Spectrum Striders RC 30th Anniversary

Spectrum Striders Running Club was formed in 1983 at the "Body Talk" gym at Spectrum Arena in Birchwood in Warrington.  Spectrum Striders is now a running club of over 200 members aged from 14 to 84.

The Club has always welcomed runners of all abilities from county standard to complete beginners.  Due to this supportive framework, our Club now has grown at time of writing to have 50% female members.

In 2013, the Club celebrated its 30th anniversary with a programme of special events.


30th Anniversary Dinner

30th Anniversary Dinner on 27-Apr-2013

The celebrations started at the Village Hotel in Warrington with a special black and white themed dinner.

The dinner was expertly organised by Andrea Millington & Carolyn Arber.

Everyone who attended the dinner received a commemorative 30th Anniversary Technical T-shirt and a small commemorative kit bag.

Following the dinner, there were some speeches to celebrate our anniversary given by selected current and past Club members.

Anne Hewitt describing the origins of Spectrum Striders at Body Talk, the gym at Spectrum Arena in 1982-1983 
Anne Hewitt describing the origins of Spectrum Striders
at Body Talk, the gym at Spectrum Arena in 1982-1983.
 Alan Peers receives his award commemorating
25 years membership of Spectrum Striders
from Club Secretary Steve Pickford
and Club President Andy Garnett.

Can we believe anything that Dave Thompson says? The forerunners of Spectrum Striders in Roman and First World War times, as related by Dave Redpath
Can we believe anything that Dave Thompson says? The forerunners of Spectrum Striders in Roman and
First World War times, as related by Dave Redpath.

 
"Thanks to Spectrum Striders I have found Heather.
  May you too find what you hope for."
  says Club Chairman Julian Spencer.
 "I don’t talk very much" claims
Helen Caldwell.  Do we believe her?

Tony Audenshaw (best known as "Bob Hope in Emmerdale, but also a sub-3 hour marathon runner) sent us a video message, which was played at the dinner:


Cheshire Ring Canal Relay Run on 30-Jun-2013

In June, Caroline & David Rogers organised a Club Cheshire Ring Canal Relay run.  Here is an event report from Caroline & David.

Writing this on Sunday 21-Jul-2013, the Cheshire Ring Relay seems like an age ago, and by the time you get to read this, it will be a full month!  Hey ho, such is the timing of the monthly newsletter.

And wow!  What a day it was!  From the moment, we waved goodbye to Adam and Julian [and Shadow] at Lymm Bridge at 6am (where Michael and Angela Bradley turned up en route to their holidays, armed with home-baked cookies – thanks guys!), to the moment 50 of us cheered in the last 4 runners (Picky, Alan and the two Tims) some 15 hours later – it was a sensational day.

Facebook followers will have enjoyed the ‘live’ coverage – this was Graham Driver’s idea, and it was a huge success, with runners and supporters posting updates and piccies throughout the day.  The afternoon runners felt the excitement and enthusiasm building, whilst the morning runners could lounge in front of their computers cheering on the efforts of those who came after them.

We spent the day chasing around Cheshire, and were able to see all 10 legs either at the beginning or end (or sometimes both) of their run. We had a ball, particularly as the supply of cakes and other goodies provided for the incoming runners mounted up as the day progressed, and we felt obliged (well David did ......) to help out with the consumption!

Of the 10 legs, 4 came in exactly on time (legs 2, 3, 7 and 10), so big congrats to them; the pace was pretty challenging, and legs 7 and 10 did particularly well to achieve the times set.  Most of the other legs came in within 10 minutes of target, so well done all.  It was never intended to be a race and the times were secondary – the intention was to have a great ‘team’ day, which indeed we did.  With hindsight, we would have built 5 minutes handover time onto each leg, as half the fun of the event was the posing for photos by incoming and outgoing runners, and the swapping of stories.  A little hint for anyone organising ‘next time’!

We raised £330 for the Great North Air Ambulance, and Little Ted, our mascot and much-abused ‘baton’, found himself a new home after being raffled off that evening.  Supper at The Spread Eagle was great – they did us proud – there was SO much food!  Chris M. kindly shared his birthday cake and Andrea had provided some fab Spectrum cupcakes, so there was pud all round.  When we finally got home at 11:15pm, we realised we had been out of the house since 5:15am – work the next day was ‘interesting’ to say the least!

Many thanks to all who took part. It was a wonderful celebration of our Club’s 30th anniversary, and true proof of the camaraderie and good spirit which exists within Spectrum.  We really enjoyed organising the event – we ran the whole of the Cheshire Ring ourselves before the day, and found ourselves running through, you’ll surely agree, some of the most glorious parts of the Cheshire countryside.


30th Anniversary Club Grand Prix

During 2013, the Club designated a series of local races as the 30th Anniversary Club Grand Prix (a.k.a. "30@30").  Members raced several different distances, totalling 30 miles.  All of the races were included in the 2013 Club Road Race Champs and a certificate was awarded to everyone who completed the Anniversary Grand Prix.

Janet Redpath kept track of who did which runs and also produced the certificates.

To qualify, you had to race at least:

  • one half marathon
  • one 10k
  • one 5 mile
  • two 5k's

Race list

You had to choose your races from this list:

Sun 20-Jan Four Villages Half Marathon (race cancelled) ½ marathon
Wed 3-Apr Chester Spring 5 mile 5 miles
Sun 14-Apr Whitley 10k
10k
Sun 12-May Chester Half Marathon ½ marathon
Fri 17-May Christleton 5k 5k
Sat 1-Jun Hollins Green 5k 5k
Thu 6-Jun Bowdon 5k 5k
Thu 20-Jun Woolston 10k 10k
Sat 22-Jun
Lymm 5k
5k
Tue 9-Jul Handicap 5k 5k
Sat 20-Jul
Burtonwood 5 mile
5 miles
Wed 21-Aug Capenhurst 5k 5k
Sun 8-Sep English Half Marathon (Warrington) ½ marathon

Here is the list of members who successfully completed the "30@30" and the races they ran.

Name
5k 5k 5 miles 10k half mar
Vince Alcock Christleton Bowdon Burtonwood Woolston Chester
Allan Bird Peter Lowe Lymm Burtonwood Whitley English
Michael Bradley Capenhurst Handicap Cheser Spring Sutton Six English
Sue Buck Bowdon Lymm Chester Spring Whitley English
Daniel Chadwick Peter Lowe Lymm Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Louise Dempster Peter Lowe Bowdon Burtonwood Whitley Chester
John Dooley Peter Lowe Lymm Burtonwood Woolston English
Alison Draper Peter Lowe Handicap Burtonwood Woolston Chester
Graham Driver Peter Lowe Lymm Burtonwood Woolston Chester
Ian Dunbar Peter Lowe Bowdon Burtonwood Whitley Chester
Chris France Peter Lowe Bowdon Burtonwood Woolston English
Heather Garland Peter Lowe Christleton Burtonwood Whitley Chester
Andy Garnett Peter Lowe Christleton Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Robin Greenwood Handicap Lymm Burtonwood Whitley English
Dave Hudd Bowdon Christleton Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Kate Johnson Bowdon Lymm Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Sandra Lewis Peter Lowe Lymm Burtonwood Whitley Chester
Tim Lewis Peter Lowe Christleton Burtonwood Whitley Chester
Lisa Mackay Peter Lowe Bowdon Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Colin Martin Peter Lowe Christleton Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Chris Milllngton Christleton Bowdon Chester Spring Whitley Chester
Linda Owen Peter Lowe Handicap Chester Spring Woolston English
Janet Redpath Peter Lowe Bowdon Burtonwood Whitley English
Caroline Rogers Peter Lowe Christleton Burtonwood Whitley Chester
Julian Spencer Peter Lowe Christleton Burtonwood Whitley Chester
Dave Thompson Peter Lowe Christleton Chester Spring Whitley Chester

An evening with Helen Clitheroe on 29-Nov-2013

Helen Clitheroe

Helen, with Julian Spencer, Andy Garnett, Liz Whitfield & Steve PickfordMembers of Spectrum Striders and other clubs across the north of England enjoyed an evening at Birchwood Golf Club with British Olympic and Commonwealth Games athlete Helen Clitheroe.

Helen talked about her long career, starting with Preston Harriers (where she is still a member).  She was a bronze medallist in the 1500m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Helen competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, then in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Later, she switched to 5000m and 10000m flat races.

Helen won the 3000m at the 2011 European Indoor Championships in Paris and continues to compete at a high level in road races.


30th Anniversary racing in Amsterdam on 20-Oct-2013

The Club went as a group to Amsterdam in October with members running either the Amsterdam Marathon, half marathon or 8k.

Here are some impressions of the weekend.


Kate Johnson:

As we ran out of the Olympic Stadium at 9:30am on Sunday, the song playing on my iPod was "What Doesn’t Kill you Makes you Stronger" which pretty much sums up my race.  I didn’t get the sub-4 hour time I would’ve liked to after coming off the rails good and proper from mile 15 onwards but I finished the race in 4 hours 9 mins and have the smiling photos and the medal to prove it.

I will be forever grateful to Alan for looking after me at the end when my head was spinning and I could hardly stand up; and to him and the Metro station guard who scraped me up off the station platform when my legs gave out and carted me off for sweet black tea, which bizarrely I now seem to have developed a taste for!

Race highlights for me were seeing so many other Striders on the stretches where we ran parallel – that really lifted me; our fantastic cheering supporters (Jackie, Andrea and Kath – you were wonderful x), the amazing atmosphere in the Olympic stadium at the start and finish, seeing the sights of Amsterdam around the course, and knowing that people back home were tracking and following me and supporting from afar.

Low points were the never ending long stretch down the Amstel river without so much support, going past David R around 17 miles when he was so obviously struggling and knowing there was nothing I could do to help him, and looking at my watch at 16 miles when I was starting to find it really tough and knowing I was in for a bad last 10 miles back.  And I never want to see or hear a hurdy gurdy ever again in my life!!

I’ve learned some valuable lessons in hydration, like don’t miss out water stations in the first half of the race and think you’ll catch up later, and in digging deep and keeping going when things get tough.  I am delighted for the Striders who did achieve their targets, and as for the rest of us, we all finished, we all had an amazing evening out (congrats to Norm on eating his first chilli – hope you’ve forgiven me for that now!!) and we all live to run another day.

Thanks to Picky for organising  the whole weekend, to Caroline for getting the lovely T-shirts – C yes it really was worth all the grief you went through, and especially to Alan, Sue and Mick for being great house-mates and for at least attempting to stop me getting run over by every bike, tram and car I got within a foot of.  Now you see why I warned you not to follow me across roads!  Spiral stairs, chiming church clocks and a very comfy double bed – ask them to explain next time you see them...

All in all it feels good to be an international marathon runner! I hope my marathon running days are not over yet.  Smile


 
At Manchester Airport, en route to Amsterdam.
 Collecting race numbers.

Caroline Rogers:

Highlights of the weekend:

Firstly yep, of course, knocking nearly 10 minutes off my PB - am still in shock, and have been over-analysing it on Garmin Connect!  I am in danger of becoming huge bore.

Secondly though, Helen getting her sub 4 hours.  H, I know how much you wanted it and how hard you worked to achieve it.  It was the single thing I most hoped would come out of the weekend, and it did, so all was well!  And Jo, completing a marathon after so many years since the last one - that was ace.  Chris, I have no words, other than awesome.....

Thirdly, nachos never tasted as good as those on Sunday night, nor red wine as wonderful, though I thought the jug was too small for my personal needs..........

Oh yes, and being a cultured kind of a girl, have got to say that seeing original Vermeers and Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum on Monday, really took the biscuit (though it was funny when David was offered a wheelchair......!).

Downsides of the weekend:

Thinking my poor husband had been carted off in an ambulance, and at one stage (after I'd begged you all to go back into town) really thinking that something VERY bad had happened to him, not at all helped by the fact our daughter was tracking our progress back in the UK and was in panic when David all but disappeared off the tracking system!!!  It was a pretty grim half hour for the Rogers girls..............

Also, those 5 delightful 'vomit stops' between miles 20 & 26!!!!!!  I don't EVER want to go through that again, and I'm going to have to do some serious research on how to prevent it, before (maybe) tackling London next April!

Finally, my hangover on Monday morning - BIG downside.  Haha Alan, what you didn't know on Friday when I apologised in advance for my bad behaviour on Sunday night, was that years of practise have made me a very dignified drunk - you'd never know, until I pass out (which thankfully, I didn't do this weekend) - clearly wasn't a good enough night!!

To all of you, thanks again.  In particular to Picky for getting us all organised.  I'm just so gutted that D and I missed out on being in so many photos, in particular that one just before the race in that wretched (***) kit!  Our supporters too were great, and Jackie 'Mrs Cheatin', you will forever more be known as 'Mum' .....wet wipes, tissues, chocolate bars...... Please be at every race for ever more.


Steve Pickford:

Since most people will write articles about the actual trip, I thought that I would give an insight into the training and planning that goes into a marathon.

Target:
To run a 03:15:00 marathon, which averages a pace of 7:30 min/miles
Previous best was 03:15:23, 12 months ago in Poznan, Poland.
Race plan was to use the Runner’s World race pacer as I did in Poznan.

Training Plan:
16 week plan
Tuesday speed sessions with group 1
Occasional lunch time runs (3 – 6 miles)
Thursday musters (last 6 weeks ran pace-specific sessions)
Sunday long runs 10 – 23 miles (several miles at race pace)

Races:
Macclesfield Half Marathon
Northumberland Coastal Run

Taper:
2 weeks

Race Day:
In the week leading to Race Day I had two setbacks.  Firstly I got a stinking cold and secondly I managed to develop a small scar in my left calf, brilliant!

This wasn’t going to derail my marathon, I wouldn’t allow it. I dosed up on vitamin C and paracetamol.

Then I had a session with my physiotherapist for a sports massage who concentrated on my left calf with deep tissue massage and then strapped it up using athletes tape.

Race day came and I felt much better.

Race Analysis:
I set off around 150 meters away from the race pacer I was hoping to follow.  I soon caught him up before we exited the Olympic stadium and out onto the streets of Amsterdam.

The race pacer was running around 7 minute miles, 30 seconds faster than expected.  I assumed that this was to make a clean get away from the pack before we settled down into the correct pace of 7:30 minute miles.  I was wrong.  I stayed with the pacer and it wasn’t until we entered the 10th mile that we ran at the correct pace.  On analysis of race data on my Garmin watch I found that we had averaged a pace of 7:11 minute miles over the first 9 miles.

All appeared OK for miles 10 to 18 as the pace seemed to settled down although I was finding the going hard.  We averaged 07:31 minute miles over this period of the race which mentally I thought was fine and putting me on for a sub target race.  How wrong I was and why you always have to respect the marathon.

At mile 18 I suddenly felt awful.  I was struggling to maintain race pace and this is where made the decision to let the pacer go and run at any pace I could.  I consumed 2 gels within 4 miles in an attempt to avoid crashing.  I stopped at two drinks stations and ensured I drank more than enough fluids.

Mile 19 onwards to the finishing line was tough and I had to dig deep to ensure I finished.  My PB was blown but I had to keep my spirits up and accept my race time and tell myself that I was doing well considering I had a cold and a sore calf.  Over this period my average pace had risen to 8:15 minute miles.  I knew this as my instant pace on my watch was touching 9:15 minute miles.

As I entered the stadium with 500m to the finishing line the noise from the crowd inside and the music being played was awesome.  This ensured that I managed to reach the finishing line with a smile on my face.  I was shattered, in pain but happy to complete another marathon.  My time was 03:22:38.  Not a PB or close but still a good run.

Then the Spectrum supporters club comprising of Andrea Millington, Jacqueline Thompson and Cathy Gaskell were heard shouting and waving from one of the tiers of the stadium just beyond the finish.  A welcome sight for any weary runner.  Thanks Ladies, much respect!!!!

Now on to Manchester in 2014.  Training starts again in 2 weeks.

My target will be the same but I will add hill work and pilates to my training and maybe try the Hanson plan where the longest run you do is 16 miles.


David Rogers:

HINDSIGHT’S A WONDERFUL THING – I SHOULD KNOW, I’VE GOT A HISTORY DEGREE...

So that was Amsterdam!  I duly completed my fifth marathon but it was the first that I should not have started.  I picked up a leg injury in training 5-6 weeks before and, with the benefit of hindsight, really was not ready for 42.195km.

I knew I was in bother as soon as we turned sharp left soon after leaving the stadium (say 500m), but managed to keep pace with Caroline until we got separated at the 10km water stop and still kept a steady pace as planned until well over half way when I just had to give in to it at about the 25km mark.  X-rays have revealed no fracture but I do have some pretty serious tendon & ligament damage to my lower left leg that will keep me off the streets for a month or so.

The records will say David Rogers finished in 9337th place in 4:39:58, (sub 4:40 woop, woop!) but had I found an ambulance (or come to think of it anyone with a fast car rather than a bicycle) after 16 miles, I would have happily let them take me to the finish so I could have cheered in Caroline to her amazing and thoroughly deserved PB and all the other Super Striders of course!

But I couldn’t, so I didn’t – and by the time I found First Aid at about 23 miles I just thought "Sod it, I’ll have my finishers medal please!".  So, I painfully run/walked for 10 miles and somehow summoned up a sprint finish for the video souvenir.  I felt remarkably chilled about it, having had 10 miles in about 2 hours 20 minutes to contemplate the meaning of life and work through my anger, sadness, agony, disappointment and self pity whilst taking in the sights (which were fab by the way!) stopping to eat banana and refill my water bottle every 5 km and chat to very sympathetic well-wishers along the course.  Weird - I felt far worse after every training run.

Thanks so much to Helen, Dave & Kate for their words, grunts & nods and other expressions of concern as they skipped by me between 25 – 30km.  Really chuffed Helen broke her 4 hours!

How do I feel about it now?  I oscillate between unfinished business and enough’s enough!  I entered Amsterdam planning for it to be my 5th & last, and now I feel cheated in a way because injury prevented me from doing myself justice, but on the other hand, if all had gone to plan, I may have succeeded in dropping my PB by what?  All of 5 minutes!  Big wowzer!  In a lifetime that’s nowt but of course to a distance runner that’s a big deal – context is everything.  I know (based on previous) that I’m a sub 4 hour guy, and that’s my badge of honour and limit I guess.  Some relaxation and recuperation and we’ll see!

Advice to anyone reading – do not start a marathon trying to cover up an injury – even if you can convince yourself that you are mentally up for it, the physical challenge will find you out!

Keep Striding!


Alan Brady:

Intro
This is the shortened "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" version of our long weekend in Amsterdam (cue haunting music and Clint riding up on a bicycle horse)

The plot
The four housemates fly out on Friday – myself and Mick Charman from Liverpool and Kate & Sue from Manchester, and have a carb-filled meal out in the evening.

On Saturday chill out on a canal boat, doing very little, and carb up at the house with pasta in the evening.  Recce how we get to Olympic Stadium.

On Sunday Kate and I set off to do the marathon (9:30am start), Mick and Sue to spectate a bit, and then go to do the half marathon (1:30pm start).  Meet up with everyone afterwards.

On Monday fly back.

The Good
We booked a 4-bed house in a quiet street with a tram stop very close to the house.  Kate took to being "Mum" naturally I thought, and ushered/cajoled us around the city, and generally doing all the thinking for us – we were more than happy to let her do this after our bumbling attempt at navigating the public transport system on Friday.

Mick’s idea of sightseeing via canal boat was excellent, we were able to sit down, relax and save our legs.  From the boat we spotted a pedal powered bus which works as long as it’s full I suppose I pity anyone going to the end of the line.

Kate and Mick made an excellent pasta dish followed by rice pud for tea on Saturday.  I managed to get extra helpings of the Rice pud. Smile

I was aiming at 3½ hours for the marathon, as were Andy and Guy, so we all set off as a group.  We all wore our specially prepared Amsterdam vests with the Union Jack on the back which was useful to easily spot each other.  At mile 16, Guy said "only 10 miles to go", which is NOT what you want to hear.  He hasn’t been seen since, I wonder why...  Andy and I got into the stadium together, but Andy had a little more left in him so sprinted over the finish line ahead of me.

Kate, Sue, Mick and myself re-grouped back at the house and went to Milano bar to meet up and celebrate/commiserate with everyone else.  We had a great night out and a fabulous NON-CARB fillet steak – fantastic!

It got to Monday far too soon.  We ate fresh croissants and honey for breakfast, helped Kate and Sue to the train station (actually we were checking out how to get there when we didn’t have Kate to tell us which tram to get on) and finally flew back to Liverpool.

In all it was a brilliant 3 days, plenty of laughs, with great company, adventure and memories.

The Bad
OK, the bad.  Well I received a panic stricken phone call from Kate (who arrived at the house before us) – although it was a 4-bedroom house, only 3 bedrooms had been prepared – 2 singles and one double.  This is the first time I’ve slept with another man.  Hmmm.

Bicycles – BEWARE!  Dutch cyclists have a game "mow down the pedestrian".  And most are on their phones texting whilst riding along at breakneck speed.

The house was in a very quiet neighbourhood, unfortunately it was right next to a church which had a clock.  This chimed EVERY hour and EVERY half hour.  I for one got no sleep at all Friday night, and only 3½ hours sleep Saturday night – not good preparation for a marathon.

I arranged to meet Kate after the race.  DO NOT believe the photo of Kate after the race – she looked absolutely whacked when I saw her.  She was dizzy and very unsteady.  After sitting for a while and having a drink, we set off for the tram.

Tip of the day – if you want to scam a free cup of tea from the Amsterdam tram company all you need to do is claim you’re dizzy and sit directly on the platform – it works a treat!

The Ugly
The winner by far was the group of ladies (?) on the plane to Amsterdam, all with large rollers (or are they curlers?) in their hair and far too much make up on.  A close second was the sight of Mick wearing his snood to help hold an ear plug to blank out the church clock bells.

Well I survived the killer bikes, 26.2 miles and the sight of Mick wearing his snood, but didn’t escape man flu.  At least I get a few more days off work I suppose.

The Cast
Alan Brady
Sue Buck
Helen Caldwell
Daniel Chadwick
Mick Charman
Ian Dunbar
Andy Gaskell
Kate Johnson
Guy Lambert
Chris Millington
Norman Partington
Steve Pickford
Caroline Rogers
David Rogers
Dave Thompson

Not forgetting, of course, our supporting cast who did a brilliant job of encouraging us to put in just that little bit extra effort.  Thank you all.

Credits
Director:  Steve
Technical Advisor:  Norman
Wardrobe:  Caroline
Supporting cast:  Andrea, Cath, Jackie, Lucia, Suzy and Jane


Dave Thompson:

Hi guys 'n' gals, now then, what a fab weekend that was in Amsterdam apart from 09:42 to 13:47 on Sunday, which does not make it difficult to work out what time I did. Not my best time, but not my worst either.

However the decision I made at 32k, that this will very definitely be my last will, I can assure you, be withstanding.

A great one to go out on though.  All the way there to a fab city with a fab bunch of people.  We met up for number & chip pick up, meals, drinkies, good crack, that’s verbal not the other, which is available over there alongside numerous other things.

Which brings me to the subject of the Red Light District which we endeavoured to visit on the Saturday night.  However we went a little too early so there wasn’t a great deal "on display" and we got drenched because it absolutely peed it down.  This inspired the comment of the weekend from Jo Sullivan regarding a certain part of a ladies anatomy.  (Have a look in your November 2013 club newsletter for the full quote... Smile).  Brilliant!

On to the big day.  We all finished it thank god, credit to Dave Rogers who had to walk a lot of it with a dodgy knee and my lad Chris on doing a great time, and to the rest of the PBers congrats.

Once again thanks to all for making it a memorable weekend in particular Andrea who did all of our travel booking and the lovely apartment that she sorted out for her and Chris and me 'n. the missus which was far nicer than anybody else's, and of course to Picky for sorting out the race entries for everybody.

I thank you all.


Chris Millington:

I’ve done it, a sub 3 hour marathon and to be exact 02:53:49.  To say I was (and still am) over the moon is an understatement.

I had trained for a sub-3 but never really thought it was in reach.  My previous marathon had been 3:20 so knocking 20 mins off seemed to be a big ask.  How wrong was I?

At half way I was 6 minutes ahead of my schedule and this is where the panic and self doubt kicked in, was I going too fast?  Did I need to slow down?  Was I going to blow up?  After some momentary soul searching, I realised I felt good so why slow down, so I kept going.

With each km that passed (very confusing by the way when you are used to miles!!!) it was starting to dawn on me I might be able to achieve the elusive 3 hour marathon.

The last 2km were difficult and the finish seemed like it was nowhere to be seen.  However the moment I turned the corner to enter the Olympic stadium I knew I had done it.

At the finish line I could hear people screaming my name only to look up to see the beaming smiles of Andrea, Jackie and Cath.  Thank you ladies for your support.

I then had the luxury of supporting other Striders across the finish line and to see Caroline Rogers cross the line with a grin from ear to ear.  Helen Caldwell achieving a sub 4 hour, being sick at the finish line but smiling the whole time.  Jo Sullivan beating the 4:30 target she had set herself and thumping the air in victory.  All the Striders had achieved personal goals that day whether it was a specific time or just finishing, I was and am very proud of the Club.

The weekend was amazing and even though I am hanging up my road marathon shoes (Andrea doesn’t believe me) count me in on the next jaunt!!!  Ultra marathons and hills for me next year and then who knows.....


Jo Sullivan:

The whole weekend was brilliant, and I'd highly recommend the race for anyone interested in a flat, well organised course.

The day of the race is one I'll not forget.  It was all going swimmingly until mile 18 when I vomited and felt like I couldn't take another step.  I felt a sudden panic that I wasn't going to be able to finish, and had to stop and walk.

I was faced with two choices then, I could either, try and start a new life for myself living in Amsterdam, just wearing my Spectrum Striders running vest and shorts, or I could stop behaving like a big girls blouse, pull myself together, and run on till the end.  I'm so glad I picked the latter option.

I did start to pick up at mile 21, and the finish in the stadium was so uplifting.  Just approaching it, we could hear the crowds, but it wasn't quite in sight.  We did a left turn and it was straight in front of us, with loud cheers from all the finishers, then into the track for more cheers and encouragement.

I totally milked this one!  Feeling like a world class athlete, I was waving and beaming at the crowd, hearing my name called by the Spectrum support crew made me cry!

Finally I just want to say that I could never have managed the training or the day without Helen's upbeat, positive encouragement and support.  I'm so proud of her for nailing that well deserved sub 4 hour PB.  Well done kid!


Helen Caldwell:

I stood on the start line in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam with one aim, to get a sub 4 hour marathon!  I had done the training and was injury free and I just had to keep calm, not set off too quickly, keep hydrated and try not to vomit!

Well I am pleased to say I did it – 3 hours 59 mins and 5 secs!  As you can imagine I was and still am delighted with my time.  Unfortunately I did vomit but only at mile 26 and quite dramatically – the last 200 metres on the track, when I knew I had run faster to get in under 4 hours.  I am pleased to say I didn’t stop to vomit, I ran whilst vomiting (quite an art if you don’t mind me saying)!

What can I say about the Amsterdam Marathon, well it was a fantastic weekend.  It was so good to have so many Striders run the marathon and the half with some fantastic PBs.  The support from spouses Jackie Thompson, Andrea Millington & Kath Gaskell was second to none.

As for the marathon, it was a great, well organised flat course with good support for most of the run.  The start and finish in the Olympic stadium was something I particularly enjoyed and will never forget.

Amsterdam as a city was beautiful apart from the night we decided to hit the red light district in torrential rain.  The people were friendly and welcoming and the food was good and the beer even better.  I would definitely recommend the Amsterdam Marathon, in fact I suggest an annual Striders trip!

Special Award

Awarded to Club members who have made an outstanding contribution to the Club during the year or over a period of years.

2015 - Julian Spencer
2014 - Janet & David Redpath
2013 - Linda & John Owen
2012 - Andrea Millington
2011 - Les Hewitt