Stopsley Striders Presentation Awards for 2008
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Andy Hobdell was our guest of honour for the evening. He’s coach to Andy Braddeley, Britain’s number one 1500m runner.
Firstly we would like to say how delighted we are to be giving our Senior Man award to this gentleman tonight. He has come very close to winning the title for the past three years. He started his year with a PB run in the Flitwick 10k and ended with a massive PB in the Bedford Half Marathon. Throughout the year he has run fourteen road races and within those he has run eight PB’s, a remarkable achievement by any standard. He has been a member of our first men’s team in every race where Striders have entered a team and has improved in our cross country team by becoming our first scorer. Looking back over his records for the last few years it is very unusual to see such consistent improvement as this man has shown. He is certainly one of our quieter members but we appreciate how very hard he works in training and he deserves to see this improvement. Not only does he put time and energy into his running but he is an extremely helpful club member too, who is always willing to help out. We hope that his improvement will continue for our Senior Man of 2008
Although this lady has not run many races throughout the year she has shown a massive improvement in her running. None of us are at all surprised by this as coaches as well as runners have been telling her for the last couple of years that she could improve and she has certainly done just that. Mind you we feel that with her new found attitude and determination she will continue to improve further. She started her year by preparing for the London Marathon, and then went on to run the St Albans 10 mile. She then ran the Milton Keynes Half where she knocked a massive fourteen minutes off her previous PB time. Her training continued to go well until she missed the twenty mile training run in Hemel, but true to her style she put that behind her and continued to train hard and was rewarded by a 4 hour 16 minutes run in London albeit with a sore leg for the last seven miles. After the marathon and the injury she took some time to get back into her running. She was absent for most of the summer and only returned to it in the autumn albeit a little tentatively. She needed to believe that she could do it. Everyone told her that she would be running well by Christmas but she needed to believe that herself. In December after moving up to a new running group she ran the Bedford Half Marathon where she finished third senior lady in the County Championships and knocked six minutes off her PB. She has been our second lady home in all our cross country races so far in the league.
We now believe that with her new commitment and determination we will see further improvement for our Senior Lady of 2008
Many of us wonder if this man is human or machine! We may add to many of you out there ‘do not try this at home!’ It does not seem to matter to him whether his weekend race is a 5k or a 40 miler, he prepares for them exactly the same. He will always undertake a speed session on a Tuesday and Thursday followed by a full week of training. This man never eases down for any race. We appreciate that with his full diary of races he cannot afford to take many easy weeks but he seems to thrive on sheer hard work! He has run seventeen races between twenty and forty miles and approximately twenty other races of varying distances with the shortest being a 5k. He has not started on the track as yet but don’t be surprised if he does! He does not seem to worry about time but he is a very good runner. He ran 2 hours 57 minutes in the London Marathon this year so it is not just a matter of running round an event! It would be amazing to see what he can do if he concentrated seriously on just one marathon. He just loves to run and is happy doing things his way which is what makes running the great sport that it is. Everybody at our level does what they want and hopefully gets something out of it. He has run three PB’s this year so he is still an improving runner. We hope that the good times and unusual events will continue for our Vet Man of 2008
Just like our vet man, this lady has raced more than we would normally recommend. Between the road, track and cross country she has run thirty six races. Don’t worry, we are not going to cover them all! She has run for Bedfordshire at both cross country and track events, and has also run for Bedfordshire in the Inter Counties where she finished second Beds lady. She was first vet 35 in our cross country league and was second vet 35 in the Ashby 20 mile which was part of her preparation for the London Marathon. In the race itself she performed extremely well in a time of 3 hours 14 minutes and was 98th out of 10,000 ladies and 23rd in her age group. This qualifies her for the elite start next year. Throughout the year she has had eleven first places and twenty seven top three places. She is also a County Champion at cross country, 5k and 5 miles and has won the Vauxhall three race series. Surely one of her highlights must have been during September where she ran the Stopsley Trail 10k race and beat everyone, both men and women. Although she has had an extremely successful year we know that there is one thing she wanted that she did not get and that was a 5k PB. Most of us would be extremely happy and contented with half of what this lady has achieved but we know that during 2009 she will work hard to achieve her goal of a PB at 5k, because that is what makes her the special person she is.
May the good times continue for our Veteran Lady of 2008
Super Veteran Man
We do not believe that there is any Strider sitting out there who will not have already guessed who this award will be presented to, but we still feel that we need to make you aware of just some of his brilliant achievements. It is not easy to try and think of different things to say about this man year after year, but such is his dominance in this category that he has no one who can be classed as real opposition. He is the county champion in his age group at 5k, 10k, 10 miles and half marathon. He is also the County Champion Vet 45, 50 and 55 in cross country and is the Vet 50 champion in our cross country league! Pretty spectacular by any standards. We appreciate that not every race has gone well for this man, as many of us will remember that he was looking for a revolver after the Vauxhall 5k in July! But he is a realistic guy who knows that you have to put a bad race behind you, work hard and the next race you hope to perform well, which indeed he did. He has been the first vet 55 on nine occasions in the last year and in some races such as the St Albans half marathon he was the first vet 50 four times in the last five years. He also holds a similar record for the Henlow 10 mile. The amazing thing about this man is that he is still matching his times from years back or at worst getting extremely close to them.
We hope that the good times will continue for our Super Veteran Man of 2008
Super Veteran Lady
There is very little that we can say about this lady that has not been said in the past. She started her year by winning her age group in the cross country County Championship and was second in her category in the county 10k Championships. She also took second in the 5 mile County Championship and ran her best time for a number of years in the Marston Vale 5k. She ran the Ladies 5k and the Vauxhall 5k where she was faster than the year before, not bad for a lady in her later years! Her last race of 2008 was what we all fell was her best race and definitely the toughest. Times were not important on this occasion as it was the hottest day of the year and as most people know this lady does not like the heat, especially when running! Many of you will know that the Vauxhall 10k is a three lap course so many of the competitors dropped out after two laps which was not surprising due to the heat, but not this lady! She showed true grit and determination coming in through the gate going round the circuit and straight back up the hill for her last lap. Everyone was amazed as they had all expected her to pull out. We feel that this was one of the bravest decisions she has ever made! As previously mentioned time was not important, but finishing that race was extremely important to this lady. We have only spoken of her running because if we started to talk about all she does for our club or her worth to this club we would be here all night.
We are delighted to say our Super Vet Lady for 2008 is Helen Morris
Cross Country Male
This man started 2008 running very well and was always in the first three or four Striders to finish. While others were up and down in there performances this man was consistently scoring in the first four finishers. He was second Strider home in the County Championships, second in Biggleswade, third in North Herts, second in Dunstable and fourth in Ampthill. He had by far his best cross country of the year in the Southern Counties Cross Country in Parliament Hill Fields in London where he finished 151 places ahead of the second Strider. Although he is still scoring in our league team he has gone back a few places in his last couple of races which we feel is only temporary. This man has a lot of ability and is well able to move on from where he currently is.
We hope that all goes well for our Cross Country Man of 2008
Cross Country Lady
This lady started her year by winning first vet 35 and first senior lady in the County Cross Country Championships. She went on to run for Bedfordshire in the Inter Counties Cross Country where she finished second Bedfordshire scorer. She also finished first vet lady in our Cross Country League. She has also been our first lady home in all our cross country league races. This is not just an advantage to our ladies team but is also a big advantage to our men’s team as she is getting amongst our front runners and keeping them on their toes!
We feel sure that she will continue to improve even more, so our Cross Country Lady of 2008 is Louise Peters
This man joined us here at Stopsley Striders during the spring. He came across as a very quiet and shy young man, but a decent runner! His first race as a Strider was a marathon in which he performed very well. Since then he has raced in all distances from 5k to half marathon and improved his PB’s at all distances. He has now managed to improve his half marathon time to under 1 hour 29 minutes which is extremely respectable, and his 10k time under 39 minutes. He has been a scoring member of most of our men’s teams throughout the second half of the year and has been a scoring member of our men’s cross country team on every occasion in the league. We are glad to say that the improvement continues. Even though this newcomer has done very well since he joined us we are pleased to say he was pushed all the way by another newcomer, which can only be good for our club.
So now we wait and see what 2009 holds in store for our Male Newcomer of 2008
This young lady only joined us here at Striders in July. She came to us through our annual beginners course. Although just a beginner she showed a real talent for running and we are glad to say that her talent is still shining through. We would not want to put pressure on this young lady but we feel she is one of the most talented athletes to join us from any one of the beginner courses we have hosted. Unfortunately she could not run our ladies 5k race so her first race was the Vauxhall 5k where she started off a little too fast but ran a remarkably good race to finish in 22 minutes 1 second and fourth place. Her next race was the Cranfield 5 mile. She had never run five miles let alone raced it but we should not have worried as she completed the race without any problems in a time of 36 minutes 27 seconds and managed to beat two of her male club mates in a sprint finish. Unfortunately for us but not necessarily for her, university called and she has left Striders temporarily to continue her education but she has kept running! We now wait and see what she can produce next year after a full winters training.
Our Female Newcomer of 2008 can only be Kirsty Edwards
Although this lady does not compete very often she has shown a massive improvement in the last twelve months. She is now a fully paid up member of the ‘Bacon and Kidney Gang’ or better known as the ‘Breakfast Gang’ and it has improved her running immensely. She had a really good run in our own Ladies 5k Race in Wardown Park in July, she the ran a leg of the Fairland Valley Relays where she helped her team into a very good finishing position. Her improvement seemed to continue but unfortunately in the last couple of months she has been out of running due to injury which we hope is now on the mend.
So for her improvement throughout the year an Improvement Award goes to Tania Titley
This lady has improved her race times in every race she has done this year except for one 10k. She started her year at the Flitwick 10k where she ran a PB and has continued to hit PB’s all year, except for the one event at Bedford. She does a lot of her training on her own which makes her performances all the more impressive. She has run a PB in the Flitwick 10k, the Whipsnade 10k, the Vauxhall 5k and a 7 ½ mile race.
So for her performances throughout the year a well deserved Improvement Award goes to Terri Grassby
This lady has just had one of the most remarkable years of any Strider. If it was not for nights like tonight most members would never know of the improvement this lady has shown in the last year. She never shouts about her successes but just gets on with her running. We will endeavour to share with you how hard she has worked this year. Firstly, you only need to look at her to see a difference – she is half the size she was! She started her racing year in the Flitwick 10k where she ran a PB and finished second in her age group in the County Championships. (We have kept her age a secret!) She then knocked three minutes off her PB in the Whipsnade 10k. Not content with that she then trained very hard for the Great Eastern half marathon where she ran superbly taking off a massive fifty four minutes from her previous time. In the Brighton 10k she managed a new PB by five minutes and she has also improved her running over the cross country courses. We feel that her best ever cross country race was on the Sunday prior to Christmas in North Herts – even with the silly hat!
So after a spectacular year an Improvement Award goes to Bev Green
This is another lady who has run a number of races throughout the year and has got PB’s in all of them except one. She started her year with a nine minute PB in the Silverstone Half Marathon, she then knocked thirty four minutes off her best 20 mile time in Oakley. She followed that up with a PB in the Blackpool Marathon and the Swineshead 10 miles. Unfortunately she missed a PB in the Great Eastern Half Marathon but fought back a few weeks later with a PB in the Brighton 10k. She is also one of our most consistent performers in our cross country races and is always willing to help out with anything at the club. She is the type of club member every club needs and indeed depends upon.
So for her performances throughout 2008 – all run with a big smile – a well deserved Improvement Award goes to Elaine Harries
This man only joined us here at Striders in November 2007, and after less than a month he got injured. Not a good start. He was out for nearly a month but he fought back and has consistently progressed since. He has run ten races since returning to running and has improved in every one of them. That in itself is quite remarkable. He has raced every distance from 5k to ‘The Beast’ which is about twelve or thirteen miles. He is not the fastest man at the club but he is definitely one of the toughest. He has great determination and strength and does not give in. He works to the system that the hurt stops when you cross the finishing line. He is a member of the ‘Breakfast Gang’ so it goes without saying he is a very helpful club member when there is something to be done. He has unfortunately been plagued by injuries and has spent another long period away from the running scene, which meant that he has been unable to compete in the cross country season which he loves. We hope that his luck will change and the injuries disappear which may mean a little less racing.
For his performances throughout the year a well deserved Improvement Award goes to Martin Kidney
This person is another newer member who has only been with us here at Striders for sixteen months. During that time he has run at least ten road races and turned out for his first cross country race just before Christmas. He is another runner who has run all distances from 5k to half marathon. He started his racing year in the Sandy 10 mile with a PB, then followed this up with a PB in the Betty Willett 10k. Not content with this he then ran the Whipsnade 10k, the Standalone 10k, the Vauxhall 5 mile, the Cranfield 5 mile, the Robin Hood Half Marathon and the Great Eastern Half Marathon, all of which he ran PB times.
We trust that the good times will continue for our improvement award winner
This lady has been a member of Striders for a few years now but this year she seems to have taken her running more seriously. She attends the club on a very regular basis and has started to take part in the speedwork sessions which is all paying off for her. She started this year with a PB run in the Betty Willett 10k and then ran a PB in the Ladies 5k which she then followed up with another PB in the Cranfield 5 mile. She then made a big jump up to half marathon distance where she had yet another PB in the Great Eastern Half. She now only has to compete in the cross country events to become a complete all rounder!
For her excellent year of running an Improvement Award goes to
This person is yet another member of the ‘Breakfast Gang’ and is one of the loudest! Or shall we just say that she enjoys life? Her preparation before a race is not conventional in that she does not always stay at home and go to bed early the night before a race! But even with her own way of preparing for a race she still manages to race well. Out of her nine road races this year she managed to record eight PB’s. We are all in awe of how she manages to do this! She started her racing calendar in the Silverstone Half Marathon, the Bart’s 10k and the Marston 5k but got caught out in the Ladies 5k (that must have been an extremely heavy Saturday night!) She got back on form for the Chickchase 5k and followed this up with PB’s in the Swineshead 10 mile, the Great Eastern Half Marathon and the Brighton 10k. She is also an established member of our ladies cross country team after getting her foot problems sorted out.
We hope she stays just as lively as she is and that the good runs continue for our Improvement Award winner
This lady only joined Striders in April but she has shown a remarkable improvement in just eight months. She seems to have raced at all distances from 5k up to half marathon distance. She is now also an established member of our ladies cross country team. She has had PB runs in a variety of races including the Whipsnade 10k and the Robin Hood Half Marathon. She also has the true Striders spirit by becoming involved in activities in the club.
We really hope that her improvement will continue for our award winner Donna Thomas
This lady is one of our very shy and quiet members so it is a mystery to us why she hangs out with some of our noisiest and loudest members! But we believe that she would be the first to acknowledge the help and encouragement she gets from them. When we looked through her performances for the year we had a choice as to which one was her best as she had three other very good PB runs. We decided to choose her Silverstone half marathon where she knocked ten minutes off her PB time.
So for her effort in that race a performance award goes to Angela Hickey
This man we believe has only shown us a little of his running ability so far as he has a lot of problems with working around his shift pattern. In fact he doesn’t seem to have a pattern at all, which is a shame as we believe that he is one of our most talented runners. If we could convince him that he has a natural flair for running it may inspire him to train more. He was rejected for the London marathon in 2008 but decided to join the rest of his group and head for the Blackpool Marathon instead. London’s loss was certainly Blackpool’s gain. With a time of 3 hours 3minutes 3 seconds in his first ever marathon with what was probably not enough training just think what he could do if he stuck to a ‘Bill type’ schedule!
For that brilliant effort and performance this award goes to
Although this person has been a club member for less than a year he has run some very fast times from 5k’s to half marathon distances. Once again we had to choose which one was the best performance as he has five very good ones. If he continues to improve as we feel he definitely will, there will be many more PB runs to come over the next twelve months. We are not sure if his inspiration came from seeing Amy Winehouse or from being encouraged by his fellow Striders but he still managed to run his first 10k in under forty minutes.
A well deserved Performance Award goes to Richard Litchfield
This lady has been running for quite a number of years but 2008 was by far her best year to date. We don’t know if it was down to extra training or if she has found a secret formula! But whatever her strategy it is certainly working. She has run PB’s not only on the road but off road too. This award is given for her performance in the Leighton Buzzard 10 mile road race where she not only knocked five minutes off her PB time but she was also first in her age category (vet 45) in the County Championship.
This Performance Award goes to Diane Blackmore
This man is another candidate for not having enough time to train to his full potential due to running his own business and working seven days a week. In July he decided he wanted to run the Dublin Marathon in October. He never committed himself to a time but we all knew that he was looking to break the three hour mark. He worked extremely hard and put in a lot of effort with many of his long runs being undertaken on his own. All his training was going extremely well despite his work commitments until the last week when the dreaded injury struck! His calf was giving him problems. He received some intensive physiotherapy, and was only able to do some light training but he did make the start line in Dublin albeit a little tentatively. He decided to make us all very edgy and cut his finishing time very close to the three hour mark. It was in fact 2 hours 59 minutes 27 seconds! To round off his good performance he also managed to raise £2500 for charity.
A well deserved Performance award goes to Gerry Taylor
This man has been a member of our club for quite a few years but it was only this year that he concentrated more on his running. At the start of the year he changed from his old running mates to a new faster group as he was determined to make 2008 his year for improvement. At the beginning he found it hard to keep up but with their advice and encouragement he soon caught up and he has not looked back. In fact he now quite often leads the group and has them chasing him! He decided that his goal was the Milton Keynes Half Marathon in March where he hoped to achieve a PB. He worked hard in his training but his problem was that when he last achieved a PB in a half marathon he was six years younger and had hair! But he was determined and with his hard work and dedication he not only ran a PB but managed to knock five minutes off his previous best time. He then continued to run two more PB’s throughout the year. But his running is only a very small part of his contribution to our club. We do not know how he gets time to train as he does so much work behind the scenes.
So for his performances throughout the year an Improvement Award goes to Chris McLaren
Following national recognition a few years ago our Webmaster Dave Debnam has continued to improve the quality and content of our website. Over the last year he has increased the capacity of the site which has allowed the addition of features such as the very popular Message Board, and the Club Records and PB section. There has been a refinement of the Photographic Library. He has conducted some general house keeping around all of the other areas, keeping them relevant and up to date. Dave maintains the Striders website along side running the website for the Luton marathon and Three Stage Relay. The use of this website made passing information to this years entrants easier and quicker. Such is the professional structure of the site that people seeing information went to the site. Dave ensured the information was in place is a timely manner which I am sure prevented any un-necessary criticism. Dave is constantly looking at other clubs websites looking for any new ideas that might add to or refine our own website. I am sure you will agree that the websites are second to none and you would have to go a long way to find better ones.
This Special Award goes to Dave Debnam
These three people were the main stay of the coaching team for the 2008 Beginners Course. The preparation for this course fashions the success of the course. This year a time table for the coaches’ participation was drawn up and managed by them. This ensured that the load was spread. However all three of them, spent all of their club nights, for the twelve week period, coaching the beginners group. The course packs were prepared and always available for the beginners along with the schedule for the course as a whole. After reviving all three of them on the first night when 83 people turned up! It was their enthusiasm and sympathetic coaching styles that encouraged at least 60 people each club night to turn up and push themselves through the course. The success of the course cannot be overestimated, giving people new to the sport the platform to achieve something that they never thought they could attain. They only can do this with some structured, knowledgeable, and safe guidance. Their efforts allowed 80% of those who started to achieve their goals. The efforts also attracted a group of new and regular runners to join the club as full members. During the twelve week period all three of our recipients gave up their own runs and training plans.
This Special Award goes to Gill McClaren, Mark Bradley and Chris Green
This award goes to our Secretary for the administrative burden he deals with on our behalf in order to keep the club functioning. In the last couple of years the administrators at the highest level have made being a member of a running club more and more bureaucratic. Not only has Chris had to deal with the correspondence and get to understand the new edicts. He has firstly managed to understand them so he can explain them to the committee. Then he has examined the processes. Many of the processes the administrators have designed so the individual manages their own membership records. However on your behalf Chris has taken on the role to cause less work for the membership but also to ensure the membership records with England Athletics are correct. There have been glitches which he has picked up and dealt with. This all without any of the members having to devote their time and energies to. Chris attends many other meetings on behalf of the club and represents our interests at them. In addition he is the main administrator on the day for our cross country league matches again allowing the competitors to concentrate on their running performance. Chris has managed to do all of this whist increasing his training, turning in some of his best running performances for some years. Over the last year one of his greatest achievements was completing the Four Peaks challenge. Along with his team mates raising thousands of pounds for disabled rugby players.
This very well deserved award goes to Chris McClaren
This award goes to two men who have dedicated a vast amount of their lives to road running within the county. This award is particularly focused on the Luton Marathon and Three Stage Relays. For a combined 30 years these two men have been involved in an organisational role. Both have held the position of Race Director. The overall role of responsibility for the staging of any race. They have dedicated so much of their time to putting on the race each year it would be impossible to calculate. The event under their guidance has developed into the largest mass participation sporting event taking place in Luton on a yearly basis. The uniqueness of the event having a full marathon and a relay attracts runners from all over the UK and from abroad also. Their attention to detail and their ability to learn from professional review of the event has led the event to attain the prestigious Gold Standard from the British Association of Road Running. Not just getting that status but maintaining the status, which is possibly more difficult than getting it in the first place. I know that both of them would be the first to recognise the effort of all those who assist them in putting the event on. However without positive, enthusiastic and knowledgeable leadership the event would not take place. Both of these men have provided those qualities in abundance. Through their efforts thousands of pounds has also been raised for local charities, a feat they can be justifiably proud of. Their dedication to the event is such that on announcing their stepping down from organising the event, they did it in a succession planning way. By giving a years notice they have allowed a new team to work alongside them to get to know the elements required in staging such a large event. Also neither of them are just walking away from the event or the sport. They will remain as consultants to the new team. Again a testament to the men themselves. For all of us a runners we have a debt of gratitude to these two men as without them or their like, none of us would have races to compete in. Both of them are the greatest role models and ambassadors for their clubs and road running as a whole.
This Special award goes to Dave Young and John Catlin
Ken Abbott 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.
This man is one of the stalwarts of the club having been a member for 24 years. He is a constant at all cross country races and is a regular road racer at all distances. He is a true team member and is a real supporter of the club over all; he is one of the first to encourage others. 2008 should have been a real momentous year for him. Having his 60th birthday and retiring from work should have left him free to concentrate in a more relaxed way on his running. However the dreaded ankle and foot injury struck. No matter what treatment and rest he gave to this injury it just did not seem to improve to allow him to run for the most of 2008. This man was not going to allow the injury to stop him doing things and he was determined to try to maintain a level of fitness. Cross training particularly cycling was the order of the day. He also took three weeks out to complete the Pennine Way. Towards the end of 2008 saw a return to gentle running and more regular appearances at the club. He has driven himself to be able to compete in the Three Counties cross country league, County and Southern cross country competitions.
Having come through a very frustrating year, this prestigious award goes to
This award goes to a lady who has really embraced the sport and the club with infectious enthusiasm. Since joining the club by taking part in the beginner’s course, she has developed into a really confident and accomplished runner, having now completed and competed at half marathon distances. It is with regularity that personal bests are announced for this lady. She has become enveloped in running. She is constantly pushing her group of runners demanding to know the next training run and ensuring they are training for a specific race. However she looks beyond the running she is also keen to embrace the social side of our sport. Constantly looking at races where overnight or weekend stays are the order of the day. For any social event that takes place within the club she is normally the first name on the list. She also shows that age is not a bar to joining a running club. She is a great role model to the more mature novices and can encourage all newer members. This lady pushes herself hard in her training, encourages and pushes others to stick with their schedules keeping them motivated. The results for all of the people she runs with speak for themselves. Overall the lady is motivated, enthusiastic, friendly, always having the biggest smile on her face. She is the embodiment of the spirit of Stopsley Striders.
The Chairman’s award for 2008 goes to