Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jeff's Italian trip

For the past three or four years I have run both a spring and an Autumn marathon, and this year was no exception. My eldest son, Russell, at first suggested the Amsterdam race in October but, after objection from his wife, Maureen, who wanted to 'go somewhere a bit sunny', we settled on Lake Garda.

The Lake Garda district of Italy is a beautiful area, very picturesque and an ideal temperature for racing at that time of year (10th October). Eileen and I decided to treat the trip as our 40th wedding anniversary 'treat' (although that is actually on 19th December). We drove there, a journey that took three days, stopping off in France and Italy.
We stayed in a lakeside resort called Melcesine, which is a charming place, mainly populated, it seemed, by German tourists. We had to catch the 07:00 ferry to the other side of the lake at Limone for the start of the race at 09:30. There were about 1,500 runners of all shapes and sizes taking part. I had hoped to complete my run in three and a half hours, Russell was aiming to get somewhere near his PB of 2:41.
I was going great guns for the first half of the race, waving to all the well wishers as we ran through all the charming little villages en route. I was well on schedule for a sub 3:30, but with about five kilometres to go all my energy just drained away from me. I had been carrying an energy gel pack with me that I had intended taking on board with about an hour's running to go, but, unfortunately, I stumbled and fell and dropped the blooming thing. Iwas also very,very thirsty, even though it wasn't a particularly hot day and I was nowhere near a drinks station. I was that parched I saw a discarded bottle of water by the side of the road, so I just picked it up and drunk the contents, which, were hopefully just water ....mind you I couldn't have cared less at the time.

I could only muster a sort of walk/run from kilometre 37-41, however, I did mange to 'sprint' the final 1,000 metres, but I was feeling pretty knackered at the finish. Normally I can't eat anything after a marathon, but this time I scoffed down everything in sight and then went back for second helpings.
Russell came home in 12th place in an excellent time of 2:50:25. I was 313th overall (fifth in my category) in 3:34:10. We both thought that it was a tough course, as a great deal of it was downhill and there were a lot of cobblestones to negotiate as well. At first I was a tad dissapointed with my time, but later, on reflection, I thought that most blokes of my age would have been pretty pleased with the time, and it was only four minnutes outside the London Marathon good-for-age qualifying time after all....and the last finisher in my age category took 06:14:02.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Brian's breakthrough

Last Saturday was the sixteenth running of the 'Carrera Vila D'Altea', an 8.6km race starting in Altea, heading towards Albir and then to the surprise of a few, finishing with a punishing climb up towards Altea's old town.

It was a hot and still day, so the conditions were tough but that didn't stop a few of the striders from putting in some great performances.
A great result for Louise put her on top of the podium in the women's vets C category, and second overall in the women's race with a superb time of 37:46. But I think the surprise of the day was Brian, showing that his recent triathlon style multisporting is paying off in a big way, by finishing ninth in his category in the fantastic time of 40:22.

Other performances were; Jon B 42:50, Don 46:10, Sole 49:22 (4th place,just narrowly missing out on the podium), Roger 50:39 and Des 54:20.

The first three places overall went to Juan Antonio Fernandez Cantos (28:54), Carlos Alegre Sanchez (29:07) and Ricardo Dura Cremades (29:13).

First to finish for the women was Leyre Gallardo Poveda in 37:25 then Louise (37:46) with Pilar Rodriguez Sedeno in third (37:59).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sole steals the show

On Saturday a few of us were in La Xara for the town's 7km race. The course, which included two laps around the town was ideal for fast times and the striders didn't disappoint.

The big news was Sole's fantastic third place in the women's vets C category. After surgery on her meniscus in 2008 she has had to be very patient with her running, dilligently building the strength back up in her knee and running less than she would have liked at times, but Saturday was her reward and showed that she is beginning to find some of her old form again.

There were of course more good performances from several others. Amanda had a great race just edging out one of her newest rivals, Cachita by one second in 31:00. Paul finished in 4th place in the vets B category in a time of 25:45 which placed him 26th overall. Jon B finished well in 31:27.

Rob had another good run, finishing as the first Strider in 31:58, Don ran strongly to finish in 36:21, next was Sole in 36:54 followed by Ron in 38:01, Roger in 38:55 and Carol in 39:06.

The overall race was won convincingly by C.A Dianium's Vicent Mas Leyda in a time of 23:09 with Victor Manuel Fernandez Garcia in second (23:21) and Said Day Day third 23:50.

In the women's race Maxine Mckinnon finished first in the fantastic time of 25:51 followed by Mayca Sala Garcia in 26:49 and Laura Alabau Marti taking third in 28:41

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Fletcher Double

Last Saturday was the 'Volta a Peu Beniarbeig' and it was a very successful day for the Fletcher's as both Paul and Amanda went home with a trophy. Amanda convincingly won the women's Vets B category in 33:18 (almost a full minute clear of her next rival) and Paul placed second on the men's side in a rapid time of 26:58 (and 24th place overall)

Several other local runners put in noteworthy performances, but none more so than John B who having only been running a few short months managed to finish in a fantastic time of 35:21.

Other great performances from strider's were; Rob (33:40), Sole (39:44 and 5th place in her category), Ron (39:56), Roger (40:55), Carol (42:21) and Des (43:28).

Talented Franc Beneyto runner, Mounir Horma took the honours in the men's race in 23:17 followed by Sergi Soler Ginestar in 23:46 and Cristian Gaston Ferreyra Peralta in 24:26.

Monica Mahiques fornes won the women's race in 31:17 well clear of the next woman, Almudena Sanchez Fernandez (32:35) and Carme Vidal Moreno (32:56) taking third.

Born to Ron

On the 4th September the 'Volta a Peu L'Alqueria de la Comtessa' took place, and as ever there were several success stories.

Regulars on the racing circuit Louise and Amanda both ran very good races with Louise winning the women's Vets B category in a time of 39:33 and Amanda running 43:11.

Rob, taking advantage of a great run of form at the moment managed 45:38 for the 7.3 km and the ever improving John B completed the course in 49:30.

Ron and Carol both took part in the race clocking 52:19 and 54:33 respectively but best of all, Ron's time won him a free meal for two for being the oldest competitor in the race. Apparently one of the locals took exception to this and questioned wether Ron was in fact old enough to win the prize. You've got to take the compliments wherever they come from Ron!

The overall race was won by Juanra Pous Perez in 30:29, over a full minute clear of second place Mohamed Boufzouz (31:32) and David Ruiz Gomez in third (31:39)

The women's race was won by Olivia Peiro Sabater in 38:30 with second place going to Louise (39:33) and third was Encarna Cardona Gomez (41:56)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Men against Women

Is there a way that men and women can compare there race times to calculate whose is a better relative performance?

Impossible you say?

It seems that there is. Check out this article from BBC News.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Helen's Javea Heroics

On the 29th of August quite a few of us went to Javea for the 'Pena la Bufa' ,a 4.7Km race which is pancake flat and always a 'striders' favourite, and as usual there were some cracking performances in very hot conditions.

Unfortunately as there was no Vets C category some of our runners who would normally be on the podium were competing with people 10 years or more younger but nevertheless placed very well.
A great run by Helen meant she came third in her category in a time of 19:50 and earned a trophy for her efforts. Not to be outdone Matt, without having run run for several months because of persistent injuries, surprised everyone by speeding round in 18:52

Louise, running for C.A. Corremundos and Amanda, running for C.A. Franc Beneyto R. Denia both managed to continue their amazing run of recent results with both of them on the podium in the Women's Vets B category, Loiuse in first place (18:32) and Amanda in third (19:49).

Other club results were; Tom (15:02), Rob (20:10), Brian (20:49), Kevin (21:06), Steve (21:13), John B (22:19), John R (22:40), Ron (23:47), Sole (24:23), Roger (25:02) and Carol (25:17)

The overall race was won by Juanra Pous Perez in a super quick time of 14:14, closely followed by Vicent Mas Leyda (14:20) and Cristian Gaston Ferreyra Peralta (14:23)

Benita Breiter was the first woman home in 19:05 with second place going to Raquel Alminana Fuertes in 19:27 and third place as previously mentioned going to Helen in 19:50

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mas Leyda victorious in Moraira Mile

The 17th of July saw the seventh running of our ' local race 'the Moraira Mile.'
In what was a very well supported race, three striders braved the hot temperatures to record some very good times.

The rest of us (yours truly included) could only muster the energy to stand at the bar with a beer in hand. Though we did our bit by cheering the others on.

Honorary strider Dawn Round, here on holiday, managed a very swift 6:08 clocking for 5th place in the women's vets A category. On the men's side, in the vets C category, Rob Sparkes was closely followed by John Ross for 4th and 5th place and 6:55 and 7:12 respectively.

Former striders and podium regulars Amanda Fletcher and Louisa Ambler both did brilliantly to finish first and second in the women's vets B category in 6:17 and 6:19 respectively, and Paul Fletcher managed to win the men's vets B category in the fantastic time of 5:05. Paul and Amanda's son Morgan also did superbly well in the "Alevi Masc" category finishing second in a time of 4:46. In addition new member John Bishop finished very well in 7:19

The irrepressable Vicent Mas Leyda (C.A. Dianium) streaked home for the overall win in the men's race in 4:37, closely followed by Daniel Cano Lopez (C.E.U Politecnica de Valencia) just one second back in 4:38 and third place going to Daniel Pena Maestra (C.A running team Grifone) in 4:43.

Rosa del Olmo Aparicio (C.A. Anta Banderas) was first in for the women in a superquick 5:27 followed by Mayca Sala Garcia (C.A. Benidorm) in 5:30 and Christelle Mesnage (Independent) in 5:39.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pous Perez prevails in Pedreguer

On the 15th May the sixth race in the Marina Alta series was contested in Pedreguer in what was a very well supported race run in perfect conditions.

As usual there were some superb performances from the usual suspects. Geoff was first home in the men's vets c category in the superb time of 42:06, over three minutes clear of his next rival.

Fast improving John, seemingly coming back to his top form managed 14th place in his category in 53:08.

It was a podium one two from former striders Amanda (46:03) and Louise (45:04) in the women's vets b category.

Other striders managed very creditable times; Tom (36:23), Brian (49:28), Ron (56:38), Sole (59:04) and Carol (59:47).

Last but not least, in a finish that was reminiscent of Beardsley's and Simonson's iconic finish in the inaugural London marathon, Des and "El Presidente" finished the race hand in hand together in (1:01:32) and (1:01:13) respectively.

In a very close finish in the men's race the overall win went to Juanra Pous Perez of C.A Franc Beneyto R. Denia in 33:36, who narrowly edged out Mounir Horma, also credited with the same time, and third place going to Vicent Mas Leyda of C.A Dianium in 34:11. Patricia Lopez Vicedo was first home for the women in a time of 40:28, followed by Maria Isabel Ferrer Castell (41:19) and Inge Van Den Broeck in third with 41:54.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It was a Strider double in the latest race in the 2010 Circuito a Peu Marina Alta in Pego on Saturday May 1. Sole came third in the Ladies Vets C category in 58:40 and Jeff won the Gents Vets C section in a time of 42:18.

Despite the fact that the heavens opened just before the start of the 10 kilometre race, nearly 1,000 runners braved the distinctly damp conditions to finish the puddle-laden course. Vicent Mas Leyda, running for C A Dianium took the overall title, splashing home in 33:27. Runner-up was Juan Antonio Fernandez Cantos of C A Benidorm in 34:10, just in front of third-placed Sergi Soler Ginestar of C A Ondara in 34:28.

No Maxine McKinnon this week, so Patricia Lopez Vicedo of C A Xeresa took centre stage, and she finished in 41:06, exactly a minute in front of second-placed Inge van den Broeck. Olivia Peiro Sabater of C A Safor took third spot in 42:17.

Because of the inclement weather (and injuries), only three other Striders ran the 10 kilometres around the charming town of Pego, Tom defied the conditions to speed around in 38:55, John finished in 54:43 and Denise Stanners ran it in 1:01:11 and Louise (Ambler) seems to be getting back to her pre-accident form by tacking second place in the Vets B group in 45:14.


There were more fine performances from 11 Striders in the extremely demanding (and bloomin’ hilly)eulada race in the 2010 Circuit a Peu de Marina Alta. As always, superfast Tom was first home for the Striders in a relatively slow time for him of 47:05, but then he had run from home before the race. He was closely followed by Jeff (47:43), who Tom had nursed round and then Paul (Elliot) (55:36). Next were Jim (56:38) and Stretch (56:39), followed by Don (1:01:42), John (1:04:38), Sole (1:10:02), Des (1:10:01), Roger (1:13:35) and Denise (1:13:38).

More cups were added to the already bulging Striders' trophy cabinet after the race, as Jeff won the Vets C category, Sole was the winner of the Local Vets C category and honorary Strider Margaret Finch was second in the Vets C race in a time of 1:03:02.


According to the old adage, it's an ill wind that blows nobody good, but that couldn't be further from the truth in Marc Jacques' case. Liverpudlian Marc and his family were due to return to the UK a couple of days before the Teulada race, but, because their flight had been cancelled due to the volcanic ash blown across Europe from Iceland, he was able to run in the race. Not only did he run it, he managed 18th place (out of 900 starters) and was runner-up in the Vets A category in a first-class time of 42:14.

The overall winner of the 11 kilometre race, run in really warm conditions, was Vicent Mas Leyda, of C A Dianium, in a scorching 37:43. Juan Antonio Fernandez Cantos (38:49), running for C A Benidorm and Sergi Soler Ginestar (38:59) of C A Ondara were second and third respectively. C A Dianium's Maxine McKinnon (44:12) was once again first home in the ladies section, followed by Patricia Lopez Vicedo (48:05) of C A Xeresa in second and Ana Alberola Puigcerver (48:50) in third.


The 2010 Circuit a Peu Marina Alta was back on track on Saturday April 17, with the third race in the nine event series. The venue was the town that is the midway point between Alicante and Valencia, El Verger (Vergel), and despite it being a cold and overcast evening, nearly 1,300 runners took part in the 10 kilometre race in and around the town.

The Striders, as usual, were well represented, with nine members finishing in good times. As usual, Tom was the first to cross the line in a time of 34:57. Jim was next in 39:07, closely followed by Jeff in 40.06, which was fast enough to win him the Vets C category. The other Striders, Paul (Elliot) (45:11), Brian (47:20), Don (51:22), John (52:38), Des (57:54) and Denise (58:33) all came home well within the hour mark. In the Ladies Vets B category, Louise was fourth in 44:51.

Jeff’s main rival, Norbert de Wulf (Wolfie), made his first appearance of the series but Jeff managed to hold him off, beating him by over a minute and a half.

It is a fairly flat course and therefore there were some pretty fast times recorded. The winner of a very exciting men's race was Emilio Vizcaya Gregorio of C A Dianium in 30:25, just one second in front of second-placed Mounir Horma, running for C A Franc Beneyto R Denia. Third place went to El Houssine Es Semaali (GETP Running Team) in 31:56,

After her recent triumph in the Denia half marathon, Maxine McKinnon (C A Dianium) was the first lady home in 37:14, which was over a minute and a half quicker than runner-up Patricia Lopez Vicedo (C A Xersa). Gema Canet Meri (C A Safor) was third in 40:16.


Only three Striders took part in the 2010 Denia half on Sunday March 28, Jeff, Paul (Elliott) and Don and they all made light of the very tough conditions. It was an early start made even earlier by the fact that the clocks had gone forward an hour that morning and it was a pretty warm day and the course contained lots of ups and downs, not many hills but plenty of steps and uneven surfaces. Despite that, Jeff managed a PB of 1:31:49, Paul came home in 1:42:29 and Don crossed the line in 2:10:32.
Unfortunately no trophies for any of them this time, as, unlike previous years, there was only one Veterans (age 35 and over) category. Jeff came 133rd overall (46th in the Vets category), Paul was 332nd (182nd in Vets) and Don was 630th (793).
Maxine (McKinnon) added yet another title to her already extensive collection when she was the first lady home, finishing in an excellent time of 1:22:00. In the men's race Andres Mico Martinez quite literally flew around in 1:07:40, crossing the line over five minutes ahead of second-placed Said Day Day (1:12:54).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A very wet Sunday morning in Almoradí witnessed the latest race in the Federation Cup series of duathlons. The distances at Almoradí should have been a 10 km run, 50 km cycle ride and 5 km run but after problems with the course, due to the weather conditions, they were shortened to a 9 km run, 34 km bike ride and 3 km run. The change in the cycle course made it very technical and, with the non-stop rain, there were quite a few crashes and DNFs.
The overall winner, José Santiago Villa, of C T Caravaca, completed the course in an amazing one hour 33 minutes. The fastest lady was Ayora Fernandez de Castro of Valencia University, who managed it in one hour 47 minutes.
Jim and Stretch finished the exceedingly damp course in very creditable times. Jim was first in the Vets 55 to 59 category in a time of one hour 50 minutes and Mark was 11th in the Vets 45 to 49 class in two hours five minutes.


Another excellent performance in Gata de Gorgos by all 13 Striders on Sunday (March 14). They all managed to finish the 9.6 kilometre course around the wickerwork capital of the Costa Blanca in well under 58 minutes. First home, in the second race of the Circuit a Peu Marina Alta series was Tom, who crossed the line in 21st place overall, out of over 1,100 finishers, in 34:41. Next was Jim (39:21), followed by Jeff (39:53), who also won the Vets C category. Margaret Finch (48:53), as she had done the previous week in Javea, took home the runners-up trophy in the Vest C class. After her sterling Javea performance, unfortunately, Sole (52:33) just missed out on third spot in the same group by a mere eight seconds, although her chip time placed her third.
The other Striders' times were: Paul (44:26), Brian (46:40), Don (53:03), Roger (53.11), Ron (54:03), John (56:26), Des (56:47), Carol (57:07) and Denise (57:28). Two other former Striders just failed to make the podium in the keenly-contested ladies Vets B category; Amanda was placed fourth in 43:44, whilst Louise (Ambler) was fractionally behind her in fifth in 43:46. Paul, who was second in last year's race in Gata, went round in 43:43.
The overall winner of the race, run in lovely sunny conditions for a change, was Vicent Mas Leyda (31:45) of C A Dianium, who just managed to pip Miguel Ferndandez Vázquez of C A Delta Valencia by one second. Third place went to Juan Antonio Mas Leyda (32:35), also of C A Dianium. Inge van den Broeck, who clocked 39:54, was the first lady home. In second position was Patricia Lopez Vicedo, running for C A Xeresa, in a time of 40:15 and Olivia Peiro Sabater (41:12) of C A Safor was placed third.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The first race of the 2010 Circuit a Peu Marina Alta went ahead in Javea on Sunday (March 7), despite the rather damp and cold conditions. But the lack of sunshine didn't put 14 doughty Striders (plus Louise, Margaret and Amanda) off their stride.
Despite suffering from a nasty chest cold, Tom was the first home (21st overall) in 35:35, followed by Jim in 39:36 and then it was Jeff in 41:32. Alan (46:02), making a welcome return to the circuit was fourth, followed by Paul (Elliott) (46:29), Stretch (46:32), Brian (46:59), Ron (53:44), Sole (53:46), Roger (53:51), Des (57:23), Denise (57:35), John (58:08) and Carol (59:13).
It was good to see that everybody managed to beat the hour mark for the 10 kilometre race (despite the fact that it had been advertised as an 11Km course). Amanda (44:58), Louise (45:11) and Margaret (49:48) also posted very good times.
The star of the day was definitely Sole, who took third spot in the Vets C category and Jeff retained his men's Vets C category title, which was a bit of a hollow victory, as his two main rivals weren't running.
Margaret (Finch) was second in Sole's group, and, Amanda (now running for C A Franc Beneyto) was third in the Vets B class.

Friday, February 26, 2010

TOM TRIUMPHS IN VALENCIA (and Neil and Jeff didn't do badly either)

After weeks and weeks of training, three Striders took on the streets of Spain's third city on Sunday February 21. Tom, Neil and Jeff ran in the 30th Valencia marathon, and didn't all three do well?
It was an early 08.30 start for the hardy trio, and the weather was not the hottest it had been of late, plus there was a threat of rain in the air. But that didn't put the lads off, cheered on by thousands of spectators including Roger, Sole, Ros, Brian, Sandra, Des and Sharon, all three achieved PBs. Mind you, it had to be a PB for Tom, as it was his first 26 miler, and he finished in the fantastic time of 2:47:26 coming home in 55th place, out of over 3,500 starters. According to the Power of 10 website, Tom's time was the seventh fastest marathon by a Brit so far in 2010.
Not to be outdone, Neil, running his fifth long 'un, took eight minutes off his PB, finishing in 3:08:14. We're all convinced he has a sub-three hour race in him, let's hope he manages it in Edinburgh in May, good luck Neil.
But what about the old fella? Jeff, also knocked a sizeable chunk off of his PB achieved at last year's Loch Ness race (3:15:21), crossing the finish line in 3:11:57 and also being crowned Over 60s Campeon (Vets F). But the daft twit didn't check the results and happily went off home, not realising he had won (it's his age, you know). It was only when he received a text with his time that it dawned on him. But he picked up his trophy the next day.
Three excellent results, three excellent times and three pretty tired but happy Striders.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Three Striders took part in the XXI Santa Pola half marathon on Sunday January 24 (2010), Neil, Matt and Helen. I had thought about running it but that was as far as it got... thinking about it. Neil reckoned that the conditions were very good, and the organisation of the event was second to none.
All three managed excellent times, Neil posted a PB, finishing in 493rd place overall (out of just under 6,000 finishers) in 1:26:50. He elected to get as near to the front of the start as possible but as the start area was pretty packed he didn't manage to start his watch, and went off a bit too quickly, tiring pretty rapidly towards the end.
Matt was hoping to break 1:35, which he did by quite some distance, coming home in 1:32:36. Helen wasn't that far behind him, completing the course in 1:39:12. Well done to all three.
The overall winner of the men's race was the Kenyan Erick Kibet in 1:01:08, which I believe was a course record. In the women's event Helah Kiprop, another Kenyan, came home first in 1:15:23.