Race Date: 19th July 2019
Lucky round no.7 of the Striders TV™ Road Race Championship was the ever-popular and testing Striders 10K. I’ve always found it personally akin to a rave both featuring a large number of people in brightly coloured clothing descend on a random car park out in the Peaks. It didn’t help dispel this image that due to the inclement weather conditions number collection become a word of mouth affair with runners directed to a man hanging around outside the toilets. The one upside to the downpour was it kept the normally ravenous midges at bay.
The race provides a stern test for runners, really asking them to dig deep into their reservoirs on the return leg on this unrelentingly undulating course. After quite a long pause since the last race it provided an opportunity for those who’ve picked up a bit of form since the earlier rounds to make up ground on their division rivals and make a late charge for glory.
This proved to be exactly the case in the Premiership as the previously invincible Dronfield Dynamo Phil Skelton was pipped at the post by a rejuvenated Joe Sweetnam-Powell. Phil still has 99 reasons to be happy as he maintains his hold on top spot. However if J S-P can continue to show this form with 2 races in hand, we might have quite the contest on our hands especially with Stu Carrack showing he’s in great form too lately. James Rose and Liam Turner also had strong runs to keep themselves in the contention. Paul “the good looking one” Middlemas scooped his way to 15 points moving back up to 2nd place for now.
Much to the disbeleaf of his fellow Division 2 members, current leader Dave Forrest was missing in action for the 2nd race running adding weight to rumours of a big money move to China. Matt Connell took full advantage to take 20 points on his season debut. Fellow debutants Louis Wood (18 points) and Chris Lawson (15 points) also scored well. Malcom Baggaley had another strong run to pick up 17 points, leaving him only 6 behind Dave having completed the same number of races.
Friday night saw the crowning of our first division champion with Jordan Moat taking his 6th maximum with another stellar performance. The more pedantic reader might want to point out that as yours truly took 20 points in the first race of the season I could technically match Jordan, but given my current life style choices I’m more likely to hit 20 stone than 20 points. Therefore, I’m very confident in saying Jordan is a very well-deserved champion. His performances this year have been out of this world and I fully expect him to be more than competitive in Div 2 next year. With the rest of the division now left to battle for the remaining promotion spots Heater Hatton (19 Points) and Steve Smith (18 points) look to be primed for 2 of the spots as long as they complete 2 more races each. Outside of the duo it’s anyone’s guess with a number of strong runners holding races in hand.
Division 4’s leader, James Boreman, was also not to be found on Friday, leaving Neil Schofield and Seth Kirby to resume their own tussle. Seth leap frogging Neil into 2nd courtesy of finishing 1 point ahead of him on the night. The man to watch, however, is James Staves. Now 4 for 4 on scoring 20 points, he again staved off his rivals with minutes to spare. You’d have to think if he can carry on this form for just 2 more races, he’s the current favourite for the title, despite currently lying 4th. The likes of Adam Bishop (19 points), Jimmy Sharman (18 points) and James Ogden (17 points) shouldn’t be ruled out from promotion either if they can get a few more races under their belts with all running well on the night.
Ben Elmore continued his good form to pick up another 20 points leaving him 24 points clear at the top. However, Rob Betts was a mere 11 seconds behind him and has hit a dangerous run of form that could see Ben pushed hard all the way if he can keep it up. There was a welcome return too for Ben Sanderson who picked up 18 points to keep himself in the picture. Russell Stevenson also picked up a very useful 17 points to move himself out the drop zone and potentially set up a late push for promotion.
After missing the last race, and although she was meant to be on international duty, Charlotte Roper returned to pick up 20 points and take back top spot in Division 6. Currently 7 points clear of 2nd placed Scott Liddle (15 points) with a race in hand she has to feel pretty confident at this point of picking up the silverware at the end of the season. However with the likes of Joe Sinnot not running on the night, as well as Sarah Allcard (19 points) and Andrew Lock (18 points) also showing good form, there’s no room for complacency.
Division 7 saw Daniel Driscoll exert real pressure on the absent leader James Broomhead, picking up yet another 20 points to leave him only 8 points off the lead with a race in hand. Nicola Ross also joyfully took advantage of James’ absence to take 19 points and move back into the promotion spots. Richard Pegg was in the country just long enough to take part on the night, bagging himself 18 points as reward. Claire Johnson (17 points) also had a strong performance, which combined with her 2 races in hand leaves her well positioned too.
Its perhaps fitting Division 8 sees 2 contests worthy of a UFC octagon,as we currently have top spot being decided on head to heads. Matt Gibson currently leads Phil Dooley courtesy of a 4-2 record. Cara Hanson hanging on to 4th from Lucy Woodward despite not competing on the night due to kindly marshalling the turn around point. The lady to watch it would seem though is Gillian Allen, maintaining her perfect record with her 3rd maximum. If she can be dragged away from the fells for at least 3 more races she could still be on course for a perfect season.
Another fitting result on the day was Helen Jones finally getting her first 20 pointer in Division 9 to move to the top of table, although Luke Prest may still remain the man to beat with 1 race in hand and a perfect record to boot. Simon Gleadhall also ran well to pick up 18 points and reinforce his standing in the promotion spots.
Having already completed 6 races Dave Rooney’s reward for a strong 19 point run in Division 10 was to slightly improve his position at the top of the table. Although he’s scored an impressive 118 points so far, it’s just slightly too early to crown him the champion on the day with no less than 4 runners still technically capable of catching him if they… run the table. One of those took the honours on the night, with Tracy Davies picking up 20 points.
Division 11 only saw 2 runners competing on the night, with Sarah Schofield taking top spot. With a race in hand on new leader Rachel Rea the dream of a double Schofield championship party is still on.
As ever the full tables can be found here.