The Stilton Striders enjoyed success on the course and off it as the Melton club hosted the opening round of the county league.
Asfordby Hill was the HQ as the Striders got the Leicestershire Road Running Winter League off to a fine start with the Stilton 7.
Months of planning and preparation were rewarded by a big turnout of helpers, volunteers and marshals, while the Striders also boasted a huge contingent of 30 runners in the race, some of whom had run the Belvoir Challenge just 24 hours earlier.
A cold headwind greeted the runners on Welby Road and up Asfordby Hill, but it didn’t deter James Teagle who headed the 457 runners who completed the two-lap, seven-mile race.
The international standard triathlete, representing Leicester Tri Club, clocked a stunning 36min 02secs to finish more than two minutes in front of runner-up Edward Highton (Owls), in what’s believed to be a course record time.
First back for the Striders, in his first road race for the club, was Niall Rennie who crossed the line 19th in 42min 02secs.
Jason Barton (42.25) was just four places back, despite struggling with a cold, while Natalie Teece produced another stunning run to finish third lady and 45th overall in 44.24.
Alan Thompson was 63rd in 46.32 and Richard Coombs (48.23) got inside the top 100 in 98th.
Then came a cluster of Darren Glover (123rd – 49.37), Ian Drage (124th – 49.41), and Ian Howe (125th – 49.45), followed by former Melton Times editor Michael Cooke (51.11).
Other Striders results: 174 Simon Mower 52.16, 185 Michelle Farlow 52.47, 203 Julie Bass 53.49, 208 Richard Gray 53.54, 209 Greeba Heard 54.15, 231 Daniel Howley 55.20, 246 Ross Jackson 57.03, 265 David Hall 57.50, 300 Jacqui Riley 1hr 00min 38secs, 327 Rebecca Forester 1.02.27, 336 Mel Willatt 1.02.20, 339 Ray Walker 1.02.44, 340 Poppy Marriott 1.02.46 (debut), 345 Vanessa Walker 1.03.38, 352 Colin Miles 1.03.27, 362 Alison Wilson 1.04.10, 363 Rachael Heggs 1.04.52, 364 Marie Kennedy 1.04.55, 374 Lynda Harris 1.04.56, 393 Kathy Walsh 1.07.27, 440 Jenny Kent 1.11.45.
* A large group of Stilton Striders competed in the off-road Belvoir Challenge.
In the 15-mile route, first back for the Striders was new member Niall Rennie in an excellent ninth place in 1hr 52min ahead of Clive Kent (2.23), Dan Valencia (2.43), Jon Wilson (2.43), Greeba Heard (2.43), Sharon Eshelby (2.52), Lou Houghton (2.53), Ben Pickard (2.59), Phil Worth (3.02), Nick Pryke (3.04), Daniel Howley (3.16), Sarah Lawrence (3.16), Rebecca Forester (3.16), Emma Hope (3.32), Kaye Mead (3.35), Debs Wilson (3.35), Helen Benzie (3.50), Celia Brown (3.58), Jenny Kent (5.59), and Elaine Bottrill (5.49).
A few Striders also completed the 26-mile route, led back by Michael Atton in an excellent 14th place in 3hr 59min.
Paul Geeson clocked 4.02, Katie Hateley was fifth lady back in 4.20, while new strider Vicki Hurrell produced an excellent run and was sixth lady back in 4.27.
They were followed by Simon Bottrill (4.29), John Houghton (4.38), Rich Gray (5.16), Helen Plant (5.51), Brian Walkling and Tam Nicol (5.53).