Striders smash records

RUNNING: Fifteen of the St. Albans Striders travelled to the Scottish capital at the weekend to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon.

Although the course is famously flat, the runners faced brutal 22mph headwinds in the last eight miles, which meant some herculean efforts were required to reach the finish line.

Despite the tough conditions, there were some excellent performances from the St. Albans runners. Nikki Carter ducked under the 3 hours 30 mark for the first time while Judith Beard achieved a similar feat in beating four hours.

Meanwhile, training partners Claire Kremer and Helen Varley both excelled to finish in 3 hours 42 and 3 hours 43 respectively. Ever-improving Gladstone Thompson also smashed through the 3 hours 45 mark in a new personal best time.

Having qualified for an elite place, Striders’ chairman Sally Onn also posted a new personal best of 3 hours 2 minutes, but just missed out on the prize money in placing 11th female.

Deirdre Heydecker also continued to impress with an 8th place in the competitive FV55 category and a strong 3 hours 37 clocking.

Elsewhere there were noteworthy runs from Martin Whitworth (3:07), Ian Hider (3:23), Andy Jordan (3:39), Ray Marshall (4:00), Emma Ward (4:02), Shane Ryan (4:08), Katie Chilton (4:15) and Luke Hart (4:56).

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Defending champions St. Albans Striders have made a promising start to their 2011 Midweek Road Race League campaign. The League pits the top running clubs from Herts and Essex against one another over five evening fixtures in the summer months.

Although finishing only second in both the ladies’ and men’s sections at the opening race in Stevenage, the Striders were lacking a number of their fastest athletes, so the overall result was encouraging. The second fixture at Bishop’s Stortford last week was less successful, with the ladies again in second, but the men only managing third.

At Stevenage, leading from the front, men’s captain Paul Adams was first Strider home in 33:15, finishing second overall. He was closely followed by Simon Riley, who continued his recent run of good form to post an impressive 33:48. Jonathan Scott, Blake Vivian and Pablo Plaza Lastras also made the top ten in a high quality race.

Further back but still running well, the men’s scoring twelve was completed by Gary Warren, Grant West, John Ockenden, Stuart Wright, Richard Harry, Matt Ennion and John Jones, all well under 39 minutes despite recent marathons still in the legs.

At Bishop’s Stortford, Paul Adams went one better to win the race overall. Simon Riley again performed well in third, with Blake Vivian in fifth. New member Steve Cochrell was next Strider home in a promising 36:08, with Gary Warren, John Ockenden and John Jones all looking very comfortable despite a hilly course. Colin Braybrook, Neil Campbell, Simon Warner, Joe Dunne and Stuart Middleton completed the scoring twelve for the men.

On the ladies’ side, first Strider over the line in fifth at both races was Sally Onn with 40:21 at Stevenage, which she improved to 39:53 at Bishop’s Stortford. There were good runs from Zoe Lowe, Helen Cartlidge, Liz Walls and Mandy Attree who were all very consistent and crucial to the ladies’ scoring eight at both races.

At Stevenage, Heather Blamire-Brown, Claire Kremer and Helen Varley all ran well to contribute to the team, with strong performances from Gill Jubb, Carole Ransom and Lucy Mills clinching the remaining spots at Bishop’s Stortford.