Striders kick-off season in impressive style

The first cross country race of the season for Saffron Striders on Sunday highlighted the massive popularity of running in the country. Two years ago, these races were attracting 70 competitors while this weekend s race saw nearly 150 runners brave the c

The first cross country race of the season for Saffron Striders on Sunday highlighted the massive popularity of running in the country.

Two years ago, these races were attracting 70 competitors while this weekend's race saw nearly 150 runners brave the cold and wet conditions of Hertfordshire to tackle

the tough, muddy course around Ware.

Saffron Striders were in sensational form, which bodes well for a successful season. Nick White took overall victory and was pushed hard by Chris Dodge (fourth) and Ian McDougall (fifth). Three runners in the top five was an amazing achievement.


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Nigel Coates (13th), Gavin Long (15th), John James (24th) and Toby Lumsden (27th) meant that the first seven scoring runners were all in the top 30.

The team got excellent support from Robert Woodward (35th), Tony Davison (44th), Paul Waters (49th), Keith Savill (62nd), Geoff Suckling (87th) and John Howe (91st).

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Despite the high placings, Striders were just pipped to victory by hosts and reigning champions, Ware Joggers.

The Saffron Striders ladies were out in force and similarly just missed out on victory to Ware. Clare Waters (third), Rebecca White (fourth) and Janet Lipski (seventh) continued their amazing run of form and received excellent support from debutant Fiona Halls (10th), Margit Wendelberger-James (11th) and Fiona Tideswell (13th).

Kate Holden made an impressive return after injury with 20th place, Anne Williams took 26th and two more debutants, Bridget Savill and Gemma Thake finished 27th and 31st respectively.

Saffron Strider Steve White successfully completed his final epic event of a remarkable 2008 last weekend.

The Tour of Pendle is a tough race which involves six climbs, the last three of which are very steep, running over boggy terrain and one famous descent known locally as Geronimo.

Steve's time of 3hr 24min secured him 104th place.

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