St Albans Striders make home advantage pay off

Double success for Striders’ members

HALF MARATHON: THE St Albans Striders made the most of the home advantage on Sunday, taking home both the ladies’ and men’s team trophies in the St Albans Half Marathon.

On what is acknowledged to be a tough and hilly course, runners from the local club outdid themselves in posting a number of impressive times.

There was a trio of good performances from Joe Dunne (1:36:34), Ciara Moriarty (1:36:50) and Ross Taylor (1:38:05), with Howard Bull (1:43:47) and Gladstone Thompson (1:38:36) also recording new personal bests.

At the sharp end of the race Simon Riley suffered a chip time malfunction but a strong finish saw him take third place overall. Blake Vivian (1:15:50) and Jonathan Scott (1:16:24) also ran well to make the top 10 and contribute to the winning team.

Not much further back Colin Braybrook scored a new male vet 50+ Club Record, but he was also the victim of a chip problem and his official time is yet to be confirmed. Christopher Tilbrook (1:22:30) had a good run as well to take sixth place in the M41-49 category.

On the ladies’ side there were a clutch of individual prizes, with Sally Onn (1:26:45) finishing second female overall and Anna Ward (1:33:26) and Claire Kremer (1:36:26) taking second and third respectively in the female vet 35-44 category. There was also success in the next age group up, where Deborah Steer (1:28:55) took the first prize and Zoe Lowe (1:31:08) was third.

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In fact, the strength of the Striders ladies was such that they also won the runners-up ladies’ team trophy, with Anna Styles’ 1:36:50 contributing to that success.

Also in action were the younger St Albans athletes. Although Verulanium park was not blessed with the usual hot June sunshine nothing was going to dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of the youngsters as they prepared for the 5km and 3km around the park.

With several trophies up for grabs there was a real sense of friendly rivalry amongst the team.

In the 5km which resembled a cross country race taking in two long hills up to the top of Bluehouse Hill, Robin O’Connor and Jack Gentle ran side by side for the first 3km before Robin picked up the pace to win the race in an impressive 17.20 .

Jack Gentle finished in second in a time of 17.43 followed in third by a determined Andrew Wheatcroft in 19.00. Fourth place went Matt Cloke in 19.32.

Not to be out done by the boys the girls also dominated the podium with Laura Farrar winning the 17+ age group in 19.15, Megan Steer winning the 13-16 in 20.33, Hannah Hull taking third in 21.12 and Naomi Baker fourth in 22.46.

In the 3km fun run Ricardo James and Adam Wilmshurst had a sprint to the line to take first and second respectively.

The girls also dominated the podium with Tabitha Weddell first, Eleanor Hobbs second and Jessica Laitner third.