ATHLETICS: Sleaford Striders hand out annual awards

Male and female athlete of the year Hannah and Chris North.

Male and female athlete of the year Hannah and Chris North.

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Sleaford Striders held their annual presentation evening at Sleaford Golf Club, attended by more than 90 adult and junior members.

The event, part of a huge social calendar, rewards those members who have achieved great things as well as those that have striven to improve.

For the first year, the club encouraged members to record the mileage they run during the year on the club website, with awards for those that achieved 500 miles or more. Greg Southern recorded the highest tally at an incredible 2,377 miles.

Each year, Sleaford Striders nominate 11 races across the county and surrounding area, with points awarded on the basis of age and position. Ten of the 11 races count towards the final outcome. This year the club was delighted to be sponsored by Specsavers in Southgate Sleaford for the race series.

Anna Thompson won the women’s event, closely followed by Hannah North and Jane James. Iain Bailey was a clear winner of the event for men, with Chris North and Rob Caven second and third respectively.

The club operate a series of 5k handicap races during the spring and summer, with winners once again being chosen based on the scores they achieved. This year, Charlotte Robinson won the ladies’ series, followed by Sarah Breeds and Anna Hirst, with the event for men won by Rob Caven, Paul Saunders second and Ben Lilley third.

The cross country award was won by Dave Burton.

Other awards are voted on by the adult membership, with Hannah North winning the woman athlete of the year and husband Chris North voted male athlete of the year.

The endeavour award goes to members considered to have achieved great progress following injury or through sheer determination. This year, the female endeavour award went to Shirley Bell who demonstrated great willpower by going from a walking member to taking part in various 10k races, despite ongoing hip problems.

In the male category, the award went to Stan Yates, the oldest member of the club at the age of 71. Stan had initially supported club members at races and training events, as well as being a regular member of the walking group. This year, Stan decided to take on a couch to 5k course and succeeded. He has now progressed to run in his first 10k race and completed it with a smile on his face.

The most amusing incident award went to Iain Bailey for running the Woodhall Spa race in wellington boots for a dare and still finished in 33rd place.

Mark Sharpe and Chris North won the places the club is allocated for the 2017 London marathon, completing an excellent night for the North family who came away with four trophies.

Rounding off the evening, Maureen Runacres was awarded life membership of the club for the outstanding work she has done as treasurer, and the voluntary work she has done with the junior members.

n Sleaford Striders is an all-inclusive club with membership starting at the age of six, without an upper age limit. The juniors meet on Monday and Wednesday evenings, with the adults meeting on a Thursday evening. Full information can be found on www.sleafordstriders.org