Stopsley Striders Presentation Awards for 2007
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I would just like to add my personal thanks to, Paul Dickenson for being our guest of honour for the evening. It was also so nice to welcome Paul’s wife Ann. I am sure that all present will agree that Paul was so gracious in his comments relating to the achievements of our members and of the club. He was also thoroughly entertaining, recounting amusing incidents from athletics broadcasting.
I would also like the thank Karen Ashby and Bill Barratt for writing the citations for the running awards, & Karen for preparing all of the certificates. Chris McClaren for sorting the trophies out. Stevie and Mark Bradley for the photography & Dave Young for co-presenting.
Pauline Plater and Colin Smith did a sterling job selling raffle tickets on the night raising £205 for the club charity,Multiple Sclerosis, well done.
Finally a performance that goes on quietly over the year is that of Martin Mitchell, our club physio. Martin is always on hand to give an initial assessment of any injury or twinge members may have, he gives them thoroughly professional advice and keeps many members on the road. Thank you Martin for your efforts over the year.
This man made it very clear from his first race of the year what his intentions were by knocking 2 minutes off his PB in his first race of 2007. He is now a scoring member of our cross country team on most occasion but we think there is more to come from him yet over the cross country courses. This man has always showed a lot of promise ever since he joined us at the club but it was only last year that he put some thought and organisation into his training and it has paid off big time! Over the year he has run most of our cross country races and has run 11 road races at every distance from 5k to 17 miles. Out of his 11 races he has run 7 PB’s which we think is good enough to make Peter Breslin our Senior Man of 2007.
If every award decision was as easy as this one our awards meeting would have only lasted 5 minutes. Normally a prolific racer, last year she only managed 13 road races! This lady is proof that hard work pays off. She lives out in the country which means her training is often curtailed and she does not have the benefit of footpaths and street lighting for night time running like most of us. She also works full time which means she cannot always run during the day but somehow she always manages to follow her training schedule and gets the job done. She has represented Bedfordshire Cross Country Team on 2 occasions finishing 5th and 1st for her county. Out of her 13 road races she has run 7 PB’s and managed to win 8 races. After a year like that our Senior Lady of 2007 has to be Louise Peters.
After a good cross country season this man started his road racing year in March by winning his age group in his first race. As the weather got warmer his improvement started and we are pleased to say it continued right throughout the year. He has never been a big racer or a long distance racer but we are pleased to say that he ran his first half marathon this year so now he only has the marathon left to conquer – maybe next year! He has also become a very good club man who is always willing to help out. He is now on the committee and is a qualified level 2 coach. He is a regular scorer on both our cross country and road running teams. After running 9 races with 7 PB’s our Veteran Man Award for 2007 goes to Matt Thompson.
This lady has been one of our most consistent performers for many years now. She is a natural born leader and indeed leads by example. She is not just a runner, but a very active club member in a number of positions. She is involved in some capacity in almost everything that is happening in the club. She has run, and been a scoring member, in every one of our cross country races. She is always there at the finish or back out on the course to encourage our last finisher, normally having to forget about a shower- certainly a warm one, and maybe even food just to cheer our last competitor home. But as long as it helps the club that is all that matters to her. It is people like her that make our club the friendly club it is today. In 2007, even though she has struggled for almost a full year with a hamstring injury, she ran every cross country race but had to avoid road races. After 51 weeks off the road, she made her comeback in the Cranfield County Championships 5 miles and showed she had lost none of her ability by winning the vet 45 county championship. She went on later in the year to win the county vet 45 half marathon championship. Another position she holds is the ladies captain where she has revolutionised the ladies side since she took on the role. Instead of the six or seven ladies we used to get out for our cross country races, we are now averaging sixteen or seventeen and that is down to her and her way of getting them out racing. Her other big asset is her supply of chocolate and biscuits at every committee meeting! So, after her cross country season and her two county championships from five road races, our female veteran for 2007 is Karen Ashby
Super Veteran Man
Most of us just seem to accept a decline in our race times as we get older, but not this man. He just seems to improve with age (like a good wine!) He has been one of our most consistent performers for quite a few years. This man is not just a very good runner, he is also a very knowledgeable runner and a very good club man who is always willing to help out in any way he can. He is never afraid to voice an opinion on any subject especially careless dog owners! He has a figure that is very much admired by strangers and he knows what we are referring to! (his well toned buttocks!) He also makes it hard for us slower runners who have to try hard to get back from our run before him on our monthly Birthday nights otherwise there would not be any food left for us! Seriously though, his running ability is much admired throughout the county. He has run 11 races and won 5 county championship medals. Out of the 11 races, amazingly he has won his age category on 9 occasions. He has run his fastest 10k and half marathon times for 7 years. We could go on and on about his ability but the best compliment we can pay him is to say when we were deciding who should receive these awards in this category there was just one nomination.Our Super Veteran Man for 2007 is Chris Lamont.
Super Veteran Female
Most clubs are very fortunate to have a person like this, but we do not think that any other club will match this super lady. She has been a Strider from the first year the club was formed and has held most posts within the club from Chairperson to just a member. But whether in an official capacity or not she has never stopped working for the club. She represents our club at the Beds 3 AAA’s She organises our coach for the London Marathon and she also organises our monthly Birthday celebrations. We could go on but we only have a limited amount of time. Truly though she is an inspiration to us all and long may that continue. She has run all of our cross country league fixtures and the county cross country championship where she was the 2007 female veteran champion at 60, 65 and 70. She also ran the Southern Counties cross country. She has run 7 road races and won 3 county championship medals and has even managed to run a PB! We just hope that when we get to her tender age we will still be running let alone competing and getting PB’s! When we talk about this lady it is not what we include that makes it difficult but what we leave out because of all the things she has done and continues to do for Stopsley Striders. Our Super Veteran Lady for 2007 is Helen Morris
Cross Country Male
This man has just had his most consistent cross country season since he joined us here at Striders. He has had a finishing position of one of the first two Striders home in all his cross country races. He was a member of our senior team who finished third in the county championship cross country at Ampthill Park. People like him are the future of our club. He is one of our youngest members and now that he has completed his university degree we hope that he will be available for every race. Let us hope that the improvement continues for our Cross Country Man of 2007 Chris Green
Cross Country Female
This lady has been our first lady home in all her cross country races for the last 2 years and the good news is, that she is still improving! Even our leading men are getting worried about being overtaken by her. In fact in the Rotary club off road 10k she actually finished second overall. She has been chosen to represent Bedfordshire twice. On the first occasion she finished fifth team scorer and on the second occasion she was first Bedfordshire finisher. Let us hope that she can stay clear of injuries and that the improvement continues. When you look around at all the senior ladies they all have a smile on their faces as they know that she is now out of their category as she has just turned 35 and is now a member of the vet category. Not good news for the vets! We hope that the good times continue for our Cross Country Female of 2007 Louise Peters
This man joined us here at Striders and came across as a very laid back sort of guy. In fact the most notable thing about him was that no matter what group he ran with he always seemed to be one of the first runners back. There was only one way to find out how good he was. Let him race, and sure enough he did not disappoint. In his first race for the club he was first Strider home as indeed he has been in every one of his races so far. Without knowing it he has set a new challenge to see who will be the first Strider to beat Stopsley Striders Newcomer of 2007 Chris Rogers
For the last 4 or 5 years Stopsley Striders have run a Beginners Course. This year our female newcomer has been selected from that course. She has shown a lot of potential and a great determination to improve. She completed her first race by helping her team in the Stevenage relays. Unfortunately she them became injured with the dreaded shin splints which cost her a few months off running. We are all glad to see her back running at the club once again and doing very well especially in the cross country league. We feel that with her ability and determination she will go on to become one of our top runners. As she starts her running career we can only say good luck to our Female Newcomer of 2007 Laura Kirk
This man has been a Strider for many years but in 2007 he has had one of his best years of running. He has run his races in a variety of countries all over the world. For this award he takes us all the way to Tokyo. In February he ran the Tokyo marathon and after all his years of running he managed to knock 8 minutes off his PB on a wet and windy day. So for his PB run in the Tokyo Marathon a Performance Award goes to Phil Abbitt
This man started his year very well and we are happy to say that he finished it that way also. Early on he said that he wanted to run a good half marathon and sure enough he kept his word. After running a number of PB’s throughout the year he headed for Peterborough in October to run the half marathon. It proved that his hard work in training had paid off. He ran nearly 2 minutes faster than he had hoped for. So a well deserved Performance Award goes to Stuart Harries
This lady had a very good spell of running during the late summer. She is type of person who you may not see but you will certainly hear her! She has been running for quite a few years so PB’s do not come easily anymore, but is just proves what a bit of hard work and effort can do. She ran a few races in a short period of time and then travelled to Cranfield where she ran the 5mile race. She had an extremely good run but not just winning her age group in the County Championships but also running a PB. So for her effort in the Cranfield 5 miles, a Performance Award goes to Paulene Plater
When this man joined us at Striders in the Spring, he said that he wanted to run a good marathon and that is exactly what he did! He is not a person who competes in many races but the ones he enters he performs well. He trained hard for his marathon but when we saw the weather for the Luton marathon just finishing it seemed hard enough never mind a PB! But undeterred this man knocked nearly 30 minutes off his previous best! So for his 3hr 11min 25 secs Marathon run a Performance Award goes to Stuart Colbert
No matter how hard this lady is running she has that amazing knack of looking as though she is enjoying it! She ran 12 races during the year recording 6 PB’s but one race stands out above the rest. She put in a lot of hard work and training for the Bedford Half Marathon but unlike the rest of us when we saw the heavy rain and gale force winds the smile left our faces, but not hers. She knew more than we did. She did not just run a PB she knocked 13 minutes 59 seconds off her previous best. So for that effort a well deserved Performance Award goes to Elaine Harries
We cannot all afford to go warm weather training for a couple of months every winter but it seems to work well for this man. We could have chosen any one of about 3 events to give this award for but we have chosen this particular event because early in the Spring he knocked 4 minutes of his half marathon PB and now he has knocked a further 3 minutes off it. So for his run in the Great Eastern Half Marathon a Performance Award goes to Mark Bradley
This lady has been a club member since the day the club started, so she is well used to collecting awards. After spending the first half of the year injured she only did her first race in June but soon got back into shape. She collected her usual County Championship medals throughout the summer, but we think her best run considering the conditions was the Bedford Half Marathon where she won her age category in the race and the County. A Performance Award goes to Breda Haughton
This is another lady who after four or five years running has suddenly hit a golden patch and has had her best year to date. She is not a prolific racer but seems to choose her races very carefully. This year for the first time she has won 2 County Championship Medals in her age category and we can still visualise the look of astonishment on her face when her name was called. So after a county age category championship and a PB run in the Cranfield 5 miles we hope we get another look of astonishment from our Performance Award winner Joan Mollahan
When this lady finished the Betty Willett10k in Luton she was exhausted but she had just put in her best Performance since she joined us more than 2 years ago. This was not only the first prize she had won since she joined us at Striders but she had also just run the fastest 10k she had ever run. In fact she has not matched it since but we are glad to say she has won other prizes. We hope there are a lot more PB’s to come from our Performance Award winner Helen O’Toole
We can remember this lady receiving an award last year and we said that if she worked at her running she would definitely improve further. She had only raced 3 road races but she has run 3 very good PB’s. But racing does not come easy to her. Between missing the start of one race by 10 minutes, and finding the Great North Run too crowded she has had her fair share of problems. She is currently training for the London Marathon in April and is extremely dedicated to her schedule, so we feel she will perform well. But her award tonight is for a problem free race – the Welwyn 10 miles where she also gained a PB. A Performance Award goes to Jenna Litchfield
This man is one of our most improved runners over the last year not only in road races but also in cross country. He has run in all of our cross country races and has been a member of our scoring team in every race. He trains hard and now all that hard work is paying dividends. He has run 9 road races this year recording 6 PB’s. So a well deserved Improvement Award goes to Adrian Copp
This man has been a member of Striders for many years. But last year had had one of his best years of running since he joined the club. He has run in all our cross country events and improved in those as well. After running very well throughout the year he performed exceptionally well over the last three months recording a PB run in each month. So for his effort throughout the year he has been rewarded with an Improvement Award Grahame White
This lady could have won an award for many things especially talking and making a noise! But we chose to give it to her for her running! She joined us here at the Club just over 2 years ago and now she has encouraged most of her family to join through the Beginners Course as well. We thought one of them was noisy but now we have five! She has already said that if there was an award for recruiting the most family members she would win it. Seriously though, her running has improved consistently throughout the year. She has run most of our cross country races, six road races – where she has produced 6 PB’s and also run her first marathon. So for her efforts throughout the year an Improvement Award goes to Marie Bacon
This lady has just completed her first year here with us and has shown massive improvement throughout the year. She started her year with a PB run in the Flitwick 10k and kept a very steady improvement going right through until she picked up an injury in November. In the month of June we remember this lady running 2 PB’s on consecutive days. She also ran very well in the cross country events before she became injured. She ran 5 road races and achieved 4 PB’s. So an Improvement Award goes to Jayne Francis
Although not a prolific racer, this lady does not do things by halves. When she does race she knocks off minutes not just seconds from her previous best. She started her racing year in March with a PB and finished it in November with another PB. In between she had some very good runs but does not always put her results on the sheet so it is difficult for us to keep records of all her achievements. We hope that the good times will continue for our Improvement Award winner Ella Woodgate
This is another member of our Beginners Course who seems to really enjoy her running and is eager to become involved in most of the events at the club. We know that she has a full time job controlling her gang but she is also improving as a runner. She has run all our cross country races since she joined and has performed very well. She is the type of lady every club is looking for and we are very fortunate to have her here at Striders. So after her PB’s in every race a very well deserved Improvement Award goes to Ingrid Bacon
This is yet another lady with a lot of ability but not enough time to put it all into her running. Like many of the ladies at the club she started her racing year in March with a PB an finished in September with yet another PB. In fact every race she ran throughout the year she ran a PB! We feel that there is still a lot more to come from this lady throughout this next year. So an Improvement Award goes to Christa Jeffrey
In 2007 this lady continued on with her performance from 2006. Another race, another improvement! She has had an excellent year of running except for a period in late Autumn when she was out due to an injury. She has been a consistent scorer on our ladies cross country team and has only missed one event when she was injured. She was also first vet 35 in the Vauxhall Road Race Series and has run 8 road races gaining 6 PB’s! So after a year like that an Improvement Award goes to Alison Sugars
This particular lady joined us from our Beginners Course, which just goes to show how important that is to our club. She has only competed in a couple of road races but has managed to run all our cross country events, performing very well. She has the making of a very good club lady and is eager to become involved in all aspects of Striders. We think there is a lot more to come from our Improvement Award Winner Greer Kidney
Although this man does not race regularly he has shown a very steady improvement ever since he joined us here at Striders nearly 2 years ago. He has now completed his first marathon and competes in the cross country events performing very well. He is definitely becoming a very good runner. In his six races throughout the year the only race he did not run a PB in was the Watford half marathon. So after a year like that a Performance Award goes to Bruce Benson
This lady has been with the club for a few yeas but last year she put in a big effort and trained harder and on a more regular basis and it certainly paid dividends for her. She was a member of the scoring ladies team in the Southern Counties Cross Country for the first time. She raced at all distances from 5k to half marathon, running PB’s at each distance. In fact in her 7 road races she ran 5 PB’s. So we hope the good times continue for our Improvement Award Winner Kate Linhart
These two ladies epitomise the true spirit of Stopsley Striders. They started at the club by joining the Beginners Course. After completing that course with a successful run in the Ladies 5k, they continued to come to the club, very quickly becoming full members. They both quickly got the running bug, extending their running beyond the two club nights a week. Their Saturday morning runs with others in their group soon became a firm fixture in their diaries. The number of runs in a week increasing as their distances and goals increased. Both ladies began to enter races and began to rack up a number of personal bests. They have completed runs at all race distances including successful runs in the London Marathon. Their running achievements have been recognised in the past with Strider of the Month awards. Their enthusiasm for running and the club has spread to family and friends. They have become two of the greatest ambassadors the club has in promoting Striders and encouraging others to join. In addition to the success with their running, they play a full part as helpers in club events and assist in marshalling. It is their intention to undertake the Level 1 Coaching Course with the goal of helping with forthcoming Beginners Courses. On the social front they again play their fullest part, their names usually being at the top of any list. Most importantly of all be it running, marshalling or socialising, they do so with two of the biggest smiles on their faces. These two ladies are the future of this club. It is with pride Elaine Harries and Marie Bacon are each awarded a most deserved Merit Award.
This award goes to one of the stalwarts of the club. Over the years she has racked up may personal achievements in her own running. In the past few years however it is her encouragement of others that has been at the top of her agenda. In accepting the position of Ladies Captain, a position on the Club Committee and at the Coaches meeting came as probably unexpected bonuses! In fulfilling this position Karen has taken a keen interest in all of the ladies within the club and has been accessible to all for advice and encouragement. She has been a target for some of our ladies to set their sights on as far as their own running and development are concerned. I know that Karen is pleased to see these ladies develop and in some cases surpass Karen. Though I know she still tries to keep the time gaps to a minimum. Karen also is a fountain of advice for ladies who have been injured and are making their come backs. She can speak unfortunately with experience. Over the last couple of years, with Karen’s encouragement, consistently the number of ladies competing in the cross country league and at local races, including County Championships, has risen. This is reflected in the position the club consistently holds in the league and with the number of individual and team lady county champions we as a club can boast It is with the greatest of pleasure that Karen Ashby is awarded a well deserved Merit Award.
Ken Abbott Award
This award normally goes to somebody who has suffered a serious or long term injury or set back and has managed to recover and get back to running in the face of adversity. For many in the club, over years gone by, this man has been the first person newcomers have run out with. He has assessed their capabilities and then directed them towards groups that matched their abilities. He has also maintained a group of runners around him. To this end a couple of years ago, in order to bring an element of professional credibility to this process, he successfully completed a Level 1 Coaches Course. However over this last 12 months this man suffered a down turn in his health which culminated in a stroke. This man has a great determination and I know has a full family and social life. He was determined that this was to be only a set back and not a life changing event. I am sure that his fitness through his running assisted him greatly with his rehabilitation. We hope that by having the club and its members there for him also, was a spur for him to regain his fitness and health. It is so pleasing to see this man back with us again, running, taking out new comers and playing a part with the beginners course. This prestigious award goes to Dave Weedon.
The second recipient of this award is a man who is a runner, competitor, coach, committee member and respected club member. In my opinion he will play a very large part in the future of Stopsley Striders. He will be at the forefront of the development of the club for many years to come. As a runner, he is still developing and on a regular basis achieves personal bests at all distances. As a competitor, he sits as one of our foremost runners and I know sets in his sights on the other faster runners in the club. Consistently this year, he has ruined the Chris, Chris, Chris, finishing positions at the cross country league races. He always aims for a top three club finish. As a coach, he has worked to gain his Level 2 Coaching Award. With this award he is consistently thinking of innovative ways of training and bringing fitness development to the club members. He has again begun to develop a speed work group. He has brought pilates to the club and now regularly puts on 5k time trials, so members can adjudge their own development levels. He has begun to set training plans for club members. As a committee member he contributes to the fullest bringing the views and ideas of club members to that forum. As a respected member of the club, he leads by example, when not running he contributes to all club events. This last year, taking on one of the most demanding roles within the Luton Marathon, that of Chief Marshal. This man with his vision and drive is the future of this club. I have no doubt that in years to come, it will be him, who will be giving this award to another club member. It is with the greatest of pleasure that this year’s Chairman’s award goes to Matt Thompson.
This man is a great inspiration to us all. This year he achieved what most of us can only dream of. He carries with him our admiration as to his mental as well as physical strength. Months of training logging up cumulatively hundreds of miles of swimming, cycling and running. This shows the dedication and toughness of this man to achieve a goal. I am sure that his wife, Sue never thought she would become the equivalent of a “Golf Widow”. Undertaking a sporting endeavour that takes 14 hours, 38 minutes and 8 seconds, is just mind blowing for the rest of us mere mortals. The splits that were achieved leave us all in stunned admiration:-
Swimming 2.4 miles 1 hour 25 minutes.
Cycling 112 miles 7 hours 32 minutes.
Running Marathon 5 hours 12 minutes.
Transition Time 29 minutes 8 seconds.
The final element, that makes this achievement even more remarkable, is that this was completed at the age of sixty. This Special Award goes to Stopsley Striders one and only true Iron Man, Andy Ward.
It is not every club in the county let alone the country that can boast a World Champion within its membership ranks. However with this lady who is currently studying at Loughborough University, we can. She is an international Triathlete and biathlete On 30th September 2007 she was selected to represent Great Britain in the World Biathle championships in Monaco. This event is a mixture of Swimming and Running. She won the Junior event. in which Great Britain took Gold, Silver and Bronze. I know that as part of her continued development in these multi disciplined events she will be going to Australia for some warm weather and specialist training. In local and national road only running events, I know Natalie is proud to register as a Stopsley Strider. We are extremely proud to award a Special Award to Natalie Barnard.
Last year marked a watershed in athletics. An organisation called the Association of Running Club (ARC) was set up as a rival representation board for English Athletics. Your committee debated over several meetings how this might affect Stopsley Striders and the decision was taken to affiliate to both bodies and give members the option to which association they would prefer to affiliate to. For the committee this was a decision which was made that much easier by the work of the recipient of this award. His analysis of the many items of correspondence, consultation documents and paperwork proved invaluable in guiding the committee to the decision which we felt was the correct one for all members. His is not a job which the other members of the committee envy, due in no small part to the unpredictable nature of the job, both in the ARC situation and the other developments in athletics. It gives me great personal pleasure to present the Rosa Trophy to a most deserving member of the committee and a true Strider. This year’s recipient is Chris McLaren