Stragglers XC Champs Review of the Season 2017/18

Posted by Malcolm Davies on 4 March 2018

With the Ellis & Dysart Cup being called off, it was down to the National Cross Championships to bring the curtain down on the Stragglers Cross-Country championships this year and what a finale that was! Mud, hills, a couple of swamps and the best of UK athletics on display, this race had everything and was an excellent way to finish the season.

In total, eight races made up the club Cross-Country Championships starting off with the club’s own Cross-Country Championships at Hamlands back in October with two South of the Thames events and four Surrey League fixtures plus the Nationals making up the eight qualifying events. Any Straggler completing four or more races being eligible for an award.

For the ladies there was a tremendous competition in all the age categories except sadly the senior lady award.  So once again, it was down to the vets to lead the way.  Overall winner and defending her title from last year was Sarah Winter who also scooped the F35 award with Juliana Greenwood the runner up in the F35 category in her first season of cross-country. The F45 category was very keenly contested between Karen Levene, Juliet Cleghorn and Helen Davies with Helen eventually coming out on top with 135 points, from Karen runner up on 132 points.  The F55 category was equally competitive with Pam Whitter winning this one on 130 points from Dee Smale on 123 points. 

The hero award goes to the virtually ever-present Mirella Genziani completing seven of the eight races with the other athletes having completed this number of races (Helen, Karen  and Juliana) picking up awards in the categories listed above. Honourable mention also goes to Julie Haworth and Sabine Duffy who are true team players and managed to complete 6 of the 8 races.

For the men there was a gratifyingly high level of competition in all categories. Rob Wilcox, for another year running, came out as overall winner with a perfect score of 140 points and scooping the Senior Man Award.  Runner up in the Senior Man category was Jim Lurkins making his welcome return to the club and putting pressure on Rob with a total score of 134 points.  The M40 award was equally closely contested with Donovan Duffy on 126 points just shading it from Crispin Allen on 123.  The M50s had a runaway winner in Roy Reeder with Malcolm Davies the runner up in that age group.  Club captain Phil Davies showed the way for the M60s winning that trophy.

Once again it was down to the ever-present Gareth Pritchard to pick up the hero award with a perfect clean sweep of attendances at all the qualifying cross country races this season.  Gareth is making such a habit of winning this one that the club are thinking of renaming it the ‘Pritchard Perpetual Trophy’ and leaving it permanently in his house, truly a heroic attendance record ! Mention must also go to Tiago Ramos, Rob Greenwood, Richard Patient and Jon Parry who completed seven of the eight races.

The most satisfying part of the 2017/18 Cross-Country season was though, once again the phenomenal level of participation and enjoyment throughout the whole season.  Looking at the four Surrey League fixtures, for the ladies last year there were an average of 16 ladies in the team, a very good figure, but that itself has increased to an average of 24 for this season, a remarkable 50% increase.  This has been mirrored by the men with participation last season averaging at 25 (a very pleasing figure in itself) but this season we have had an astounding average of 38 men turning up at league fixtures, making the Stragglers consistently the best represented club in the Surrey League.

Many of those involved have also picked up the reward from a hard cross-country season with very impressive personal best times in some of the early road races in 2018, at all distances up to and including half marathons and this bodes well for the eagerly awaited Stragglers Summer Grand Prix.

Watch this space…..

Full set of cross country award winners can be found below:

Ladies

Overall winner: Sarah Winter

F35 winner: Sarah Winter

F35 runner up: Juliana Greenwood

F45 winner: Helen Davies

F45 runner up: Karen Levene

F55 winner: Pam Whitter

F55 runner up: Dee Smale

Hero: Mirella Genziani

 

Men

Overall Winner: Rob Wilcox

SM winner: Rob Wilcox

SM runner up: Jim Lurkins

M40 winner: Donovan Duffy

M40 runner up: Crispin Allen

M50 winner: Roy Reeder

M50 runner up: Malcolm Davies

M60 winner: Phil Davies

Hero: Gareth Pritchard

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