Striders Retrace Olympic and Paralympic Glory

At the weekend almost 50 St Albans Striders recreated the glory of Summer 2012 by taking part in a 40-mile, five-stage, relay event from Westminster Lodge Athletics Track in St Albans to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford in East London. This followed the same route also run by the club during the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Starting at 8am, Leg 1 finished in Aldenham Country Park, south Hertfordshire, followed by a navigationally challenging route to Arkley near Barnet. The Striders then followed the Dollis Valley Way to Hendon on Leg 3. Leg 4 finished atop Primrose Hill in London, and then they followed the Regent's Canal all the way to Victoria Park, then turned onto to Grand Union canal footpath to get to finish inside the Olympic Park. 

Five Striders, Rose McGinness, Ian Hirth, Ivan Ghouse, Stephen Elkan and Ruthie Martin completed all five stages, while a number of others ran multiple legs in the hot sun while the rest of the nation watched England lose to Belgium for a second time in the World Cup. 

The day was organised by Peter Blackaller who did a superb job putting together the route, run leaders, special t-shirts, minibuses and supplies, alongside club chair Graham Smith and others.

Earlier in the week, St Albans Striders ran another 10K at the Mid Week Road Race League's annual all-divisions 'Mob Match', this time in Welwyn Garden City. Steve Buckle was first male Strider across the line in 34:16 and fifth overall. Claire Kremer was the club's first female in 42:06 and 8th female in the race. Duncan Melsom got a new PB of 52:07. Striders emerged sixth team on the night, and third in the combined Vets race. 

It was also the Division 1 awards night, where the club picked third place, boosted by first place for the women's team. There were also individual awards for Jonathan Scott, overall Division 1 male champion, Zoe Lowe, who finished the series 2nd in the FV45 age category, and Nigel Aston who claimed 3rd in the MV50 competition. 

Elsewhere seniors from the club competed with the St Albans Athletics Club to come second at the latest Southern Athletics League match in Kings Lynn. Richard Hayes ran the British 10K in London in 45:43. Magda Meier ran the Women's Running 10K in Milton Keynes in 50:41, and Hollie Ryder completed the challenging Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon in 2 hours 53 minutes. 

Entries for the fourth annual St Albans Stampede around Heartwood Forest on 1st September are still available at stalbansstampede.com .

Report by Howard Bull 

Photos by Tony Barr and Graham Smith. 

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