Stopsley Striders Presentation Awards for 2009

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 lady has been a member for 18 years. For many years she was a constant at all cross country races and a regular road racer at all distances. She was truly competitive in every race. She is a true team member and is a real supporter of the club.
However in August 2008 she was a victim of an horrific road accident whilst on her bicycle. I think it is true to say that without wearing a cycle helmet, she would not be with us today.A lorry attempted to pass very close to her and she was struck on the head by the wing mirror of the vehicle. The equivalent of a heavy metal projectile being thrown at you travelling at many miles per hour. She was knocked from her bike and onto the roadway. Thankfully not into the path of any vehicle wheels. She was knocked unconscious  and taken by the emergency services to hospital. Amongst her numerous injuries the most serious were the three fractures of her skull. After a considerable time in hospital, in her normal determined way she began her recuperation. She was totally committed to regaining her fitness and returning as soon as she could to her running. Like all major injuries there are frustrations when you are trying to return to the level of fitness you had before the injury. I know that this lady did suffer some set backs. She continued to persevere. It was so good to see her coming to the club for social events and then to assist in marshalling club events. But the most pleasing was to see her return to her running. It is so good to see her again regularly attending the club and doing what she does best, running.

This prestigious award goes to
Margaret Chew

Chairman’s Award

This award goes to one of the most successful and tenacious competitors within our club. He is also one of the most popular members of the club also. He transcends the age groups within the club, he is greatly respected by his peers and his juniors alike. His passion for competition is infectious, constantly those who run with him or against him try to emulate him. His 22 years with the club certainly has honed his experience. Frequently he manages to show those, many years his junior, a clean pair of heels. Every year in both cross country and road races he sweeps up his age category titles. He also holds most of the, County Championship titles, in his age group. He still runs at a very high level. I know that he has friendly competition with members of other clubs inside and outside of the county. However whilst single minded when running, this does not stop him being a person who is really liked by those who know and associate with him. On the banter stakes, particularly with the young pretenders he gives as good as he gets, if not better. He joins in the message board debates, and not surprisingly has a point of view! He attends virtually all club running and social events. He also turns out to marshal races. He is genuinely a supporter of the club and a supporter of the members within the club. He is also a great ambassador for the club. He has the respect of all who have come to know his and also compete against him. He will also know that by receiving this award it will put him to the back of the queue for the buffet!

The Chairman’s award for 2009 goes to Chris Lamont

Rosa Trophy

Whenever we talk to visitors about the club or to new members, the subject of the friendly atmosphere in our club is never far from people’s conversation. Now, as we all know, the club doesn’t exist in isolation, rather it is the sum total of all the members, and we are blessed to have as members, a collection of some of the nicest people you could wish to meet.
The recipient of this years’ Rosa Trophy could certainly be described as a model for the ideal Stopsley Striders Club member. She, for a she it is this year, is a serving member of the committee, an active coach, has helped with the organisation of the Luton Marathon and is a thoroughly nice person to boot. Did I mention her permanently cheerful disposition?

Without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to award the Rosa Trophy to
Elaine Harries

Special Award

This award goes to two men who have dedicated a not inconsiderable amount of time to Stopsley Striders. Both have held the position of Chairman of the club and have served for many years on the committee. Between them they have organised races on behalf of the club, between them they have been race directors, race secretaries, course organisers, time keepers, awards compilers, coaches, general do anything for the club. Under their stewardship the club has grown and developed into a serious running club, where members can develop and have fun. They both care about the club and about the members of the club. They have given their time to attend external meetings and forums, again for the benefit of the club as a whole. They and their families have and continue to be great supporters of all events that take place within the club.They are both runners of the highest level and have raced in the UK and overseas, on each occasion promoting the club. Their knowledge and experience remains invaluable to the club and to the committee, we are so glad that they will continue to share that experience within the club.

It is with grateful thanks from all of the club members that this Special Award is presented to
Dave Young & Phil Abbitt

Special Award

This award goes to four people who undertook the biggest project that anyone from the club can undertake, that of organising the Luton Marathon and Three Stage Relays. It was always going to be a hard act to follow, Dave Young & John Catlin. Not only did they have a Gold standard event to maintain, they also had to deal with the expectations of those who were disappointed from the previous year, when the event had to be cancelled. Being measured against such a high bench mark is not always easy. They set about their tasks with enthusiasm and with a fresh view. Whilst not wanting to tinker with a previously successful formula, they are not afraid to make subtle changes and begin to put their own mark upon the event. They were also able to engage with a new pool of talent from around the club. To be blooded as race organisers with the biggest participation, sports event, within Luton, having in effect two events wrapped into one, having to deal with all of the administrative and logistical functions is a feat for any race organiser, let alone virgins to the art of race organising. I know that they will say the support they received made the event a success which is true. But without clear and enthusiastic leadership any event fails. These four brought that leadership to this event. The indications as to how well the event went, is that the Luton Marathon and Three Stage Relay has retained its Gold Standard for 2010. The numerous appreciative comments from the participants that were posted on the web sites, is testament as to how well the event was organised. Without these four stepping in this prestigious event would have folded.

This greatly appreciated Special Awards goes to
Stuart Harries, Elaine Harries, Matt Thompson and Marie Bacon

Merit Award

This couple have been members of Stopsley Striders for a cumulative 46 years. Running has taken them far and wide over the years. However the North East seems to have a real hold over them both. What has now become an iconic Half Marathon, The Great North Run. Between them they have completed 42 Great North Runs. Andy has completed 22 consecutive runs the first one being in 1987. Judy over the 22 years has had to miss two of the runs. However 2009 saw the completion of her 20th run in the event. Even 22 years on they both completed the 2009 run in very respectable times. Andy completing the course in 1 hour 34 minutes 16 seconds and Judy finishing in 2 hours 17 minutes and 12 seconds. They have seen the race develop from a small scale event with participation mainly from elite and club athletes to probably the biggest mass participation athletics event in the UK. We are proud to have two such dedicated members representing Stopsley Striders at such a prestigious event.

This well deserved Merit award goes to Andy & Judy Reid

Merit Award

As most of you are aware the Luton Marathon and Three Stage Relay is the largest event put on by members of Stopsley Striders probably being the largest participation sporting event in Luton. The winner of this award is known to many within the club to be a regular contributor to the message board, being a self styled moderator, managing the younger members of the club, by giving as good as he gets, by use of his dry wit. He is not adverse to giving some of his wisdom to his peers also. Over 2009 his observations on flora and fauna have been educational to say the least. However he can only give his advice, as week in and week out, he is out doing those hard training miles, pushing himself and others to the limit. Young and old alike know when they have done a training session with this man. He is one of the most respected runners within the club, having been a member for 22 years. That respect is no more well placed, when you reflect that this man has taken part in every Luton Marathon, that being a total of 19. The respect is magnified when you see that he completed the 2009 Luton Marathon in a time of 3 hours 43 minutes 40 seconds. An exceptional run from an exceptional man.

We are proud to give this Merit Award to Adrian Moore

Merit Award

This time last year we were acknowledging that this man had made a remarkable return to running after suffering a horrendous year with injury. This coupled with retirement had certainly spurred this man on and during 2009, marking his, 24th year with the club, his running performances have left us all full of admiration for him. During 2009 he has taken part in 11 races including our league, National and Southern cross country races. Every month he has posted either a personal best or an age related personal best. He has shown us all, that with a lot of grit and determination, along with patience in getting over a prolonged injury, you can come back to running and attain a high standard of performance.

This really well deserved Merit Award goes to
Ian Cousins

Senior Man

This person started his year with a 3 minute PB run in the Sandy 10miles. He has bettered his PB times at every distance from 5k to the half marathon. Since he joined us here at Striders he has shown a very consistent improvement in his running, and is now running under 78.5 minutes for  a half marathon and under 17 minutes for a 5k. During the year he tried his luck on the track, competing in his first 1500mtrs race for 23 years! He ran a very respectable 4min 38 second time. He works hard at his running and it has paid off for him. He is also an extremely helpful and cheerful member of the club, always willing to lend a hand or take out a new runner. But as with most runners there is always a down side and last year he was injured for 2 months but has now managed to bounce back to fitness. We hope that he will continue to work hard and show improvement as there are some younger men who are after his crown!

Long may the good times continue for our Senior Man of 2009
Adrian Copp

Senior Lady

After performing very well in all our early cross country  races, this lady started her road racing year with a 14 minute PB in the Sandy 10 miles. We feel it was a couple of years since her previous 10 mile road race as she has never been an extensive racer and is not a lover of hill sessions, but she managed to hold her form throughout the year. She ran a PB in every race she competed in, except for the Royal Parks half marathon where she missed out by just 20 seconds. This was mainly due to her training being disrupted by illness. In fact she only decided at the last moment to race the event. We have no doubt that if she had managed to follow her full training schedule she would have come away with a PB time in that race too. In July she finished 4th lady in our own Ladies 5k race once again with a new PB time. She recently moved out of Luton and we hope that this will not affect her attending and representing Striders as we would miss her greatly. Bill says that he would let her miss the odd hill session now and again but only the odd one!

We hope that the improvement continues for our Senor Lady of 2009
Jenna Litchfield

Veteran Man

This man started his year determined to set some PB’s. Unfortunately due to his work commitments, he travels not just the country but the world, he often finds it difficult to train. This year his travelling was curtailed so he decided to commit himself to a strict training schedule which hopefully would produce the PB’s he was after. He competed in the Flitwick 10k and although this event did not produce a PB he was very close. This spurred him on to train even harder. After 2 more races where he was very close to a PB he finally achieved his goal! After that he could do no wrong and the PB’s flooded in! In the following 6 races he ran PB’s in each of them.

He competes very well in our cross country events and we cannot see any reason why the improvement should not continue for our Veteran Man of 2009 Gary Fowler

Veteran Lady

If anyone has ever wondered if hard work really pays off then this lady is the ultimate proof. She would not mind us saying that she is not blessed with natural ability but she has a big heart and willingness to work hard. She has probably had the best year of running that any Strider has had. She started her year with a PB of 3 minutes in the Sandy 10 miles, she then won the Betty Willett 10k and was 3rd lady in our own Ladies 5k race. She was 1st vet lady in the Luton 5k and 1st vet 35 in the County Championships. In the Luton 10k she was 3rd vet and took 3rd vet place in the Luton 3 Race Series. She knocked 5 minutes off her PB in the Great North Run and finished her road racing year with another 3 minute PB in the Bedford Half Marathon. Throughout the year she competed in 10 road races and with 9 PB’s. She only missed the 10th one by 2 seconds! In our cross country races in October and November she was our second lady finisher in each one.

After a year as successful as that one our Veteran Lady of 2009 has to be Alison Sugars

Super Veteran Man

We know that everyone will be wondering who will win this award! We appreciate that it is very much a foregone conclusion. Our biggest problem is to try to write something different from last year and the year before and the year before that as well! 
After an extremely good cross country season he started his road racing year in the Milton Keynes half marathon with his priority being the Blackpool Marathon. However his first race did not go too well for him even though he finished 1st vet 50 he could not prove it as he lost his chip and had to depend on his own timing. He ran his marathon in Blackpool and completed it in what most of us would consider an extremely brilliant time – 3hrs 20seconds.  Those 20 seconds would niggle at the forefront of most athletes’ minds but to his credit, we have never heard him complain. He says that he gave the race everything he had and could not have run any faster. In his 14 road races during the year he has won the vet 50 or 55 category on 10 occasions. This is an outstanding achievement for anybody. We feel sorry for his club mates who also compete in his category. In the St.Albans half marathon we believe he has won his category 6 out of 7 times and 3 times in a row at the Great Eastern half. He finishes in the first 2 or 3 Striders in our cross country races and the rumour that this is to make sure he gets to the food table in time is just not true! We could not finish this citation without mentioning what an extremely good club man this person is. He gladly joins in every debate going, either verbally or on the Striders message board, and is never shy to state his opinion. He is also well known for his love of dog walkers and horse riders !

But our club would be far too quiet without our Super Vet Man of 2009 Chris Lamont

Super Veteran Lady

This is another lady who started her year by running the Sandy 10 miles. She finished the race taking the 1st vet 65 title in the race and in the County Championships. This was a pattern which was to continue throughout the year. She is the county champion in her age group in every event from the 5k up to and including the half marathon. We are unsure why she doesn’t run the marathon and make a clean sweep of all the championships! She was also the winner in her age group in the Luton 3 Race Series. She is a very valued member of our club and that is not just in her racing. She is a very hard worker behind the scenes and has been a club member from the first day that Stopsley Striders was formed.  She has also been a committee member for many years but stood down this year in order to have a break. Don’t be surprised if we now see a further improvement in her running!

We hope that the good runs and times will continue for our Super Vet Lady of 2009 Breda Haughton

Cross Country Man

This man started his year in very good form. He was our first Strider home in all of our cross country races and was getting very close to the leading group in our league races. Many of us remember his run in the Southern Counties Cross Country Championship in January in what was one of the toughest cross country courses we have ever run. It was extremely difficult just to walk from the car park to the race HQ, but it did not seem to affect this man very much until the last lap where he admits to starting to feel a bit tired! Many of the competitors said they were tired after the first lap!

After a year like that our Cross Country Man of 2009 is Adrian Copp

Cross Country Lady

This lady started her year by finishing 1st vet lady in the County Cross Country Championships on a very frozen course in Shuttleworth. She continued her year by finishing first lady Strider in all our races. She was 1st vet lady in our cross country league for the second year in a row. Now we appreciate that she does not look old enough to be a vet but indeed she is. She went on to run for Bedfordshire in the Inter Counties Cross Country in March where she finished 2nd Bed’s Lady. She missed our first cross country league race in October as she had spent five long months injured but is now fully fit again, we are pleased to say. In her first race back she was our first female Strider in her race.

Let us hope all her problems are now behind her and the good times have returned for our Cross Country Lady of 2009
Louise Peters

Male Newcomer

There is a saying that “first impressions are very important”. When this man came up to the club runners were saying that he definitely “looked the part” and we are pleased to say that he has proved us right.
His improvement has been immense and more importantly consistent. In his first race he powered ahead in front of one of our faster runners. The experienced runner did not panic and felt that he would go by him later in the race which, to his credit he did. Once passed him he thought that was it, but credit to our newcomer he had other ideas! He sat behind our more experienced runner for a while and then kicked hard to the finish leaving our more experienced with these thoughts – “is age catching up with me? That chap has the makings of a very good runner”
We are pleased to say that his second thought has proved to be true. Since he joined Striders he has competed in 6 road races running PB’s in 5 of them. The only reason he did not get a PB in his 6th race was due to him running with a friend to encourage and support him. This man has also excelled in our cross country league. In the first 2 races he has been our first Strider home in each race.

The future looks bright for our club but even brighter for our Male Newcomer of 2009
Tim Davies

Improvement Award

This man started his year by running a couple of cross country events and performing very well. He does not run many races but his improvement has been extremely consistent throughout the year. He has kept all his races between 5 and 10 miles as he does not yet know which distance he prefers. He started his year racing on the road in the Sandy 10 mile where he ran a PB. He followed this up with another PB in the Luton 5miles and again in the Luton 10k. He completed his year with a PB in the Standalone 10k.

We hope that the PB’s will continue for our Improvement Award Winner
Simon Cain

Improvement Award

This lady trained for most of the year but for whatever reason did not race until late in the year. But in the space of 4 weeks she ran 5 races ad improved in every one of them. She varied her distances from 6 miles to the half marathon and set PB’s in all of them. She is a tough character and works hard at her training so there is every reason for us to believe that her improvement will continue. She suffered a knee injury in November which has kept her away from running for a while but we hope she will be back with us soon, competing in our cross country events which we know she loves!

We trust that the good performances will continue for our Improvement Award Winner
Lynn Doyle

Improvement Award

This young man only joined Striders less than 2 years ago and we are glad to say that his improvement has not stopped since. He has knocked over 3 minutes off his 10k PB and more than 10 minutes off his half marathon PB. He started his racing year in February and was still performing well on Boxing Day. Throughout the year he ran 11 races with 7 PB’s. He knocked 3 minutes off his PB at the Silverstone 10k and improved his half marathon time by 6 minutes at St Albans. He continued to improve and bettered his half marathon time by a further 3 minutes in July at Milton Keynes and he is now making enquiries about running the cross country.

We hope that the good times will continue for our Improvement Award Winner
Thom Darby

Improvement Award

Like many other Striders, this man started his year in the Sandy 10miles with a PB run. He improved during the year and indeed finished his racing calendar in December with another PB run. He ran the Betty Willett 10k in a PB time and went on to other PB performances in the Luton 5miles and 5k aswell as in the Bedford half marathon. He is now attending our club nights on a more regular basis and is a consistent member of one of the speedwork groups.

We feel sure that with a little more effort there are even more PB’s to come from our Improvement Award Winner
Matt Crossland

Improvement Award

We can remember composing a citation for this man for our awards evening last year and are pleased to see that the improvement has continued for a further year. Throughout this year he has run 10 road races and some cross country events. He started his year with a PB run in the Milton Keynes half marathon and continued his PB performances in the Sandy 10miles. He then set his target on the Daffodil 15k where once again a PB performance was produced and followed this up with another PB performance in the Colmworth 8.1 miles event. But he was not satisfied with that so he continued to produce PB’s in the Luton 5 miles, Leighton 10k and the Ridgeway 15k.

After running 7 PB’s in 10 races an Improvement Award goes to Chris Hardwicke

Improvement Award

This man started his year in the Milton Keynes half marathon and continued to run well and improve throughout the year. Although he has only been a club member for less than 2 years he has proved himself a very prolific racer. Throughout the year he has run 12 races from 5k to half marathon. He continued his racing with PB runs in the Flitwick 10k, Betty Willet 10k, Bedford 6miles, Whipsnade 10k, Marston Vale 5k, Cranfield 5miles, Bedford 10k and the Ridgeway 15k.  He also knocked 8.5 minutes off his half marathon time in the Riverside half.

After running 10 PB’s from his amazing 12 races an Improvement Award goes to
Stewart Read

Improvement Award

This man has only been a member of our club for less than 2 years but has gone from strength to strength during that time. He has been a scoring member of our cross country teams in all our races and in nearly every road race team as well. He also started his road racing calendar with a PB in the Sandy 10 miles which was the start of many PB runs. In his first 7 races he ran 6 PB’s and that was just the first half of the year. However from July onwards things did not go to plan. For whatever reason, he could not get near his PB performances in his next 4 races and even during training was not running well. He decided to take a short break from racing, work hard at his training and see if things improved. He had one race left to compete in for the year and his aim was to produce a PB in the Bedford half marathon. With his determination and hard work he achieved his aim. We hope that he is back to full fitness and his winning ways.

An Improvement Award for 2009 goes to
Mark Sains

Improvement Award

This lady did not start her racing year until June but when she did, she showed us all what a big improvement she had made from the previous year. Her first race was the Whipsnade 10k, she then produced PB’s in the Cranfield 5 miles, and the Ladies 5k. She went on to run the Garden City 10 miles where she produced an excellent performance and smashed her previous PB time. She ran the Great North Run but only as a training run leading up to the Great Eastern Half which was her target. In October with her sights very much focused she produced another massive PB run.

As she now trains for her first marathon, we wish the best of luck to our Improvement Award Winner of 2009
Christina Parrett

Performance Award

After looking through this lady’s results for the year we are not sure that she will agree with us that this was her best performance. However we know that this was the one that took the most effort. She has won County Championships in her age group, and has also run 6 other PB’s this year, but we have decided her best performance for the year was the London Marathon. A marathon takes special training and we know how much effort and preparation this lady put into hers. On the day she ran 4hours and 34 seconds which was a PB by 37 minutes. This was a brilliant achievement by any standard.

So for her effort in the London Marathon a Performance Award goes to Linda Thomasson

Performance Award

Although we do not see much of this young lady at the club due to university commitments, she still competes in a Striders vest. It was not easy to choose just one event to give this award for, but we decided on the Ashby 20 miles. This lady made a late decision to run this event and she did not put in any extra special training for the distance. She had not trained above 13 miles, but managed to race the 20 miles in a time of 2hrs 20mins 10secs. She surprised not only herself but everyone else too! We hope that she will see the potential for longer distances in the future.

For her effort in the Ashby 20 Miles a Performance Award goes to Natalie Barnard

Performance Award

We presented this lady with an award last year and we are pleased to see that she has continued to improve throughout this year. We had a variety of events to choose from to decide which was her best overall performance. She is a young lady who is away at university and trains mainly on her own which makes this award even more special. We are pleased to hear that she finishes university in the summer and we are all looking forward to having her back at the club. We decided her best performance of the year was her run in the 5 miles County Championship race at Cranfield in July, where she ran a massive PB and finished third lady in the County Championships.

For that run a Performance Award goes to Kirsty Edwards

Performance Award

This lady is the type of person our club is built around. Her motto is: “ I am fine, let’s look after the others’”
In the last few years she has spent nearly all her time helping and coaching the new starters at a big cost to her own running. This year she decided to run a half marathon and more importantly to train for it. We think she felt she needed to prove to herself she could still do it. She trained extremely hard for this event putting in a lot of effort. On the day all her effort and training paid off because she completed the event in a PB time. She now knows that she can still do it and who knows she may train for a few more races. So for her run in the Great Eastern Half Marathon a well deserved

Performance Award goes to Gill McLaren

Performance Award

When someone has run 12 races in a year and recorded 8 PB runs it is not easy to choose one race above the others, so we hope that she agrees with our decision.
We know that she put in a lot of effort with her training for this race.

As any of you, who have run the London Marathon will know, it is held in the month of April but the hard training is carried out in the cold and wet winter months. None of this deterred this lady. She missed very little of her training and it all paid off when she completed the London Marathon in a time of 3hrs 58 minutes 1 second. A PB of 39 minutes!

So for that run a Performance Award goes to Dianne Blackmore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *