Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A review of the closely fought Club Champs 2015-16

Another Club Champs competition has come to an end, and what a close fought battle it was!
We’ve had 168 men and 138 women scoring in the Champs - with 350 members that’s virtually the whole club.
The Club Champs provides lots of opportunities to race together, like at this year's Festive 5
I just want to briefly remind us why we have the Champs at all. Yes, it recognises achievement, but as much as that, it also acts as a great backbone for the whole year of running, encourages participation, and gives us lots of chances to race together. What better advert for the club than to see a mass of yellow and blue at the start of one of our hand-picked races?
I should also mention everyone that gives their time for marshalling and other types of support that are so essential to run our events as successfully as we do, which is why volunteering points are integral to the Club Champs.
Graham Smith revealed the winners of the 2015-16 competition at the Annual Dinner
Over the year we’ve done very well, as Stuart highlighted at the AGM. We came away as the overall winners at the Mid Week League again, and won team awards at several of the Club Champs road races including the Festive 5, Fred Hughes 10 and the Hatfield 5k.
A couple of totally useless statistics: Between us all we did 1,147 Club Champs races over the year. This equates to 7,443 miles. Which incidentally is the target for next year’s Stampede course record.
This is now the third year we’ve run an age-graded competition alongside the main Club Champs. Seven of the Club Champs races counted towards this and anyone who did at least three of them was eligible for the competition.
Everyone is graded as a percentage against the best in the world for their age, and the winner is the man or woman with the highest average across their best three races.
Deirdre Heydecker won the women's age-graded competition for the third year running
In 1st place this year, unbeaten for the third year running, with an impressive average age graded score of 82.25% for her times in Fred Hughes, the Mid Week Mob Match and the Great Birmingham Run, Deirdre Heydecker. 
In 2nd place was Wendy Walsh, and 3rd place Zoe Lowe.
It would be remiss not to mention the amazing effort of Lizzie Barber, who at the age of 70, ran in the Mid Week Mob Match in a time of 50:29 to get the highest ever age graded score we’ve had of 89%.
And now on to the men. 31 men ran at least three qualifying races, and a special mention here to Seb Rowe who was the only one to run all seven. 
In 3rd place was Colin Braybrook, in 2nd place, Steve Buckle, and in 1st place, again for the third year running, with another impressive average score of 82.23% for the Festive 5, the Berkhamsted Half Marathon and the Hatfield 5k, Graham Foster.
Again, I’ll start with the ladies. For the first half of the year we had a dominant lead from a cross country loving Charlotte Holloway, before she decided to give everyone else a chance by taking a break to have a baby.
This opened up the way for a number of contenders. Caroline Skyrme and Clair Drage weren’t far behind, with an emerging Wendy Walsh pulling up behind.
Come the end of the Mid Weeks and Clair, Wendy and Donna Irwin were all looking good. But when it came to the crunch and the final furlong, a victor emerged.
The winner– putting in a late surge for the top spot, with a total of 473 points – your 2015-2016 St Albans Striders women’s champion is Amy Tanner.
The women's champion was Amy Tanner, with runners-up Wendy Walsh and Clair Drage
In second position, with 436 points, congratulations to Wendy Walsh.  
And in 3rd position, with 433 points, well done Clair Drage.
On to the men. Paul Adams took the early lead with a dominant performance at the Festive 5, closely followed over the cross country season by Colin Braybrook and Graham Foster.
But then we witnessed a phenomenon - the rise of the Runsketteers, the legendary band of have-a-go heroes. By March, Seb Rowe found himself in second place, with Gareth Beavis close behind.
Jim King was the male champ, with Seb Rowe second and Graham Foster third
Strong turnouts at the races over the summer and Autumn meant the competition stayed fierce, but with one clear leader emerging.
The 2015-2016 St Albans Striders men’s champion – with a commanding 471 points - is Jim King.  
With 406 points, second place this year goes to Seb Rowe.  
And in 3rd place – with 398 points – it’s Graham Foster.
All that remains is for me to say well done again to all our winners, and also everyone that took part in the club champs this year. I hope you enjoyed it, whether you realised you were taking part or not!
The new Club Champs year is already underway so get involved as it could be you winning the prizes for 2016-17! Full details and the race calendar can be found on the website.

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