Stragglers Summer Grand Prix Review of the Season 2018

Posted by Malcolm Davies on 19 August 2018

The Wimbledon 5K Dash on Sunday 12th August proved to be a fitting finale to the Stragglers Summer Grand Prix, with 33 Stragglers (a record attendance for this event) scrapping it out for the final points of the season, in a very competitive year.

The Stragglers had shown tremendous ambition for the season with 11 races making up this year’s competition starting with the mob match against Sutton Runners in the mud of Nonsuch parkrun back in April and then through the ensuing heatwave that took in the Richmond Half-Marathon, Dorking 10 miles, Richmond 10K, Club 10K, Mob-match v Ranelagh at Crane Park, the Claygate 5 miles, Elmore 7 miles, Elmbridge 10K, Wedding Day 7K. (In addition, The Sutton 5K, Richmond Half, Dorking 10 mile and Club 10K also formed the Stragglers own championships at those distances).

Any athlete completing 4 or more races in the above series being eligible for an award.

So how did it turn out?

Firstly, for the men.  The Senior man and overall leader board was particularly competitive this year with a mere 5 points separating the top 3.  Long-time leader Richard Baggott was ‘knocked off his perch’ towards the end of the season by Jim Lurkins after the Elmore 7, who in turn was leap frogged by Rob Wilcox following the action at the Wedding Day 7K.  1 point finally separated Rob and Jim in the final reckoning who finished on 139 and 138 points respectively.  Richard, however, completed a clean sweep of all 11 events (the only athlete male or female to do so) to sew up the hero award on 134 points, brilliant stuff. 

For the M40’s Donovan Duffy on 130 points had another excellent season to win that category with the fast-emerging Aaron Israel on 119 points taking the M40 runner up.  Roy Reeder on 131 points and Malcolm Davies on 118 points both had good seasons to get first and second in the M50 competition. The M60 category was equally keenly contested with David Brewin 79 points and Andrew Allen on 68 points achieving first and second place for that award. 

Last, but not least, the age grading winner came from the very competitive M50 category with Laurence Duffy saving his best ‘til last with his 81.80% Wimbledon 5K Dash, remarkable for a less than flat course and battling it out with Dean Morley for the Straggler M50 honours that day.

For the Ladies there was another great competition. Senior Lady Heidi Russenberger on 135 points finished 4th in the overall leader board and was the uncontested winner of that category.  In the F35 category Sarah Winter established a commanding lead of 140 points with Juliana Greenwood ending as runner up in that category with 115 points.  In the F45 category, the winner is Helen Davies on 138 points with Brigid Hibberd on 118 points in runner up position having consolidated her position at the Wimbledon 5K dash.  The F55 competition was super competitive again this year, with Liz Killip coming out on top with 136 points and Phyllis Flynn coming in second place on 127 points (honourable mention must go to Dee Smale finishing 3 points behind Phyllis on 124 points). Finally it’s great to see a winner for the F65 award in the form of Sally Boulton finishing on 88 points in the competition.

The ladies competition was closely fought over the Summer with initial leader Helen Davies being overtaken by Liz Killip, only to be usurped by Sarah Winter 9 races into the series following the Elmbridge 10K. The final standings show a very neat symmetry with an F35, F45 and F55 making up the top 3 in the form of Sarah, Helen and Liz (with incidently, a Senior lady, Heidi, taking fourth place).

In the age grading competition, Liz Killip takes the prize with an astounding 90.32% age grading from the Ranelagh mob match at Crane Parkrun.  Last but not least the hero award goes to another ‘super vet’ in the F55 category Ramona Thevenet. Ramona completed 9 out of the 11 events during the summer despite carrying an injury and having to hobble around the Wimbledon 5K.  She finished 8th in the overall competition on 116 points and is one determined lady!

Highlights of the season

Everyone has different highlights from the season.  For me, the Mob match victories and great turn outs at Sutton and Ranelagh were particularly good, in the case of Sutton for using a new parkrun course at Nonsuch Park (and of course the café afterwards!) but making a lot of friends with Sutton Runners.  In the case of the Ranelagh mob match a race very evenly matched on numbers but coming away with another victory against the team in blue in an extremely competitive race (and this one an awayday victory to boot!).

The team prizes at the Dorking 10 miles and Wedding Day were particularly good.  The men scooping a bronze team prize and the ladies’ silver was particularly commendable, given that this is also a Surrey League fixture.  The Straggler men picking up the overall team prize at the Wedding Day (the first time in some years!) and a very welcome appearance from Tim Haughian and Kieran Desmond in the winning team of four. A new race introduced this year into the series, the Claygate 5, seemed to go down particularly well with various Stragglers picking up prizes and ending up in another (unofficial) mob match, this time against 26.2, with Stragglers easily the quicker! The quirkiness of the Elmore 7 and the Country Fair at the end was another big hit.

However, once again, it was the level of competition in the Grand prix and overall participation that has to take the headlines. Overall 233 Stragglers (Men and Ladies) took part in one or more of the summer grand prix events this year putting in 629 appearances between them.  Those of you quick with your calculators will work out that this is an average of 57 Stragglers over the 11 Grand Prix events!

Thank you to everyone that has taken part this year in what has been a truly mind-blowing effort!

Stragglers Summer Grand Prix 2018

The Winners

Ladies

Overall winner: Sarah Winter

SL winner: Heidi Russenberger

F35 winner: Sarah Winter

F35 runner up: Juliana Greenwood

F45 winner: Helen Davies

F45 runner up: Brigid Hibberd

F55 winner: Liz Killip

F55 runner up: Phyllis Flynn

F65 winner: Sally Boulton

Hero: Ramona Thevenet

Age Grading Winner: Liz Killip (90.32%) Crane Parkrun

Men

Overall Winner: Rob Wilcox

SM winner: Rob Wilcox

SM runner up: Jim Lurkins

M40 winner: Donovan Duffy

M40 runner up: Aaron Israel

M50 winner: Roy Reeder

M50 runner up: Malcolm Davies

M60 winner: David Brewin

M60 runner up: Andrew Allen

Hero: Richard Baggott

Age Grading Winner: Laurence Duffy (81.80%) Wimbledon 5K Dash

 

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