Birmingham League, Midland League, Parkrun, Dursley Dozen – 11-12 February 2017

Cross Country – men’s
In the final fixture of the 2016/17 Birmingham Cross Country League Division Two, CLC Striders men sealed a consistent season with a good team performance. On a bitterly cold day, with sleet driven in on an unrelenting north-easterly, the CLC athletes lined up to compete in a strong field at Coundon Park, Coventry – with every club putting out as many good runners as possible to secure the best season finishes they could. Despite missing key athletes, out injured, CLC finished the afternoon by equaling their best ever finish in Division Two, with a seventh place overall.

Once again, the team was led home by the ever-reliable talisman Will Ferguson, bagging an impressive 13th place. Strongman Iain Porter cemented his excellent cross country season with a 27th place on the day and Chris Driskell showed his class over the country with an impressive 60th place. Next, wearing a borrowed pair of spikes (never having worn spikes or run cross country before), debutant Greg Chilton secured a top 100 spot, finishing 90th. And completing the A Team finishers were William Pearce and Jon Howes, once again battling it out, neck-and-neck, to the line to finish 104th and 105th respectively.

The Striders B team finishers were led home by Paul Northup, nursing a calf injury, in 144th, followed by team captain Joel Freeland in 210th, the improving Kyle Sollars in 222nd and finally Andrew Gage in 225th (swapping 35-degree Parkruns down under for two-degree arctic conditions in Coventry only days after his return to the UK from six months in Australia).

Cross Country – women’s
Meanwhile, the CLC women’s team blazed their way to the conclusion of another impressively strong season in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League Division Two in the final fixture of the 2016/17 season at Warwick University. With an overall sixth position in the league, the women have triumphed over adversity – missing key runners to injury and with other stalwarts having moved away – demonstrating the quality and strength in depth that CLC boasts in its women’s team.

Across heavy ground, dusted with a covering of snow, and in a biting wind, the Striders ladies were led home by the superb Rachel Vines, securing her highest ever Midland League finish in an impressive 16th place, taking her cross country performances this winter to new heights as she saved her best until last. Amelia Mullins was the next lady home in an equally strong and impressive 39th place. Emma Abbey continued her recent strong form with a top 100 finish, in 86th place. And Amy Underdown completed the Striders team finishers with a good 115th place.

Once again showing the breadth of engagement of the club, on the same weekend Gareth Harries ran the Cheltenham Parkrun in 19:27, finishing eighth out of 319 runners. And club vet Billy Bradshaw completed the grueling Dursley Dozen trail run in under two hours (1:54:13), finishing 15th in his age category.