of the year award for his hard work and dedication in organising the club.

A new award this year honoured John Hope, a long-running Strider who passed away in November 2017 after a battle with cancer.

Subtitled the ‘Spirit of Striders’, the inaugural John Hope Award was given to Wai Meng Au-Yeong for her loud encouragement and ongoing commitment to turn up at races even when she isn’t running.

Finally there were two inductees to the Striders hall of fame.

Liz Walls joined the club in the eighties and has run more cross country fixtures than anyone else.

She is a regular scorer for the women’s team in the MWRRL and won several marathons including Luton in 2001.

She still holds the club’s FV45 20-mile record.

Deirdre Heydecker is a true talent at all distances.

She holds the current FV55 Striders club records for 5km, five miles, 10 miles, half marathon, 20 miles and marathon.

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