Friday, 23 December 2016

Record runs, coach trip fun and a new host race: Striders review of the year 2016

It's been another successful year for Striders and as 2016 comes to a close, here's a look back at what we have achieved over the past 12 months...



There was a fantastic team effort in the spring and summer to once again win the MWRRL overall, with our women's senior and our women's vets team also taking first place.

Individually prizes were won by Paul Adams finishing 1st in the open men's category and Wendy Walsh finishing 2nd in the women's V45.
A huge turn out at the MWRRL helped us become the champions again!


More members continued to embrace the fun of hitting the mud contributing to our successful team effort...

Chiltern League 2015/16

Men's team - 5th
Women - 4th
Vet Men - 7th
Vet Women - 1st

Notable individual performances from:
Paul Adams - 4th senior men
Graham Foster - 2nd V50
Wendy Walsh - 1st V45
Liz Walls - 4th V55
Cross country kings and queens

Sunday League 2015/16

Men's A team - 5th
Women's A team - 10th
Masters Men - 10th
Masters Women - 10th

Notable individual performances from:
Wendy Walsh - 1st V45
Colin Braybrook - 4th V50

Other Notable Team Performances Over The Year

The bowls won by the women's team at the Bedford Half
Our Senior Ladies team of Lucy Waterlow, Wendy Walsh and Gill Pease got silver medals at the Stevenage 3K Road Relays. A great achievement to beat all bar one of the other 47 teams.

Lucy Waterlow, Wendy Walsh and Claire Kremer were 14th out of 195 teams in the Vitality London 10k in May.

At the end of the year, Deirdre Heydecker, Caroline Bailes and Fleur Harvey-Keenan were the first women's team at the Bedford Half and won some fetching bowls for their efforts! Deirdre was also the first V50 in the race with her time of 1.40.

Meanwhile at the Festive 5, Wendy Walsh, Helen Cartlidge and Claire Kremer won the women's team prize in a race that was dominated by Striders, with Tom Crouch winning overall.

Other Notable Individual Performances

Selected to represent Hertfordshire in the last year over cross country and track were Wendy Webster, Lucy Waterlow, Megan Steer, Tom Crouch and Paul Adams.

Blake Vivian represented GB in the European Vets Half Marathon championships in Portugal.

Paul Adams won the St Albans Half in an outstanding 73:08. Sadly for Paul this was a terrible day at the office, almost 4 minutes slower than his 2009 Club Record of 68.50.
Tom Crouch and Paul Adams have run some impressive races this year

Anna Buckingham finished joint 1st woman in the 268 mile Montana Spine Race traversing the entire Pennine Way in 166 hours and 38 mins. Remarkably Anna also set the Club record for 100m on the track in 2016. True versatility!

On the Club champs front – dear Lizzie Barber achieved an outstanding age graded score of 89.02% in the Welwyn mob match 10k (50 mins and 29 seconds at the age of 70!) We all wish her all the best for a speedy recovery.

Laura Hicks (2nd claim) – wowed us all by in becoming the Queen of the Stampede, the outright solo winner of the St Albans Stampede in 17 laps; 68 miles to you and me!

Steve Buckle, Gary Warren, Pete Crowdell, Nick Pattison – set a team course record in the Stampede with 29 laps; a total distance of 116 miles!


It was another competitive year for the Club Champs with 350 members taking part. After a closely fought battle, the age graded winners were Deirdre Heydecker and Graham Foster and the overall winners Amy Tanner and Jim King. Read a full report on the champs here.


A number have been set this year on the track as we have taken part in the Southern Athletics League and Southern Counties Masters League.
James McMurray set a fantastic 10k club record

It is worth pointing out that competing on the track is a good way to gain a club record and you can view the existing records here, to see if there are any that you think you might be able to beat.

A couple on the track worth singling out are Tom Crouch - 15.21 for 5k and then 31.52 over 10k which he achieved when taking part in the 'Night of the pbs' which was the 10k trial for the Rio Olympics.

Other new record holders this year across the age categories were: Martin Whitworth, Paul Adams, John Ockenden, Marc Phillips, Roger Attard, Anna Buckingham, Deborah Steer and Lucy Waterlow.

On the road, James McMurray set an amazing 10K record of 30.39 in Hyde Park, which I think will be hard to beat unless he gets a pb himself!

Congratulations to all!


Summer Solstice

We got the new race off the ground in record time; the inaugural Summer Solstice attracted 178 runners, achieved really positive feedback and made a small profit, which, for the first year of any event was an unexpected pleasure. Andy N had the brainwave of making this the end of course target for the RWS runners and this worked really well and gave an added feel-good factor to the night for those of us putting on the event.

Particular thanks to Wendy Webster, Steve Alexander, Martin Halling, Peter Blackaller, Tina Tremaine and Andy Normile for all their efforts.

Fred Hughes

2016 was the last year for Mandy Attree and Lucy Stern as our fantastic race directors. They did such a strong job of hosting our flagship race which is a huge responsibility as at the end of the day, it is our biggest source of income.

736 runners took part in 2016 and the race received its customary accolades for great organisation and fantastically enthusiastic marshalling.


Ben Scott and Amy Heap worked really hard on the second renewal of the St Albans Stampede and it was great to see it reach its target of 180 runners in year two. The event had a fantastic atmosphere and if you haven’t been along to run or help out yet, I urge you to do so because it epitomises all that is great about St Albans Striders. With the help of a whole army of support, Ben and Amy put on a brilliantly well run event with tremendous atmosphere and the race is something that we should all be truly proud of.


Striders Weekend Away
Following the steady start in 2015, the 2016 weekend away hit the ground running and all places were sold out within 24 hours of release! 38 of us had a brilliant weekend away in the New Forest, with varying amounts of running, cycling, cake eating and drinking.
Our 2nd weekend away to the New Forest was enjoyed by all

Now firmly part of Striders programme, the weekend away will be going ahead again in 2017, venue to be announced.

Thanks so much to Jen Conway who put her heart and soul into the organisation, even providing food for everyone as we arrived on the Friday evening, assisted by Graham Smith.

You can read about the weekend away here.

Striders Coach Trip

34 of us headed to the Great Birmingham Run (formerly the Birmingham Half) in October and had a truly memorable day out.

The coach trip has established itself as part of the Striders annual calendar now and the plan for 2017 is to go to the Great South Run over the slightly shorter distance of 10 miles, which will hopefully encourage even more members to come along and join in the fun.

Annual Dinner

There may have been a few sore heads the nest day but a fun time was had by all at our 2016 Annual Dinner, held at Luton Hoo's Walled Garden.
We ate, drank, danced and handed out awards at another fun Annual Dinner

We ate, drank and danced whilst celebrating the achievements of members by awarding prizes to the athletes and volunteers of the year, as well as voting new members into the Hall Of Fame. For a full list of winners, click here, and check out pictures from the night here.

Thank you to Emma Halldearn and other members of the committee for organising such a fun evening.


A huge thank you to our outgoing committee members for their hard work and dedication to the club over the terms of their office.

  • Jen Conway as Deputy
  • Si Fraser our Men's Road Captain
  • Graham Smith as Club Champs Manager and Mens XC Captain (even though he’s just taken on more!)
  • Shona Davis, Claire Stephen and Colin Braybrook for their diligent race reporting on the publicity side
  • Mandy Attree and Lucy Stern, our fabulous Fred Hughes Race Directors who really gave their all in taking our great race to new levels
  • Our hostess with the mostest Tina Tremaine for her legendary race catering and tea nights.
And not forgetting Stuart Middleton who has stepped down as Chairman (but will carry on as Deputy) after three years in office. During his time at the helm, Stuart has worked tirelessly to develop the club and help make it the friendly and successful place it is today. Over the past three years with the help of the committee he has introduced...

Thank you Stu for all your hard work and enthusiasm as Chair

  • New members' nights 
  • The weekend away
  • Coach trip to a race
  • Setting up new races St Albans Stampede and the Summer Solstice 10k
  • Turning the Annual Dinner into the social event of the year
  • And of course our stylish new vests which have become the envy of other clubs!
As highlighted above, Stu's time as Chair has seen the club achieve success in road and cross country events. On top of the club’s racing profile, there has been a real emphasis on enjoyment and social occasions - and strong importance has been placed on inclusion and participation, making Striders a club that we can all be really proud to be part of.

An email from an anonymous member following this year's weekend away sums up Stu's time:

'I've been a member of the club for just over 2 years and have experienced nothing but friendliness, encouragement and a positive humour from all members led from the top. I want to thank you for taking the time to run a club that doesn’t just cater for the elite runners but encourages those of us that are maybe lacking in confidence. You and the rest of the committee should be very proud of all you give to ensure that it is a club for everyone.'

Merry Christmas to all Striders and here's to happy PB-filled 2017 - we have lots planned including the marathon relay, third weekend away and the development of a snazzy, new website, so watch this space!

No comments:

Post a Comment