About us

Sandbach Striders was born back in 2003. Since the early days, membership has grown with a firm ethos of the club being not just about running but social activities as well. The club is affiliated to UK AAA and has its own qualified coaches. Many other special events take place on various nights too.

The club meets on Wednesdays at 18:30 and Sundays at 09:00 at Elworth Cricket Club.

Whilst many members compete in races from 5k to Marathons, the emphasis remains purely on keeping people motivated and having fun. Why not scan through our race reports to see what we’ve been up to? Having read them, you’re sure to see why Sandbach Striders has developed the motto of being

"No Ordinary Running Club!"

Member of the Month

Introducing: Martin Coleman

Occupation: Chemical engineer.

Running motto: I’m a fun runner who got into bad company. 

Reason you took up running: I started at a works lunchtime running group about 15 years ago, mainly to keep myself away from a very good canteen which was not doing my waistline any good. Some of the crowd there took things a bit too seriously (e.g. taking me out for ‘a short gentle run’ which turned out to be 5 miles over the hills before their serious run that evening!) I was soon talked into my first race, first half marathon, first full marathon… When I left the company I was hooked on running but couldn’t get the motivation to go out by myself, although there was this local club called the Striders which had just formed and arranged a really good 10K race... Joining up was the obvious move and I’ve really enjoyed being a member for the last 7 years.

Running highs: It has to be getting the ‘good for age’ time in my 4th marathon, Manchester 2013, which guaranteed me a place in the London marathon the next year. I’d been trying to get it for 2-3 years before that. Also winning a 5 mile fun run in Macclesfield the previous December.  

Running lows: Injuries, usually somewhere on my right ankle. And several half or full marathons over the years where I’ve got to the point of stopping and walking.

Worst Injury: Torn Achilles tendon, caused by sprinting around a football pitch a few weeks after the Manchester marathon. I wasn’t fouled, it just snapped when there was nobody near me, I’d obviously just overdone it. It needed an operation, several weeks in plaster, and a total of 6 months with no running (unless you count a park run wearing an orthopaedic boot & on crutches).

Best race to date: London & Brighton marathons (2007 & 2011). Incredible atmosphere from big crowds at both of them, even though they were both far too hot and I had to stop & walk for a bit both times. Brighton is my home town so I’m biased there.

Worst race to date: Can’t really think of any bad ones, so I’ll say miles 19-24 of almost every marathon I’ve ever done.

Introducing: Stella Stilwell

Occupation; currently a teaching assistant, but also an artist/illustrator, methodist ministers wife and mum of 5!

Favourite race to date: My favourite race is the Parbold Hill race, because it was a challenge, running up a quarry, through beautiful countryside with mud, streams etc, and some formidable hills, a good feeling of achievement.

Running highs: My running highs are just the sheer pleasure of running, when you're not too tired and you got energy, its liberating and not what I thought I'd be doing right now. I like the final sprint to the finishing line.

Running lows: My running lows are when you're running tired, on low energy, when any sensible person would stop and walk!

When did you start running: Started running a bit at school, enjoyed cross country running and occasionally 800m,

Injuries received: been very lucky so far!

How many miles do you cover a week: I cover about 25k on a good week, but I also cycle and play badminton.

Longest race run: Longest race was the Congleton Half Marathon,  I think I would like to do a marathon but a bit afraid to do it just yet!

Other hobbies: Being with my family, walking the dog, gardening, cycling, badminton, and drawing, painting and sculpting with clay, cooking and eating good food, and sleeping, which I do very well!!

Introducing: Denis Culloty

Occupation: Chief Engineer

Favourite Race to date: My favourite race ever was the Eindhoven Half Marathon, flat, really supportive crowds, oompah bands... and a crazy party at the end!

Running Highs: Right now I'm really enjoying my run renaissance. . Over the last 6 months I’ve been running as much as I have at any time previously and the plan right now is to run the parkrun every week, a road race every 2-3 weeks and even the odd fell race thrown in.  I’m running around 35 km a week at the moment.  Keeping reasonably fit is important to me, as is clearing my mind of the day's challenges. It's great to run and chat with different people, and the support and encouragement from my fellow runners through good times and not so good times has been truly amazing. It's true to say that Sandbach Striders in no ordinary running club!

Running Lows: Least favourite was probably the Wrexham 10 miles. Windswept, stormy, deserted, just a real grind! Although I'm a 'steady' runner these days, I'm still very competitive; so on the one occasion in when I was a DNF due to an injury, I was really unhappy!

When did you start running: I started running at school in the Cross Country team.  I wasn't ever the fastest but my points always came in useful when the team scores were added up. One Wednesday evening a couple of years ago, whilst plodding happily through Bradwall I encountered the Striders out for their weekly run. Mik swooped on me to extol the virtues of the club. He ran backwards whilst he gave me his sales pitch so I eventually agreed to give the Striders a go!

Why did you start running: I've run on and off over the years since those early days.  I was probably at my quickest 15-20 ago and ran around 30 Half Marathons. The biggest events were the Great North, Nottingham and Eindhoven races with my best time at 1hr 39 mins. I then went through an occasional social runner phase during time which I went slower and slower! 

Injuries received: I've had my fair share of injuries over the years which have meant a few lengthy enforced non running periods, but right now I'm really enjoying an injury free phase.

Introducing: Rachel Collett (the one on the right)

Occupation:  Dental Training Advisor

Favourite Race to date: Would have to be Race the Train although in my case it was more like chase the train!!! or Hell up North.

Running Highs: I have lots of great memories from winning most improved runner in 2008(still don’t know how I managed that one!!), club camping weekends at Race the Train; completing my first triathlon but probably mostly just being part of such a great group of people.

Running Lows: City Of Manchester 10K in June 2005 which was just a bad race for me, It was the hottest day of the year and they had run out of water on the course (I’m not good in the heat!!).

When did you start running: I began running 15 years ago with Jill Young when we used to pound the pavements of Lower Peover on a Saturday morning.  After a break from my first Child we began running again and joined Sandbach Striders and Strollers (as it was called then!!) in Feb 2005.

Why did you start running: I first started running to fit in to my wedding dress but then after joining Sandbach Striders I enjoyed the social side of running which the club brings.

Injuries received: I used to have problems with my hip and knee but this was resolved with a pair of new shoes.  I have also tore my calf muscle which resolved with rest and some exercises from the physio.

How many miles do you cover a week: 3-6 depending on time. You will usually find me on a Wednesday running the shorter route or running at the back with newcomers to the club.

Longest race run: Chester Half marathon in May 2010.

Other hobbies: I play netball in a local league ( I have been known to run a 10K then go off to play netball although that hasn't happened in a while!!!), keep fit, cycling and spending time with my family (usually either by the side of a football pitch or cricket field!!)

Introducing: Martin Gunther

Occupation: Web developer 

Favourite Race to date: I don't enter, or compete at too many races, and would say I enjoy nearly all of them. The clubs Deja Vu marathon, was a great with all the support and people you know. The other club events have been great too (Doughnut challenge, treasure hunt, etc), but I probably would say that this years Chester marathon would be my favourite.

Running Highs: The first marathon Milton Keynes, whilst as wet as can be (I don't think I'd really run in much rain at all up to this point), was amazing, I think I smiled most of the way round, and the finish was sooo emotional. It was also the first race I had done since being a cross country runner at school. My PB at this years Chester marathon was great too, as I paced it brilliantly, and beat my target of the 4 hours, pretty much doing a 50/50 split marathon. Generally running with others and the club keeps me running, and it's something I really see myself continuing for a long time to come.

Running Lows: Injuries are always a pain, and right now it's soo frustrating as I am unable to run, and I think most runners feel this. Pulling out injured on any race is not fun, and that happened at a park run this year, and must admit my first 'fell' race the Cloud 9, I found the first half (up hill), awful as I hadn't really practised hills too much in the run up to this race, also last years surprise heat in Chester wasn't much fun, I don't get on well with running in the heat!

When did you start running: At school, I actually started in the school Cross Country one day, as my brother pulled out (as he hated it), and I did really well, cross country running seemed to come naturally to me, and I wasn't too bad at it. I actually represented England at Cross Country, at the age of 15 I think, after coming 8th at the national championships. I joined my local running club, got injured, was always in physio, etc and didn't enjoy it much back then, with the training and races. I also discovered the joys of being a teenager (cigarettes, alcohol, etc.)  Having tried over the years to start again, I only ever managed to keep it going for a week or or two once or twice a year, until I final started again properly in August 2011, and have pretty much continued (injuries aside) since then.

Why did you start running: Well I always wanted to run a marathon, but had become lethargic, and lazy. I did play squash for a few years up to now, but my kind brother one day called me up, and said he entered us into the Milton Keynes marathon, so you "better get running, fat boy!" So I started to run around a field locally, managing 2-3 miles, up to around 40 minutes coughing my guts up, and really struggling. Eventually I joined the local club at the time "Royston Runners", and they got me up quickly to a good distance, with advice, etc. I managed to run that marathon in 4:08:42 the following April (under the 4:15 I hoped for), and my brother (a lot fitter than me), didn't do it, as he hadn't done the training at all!

Injuries received: During the early months or running I pushed hard and have suffered a lot from shin splints, tight/pulled calves, and come close to Achilles problems a few times. This year I built up my distance and speed slowly and have avoided those problems, but recently got a trapped nerve, which has stumped me since the Chester 2014 marathon, and still trying to resolve this.

How many miles do you cover a week: I do try to cover 20-30 miles a week. It has been over 50, but mainly in the 20-30 mile ball park. When fit I try for 4-5 runs, but more often than not manage 3.

Longest race run: This year I completed the Dig Deep Intro Ultra marathon, which whilst advertised at around 30 miles, came in at a little over 31 miles. Really enjoyed that race, and looking to do another next year! I love the idea of a challenge, and pushing yourself further really takes my fancy!

Favourite running kit: Love my Garmin. Had run for the first few years with just the app on my phone, but it was unreliable, and dangerous for my phone, so eventually gave in and got a 310XT this year, when they massively dropped the price. I love tech and stats, and this really helps to see how I'm getting on, and improving, etc.

Other hobbies: I enjoy eating out, reading, and keeping up with technology. I have a young daughter and enjoy playing with her. Want to get back into swimming or another form of exercise to improve core, etc, but not a lot of time for much else!

Introducing: Heather Carter

Occupation: I'm finally about to start my first 'proper' job since Sarah was born - working for an accountancy in town (general dogs body I suspect). Til now I've been keeping busy with cash-in-hand gardening, cleaning and dog walking.

Favourite Race to date: If Medoc counts as a race then that's the one. Also the Potters 'Alf - which couldn't be more different than Medoc!  It's not a course with PB potential so there's no pressure  and there's great support from the crowds,

Running Highs: Chester marathon in 2011 - which is the only road marathon I've completed without getting cramp! I also get a buzz from completing ultras, anything that you struggle to achieve means a lot. 

Running Lows: For a long time I was in the running doldrums where I was getting slower and slower and wondered about giving up running. Doing regular park runs really highlights trends in your running speed. 

When did you start running: I've run on and off for about 20 years though I only became really keen (addicted) after joining Sandbach Striders in 2007.  Since then I've run pretty much every other day.

Why did you start running: I can't remember why I started, though I've always enjoyed being active.  I think partly to have some time alone, partly to be in the countryside and partly to keep fit at minimal expense and inconvenience.

Injuries received: Nothing major enough to stop me running - the usual niggles that come and go randomly.

How many miles do you cover a week: Less than 20, probably more like 15.  I gave up road marathons because I didn't want to do the long training runs - I like to run because I want to rather than because I have to!

Longest race run: 42 (ish) miles - Aberdovey to Harlech.

Other hobbies:  I've taken to swimming since training for my first triathlon this year and coming almost last in the swimming section! Not much time or opportunity for my other hobbies at the moment.  

Introducing: Perry Wyatt

Occupation: Service Engineer – factory automation and robotics

Favourite race to date: Probably the Marathon Du Médoc in 2012 but that may be eclipsed by the 2014 one very soon. Such a fun event, great atmosphere, great company and plenty of red wine – what’s not to like.

Running highs: Joining Sandbach Striders I think. I’ve met so many great people and because of them, have entered some fantastic events.

Running lows: Not being able to run because of injury.

When did you start running: At school back in the Jurassic period, I’ve run on and off ever since.

Why did you start running: I hated football and cricket at school, (still do) but found I loved cross country and it got me outside the school grounds. In more recent years I went to the gym a lot but got fed up seeing the same ugly face looking back at me so started running more regularly in the local area. I ran solo for 6-9 months then decided to look online for a club and was surprised to find Sandbach Striders almost on my doorstep.

Injuries received: I have a problem with my right foot, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, had lots of physio and cortisone injections, oh the joys of getting older.

How many miles a week do you cover: Like most people it varies greatly from zero to forty miles depending on how keen I’m feeling and where I’m working.

Longest race run: Marathon

Other hobbies: Eating out with my lovely Wife, reading, (I’m a bit of a news, science and technology junkie) plus the occasional lie-in at the weekend.

Introducing: Catherine Greaves

Occupation: Records and Exams Officer at Keele University

Favourite race to date: it's a toss up between Medoc and London marathon: very 
different races but both so enjoyable! The achievement of completing London and 
running every step and the enjoyment of finishing Medoc in 6 hours 29 minutes 
and 12 seconds (inside the cut off of 6 hours 30 minutes) having drunk, danced 
and eaten myself silly!!

Running highs: the time spent with fellow Striders-travelling to races, enjoying 
the build up, spending time actually running with Striders and then catching up 
afterwards and seeing the resulting photos. I also can't forget actually jumping 
off the plank at Tough Guy last year instead of wimping out like the year 

Running lows: the way I felt after having run Helsby Half a couple of years ago 
- I think grey would be the most appropriate word to describe the way I both 
looked and felt!

When did you start running: about 2009

Injuries received: nothing serious to date...

How many miles do you run a week: varies massively between 0-25ish

Longest race run: marathon

Favourite running kit: probably my long leggings as they were first decent pair 
I bought myself and they are still going strong!

Introducing: Jason Bulley

Occupation:  My official title is Director of Photography which can be a little misleading as I don't actually take photographs for a living. Essentially I'm a cameraman.

Favourite Race to dateMy favourite race so far is the Comrades Up ultra marathon. It's an incredible run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg through places with names like 'The Valley of a 1000 hills' where 15,000 people attempt to cover the 56 miles within the 12 hour cut-off. It has an amazing history and incredible atmosphere.

Running Highs: From a literal point of view it would be standing on the start line of the Everest Marathon at 17,500 feet. From an emotional point of view it would have to be completing the Comrades in under 10 hours.

Most of my favourite running moments have come from the company of friends I run 
with rather than the running itself.

And of course there was that fateful Wednesday evening when a very attractive 
potential new member and her friend walked into the club... and the rest as they say.

Running Lows: I find running in the heat really difficult and I also find running if I haven't slept well really difficult. Signing up to do the Marathon des Sables where the temperatures reached 52 degrees and we slept in an open tent in the desert meant  I knew I was going to be pushed right up to and possibly beyond my limits. I suppose to push myself that hard was why I entered and I certainly wasn't to be disappointed. To be reduced to tears over a cold can of coke sums up just how low I got.

When did you start running: November 2000

Why did you start running: I got on the scales one morning and the needle settled at 18 1/2 stone.

Injuries received: I have a loose fragment of bone wedged somewhere in my right knee which on occasion (usually going downhill) dislodges and makes running very uncomfortable. Apart from the usual list of ongoing niggles the only injury that has stopped me running was a torn calf muscle. It happened on a gentle Wednesday night run for no apparent reason and stopped me in my tracks.

How many miles do you cover a weekIt fluctuates depending on what I'm up to with 155 miles having been the most in one week to 0 miles on a lazy week. My average weekly mileage for the past 14 years works out at 32.

Longest race run: The Thames Path 100 (which thanks to a diversion due to the Olympics meant it was actually 103 miles!).

Favourite running kit: Without doubt it's my Garmin. I get to run in so many places I've never been before it's brilliant to be able to step out of a hotel and not worry about 
trying to remember which way I'm running and leave the Garmin to find my way 
home. It's got me out of far more trouble than it's got me into... although it has 
got me into some!

Other hobbies: Eating chocolate.

Introducing: Jo Bulley

Occupation: Occupational Health Advisor (Nurse!!).

Reason for taking up running:  I was about to hit 30 (yes a few years ago now), I hadn’t done much exercise for about 10 years and I was worried life really would end at 30, so I started running – from scratch. I wore a pair of old tennis shoes and some beach shorts, I would run to a lamp post, walk to the next lamp post and literally I built it up from there. After a few months I did the Great North Run and that was ok, but oh so busy, so I decided to try a half marathon closer to home and went on to do Chester Half. So after a year of running, I now had a ‘proper’ pair of running shoes and shorts, I clocked a 1:31 half – I had no idea about times/PB’s, but I was most pleased with my year of effort and have stuck at it ever since, with varying degrees of waxing and waning regarding interest, enthusiasm and ability.

Running highs: After 5 years of running I decided to join Sandbach Striders - what else is there to do on a Wednesday night in Sandbach?? That in itself isn’t my high, but as a result of this, my life changed completely! My life was heading in a very different direction (and country) at that stage, and then it happened, I met Jason and as they say, the rest is history.  In 2009 we were married - that’s my high. Race highs - Disney marathon was great, coming in at 3:21 and waving at Mickey and Donald on my way round - that was a good day! (Best medal ever too!).

Running lows: Being negative and winding myself up about how I’m hating the run I’m doing at that moment – there was a race in Meerbrook and I refused to cross the finish line as I hated it so much and thought it was all ‘very stupid’. Nothing to do with the race, just decided it wasn’t for me and I hated every step! Best to avoid me on those days!

Worst injury: Calf tears, I wasn’t even running when I did the first one... I was attempting to get into lake Windamere to do the Great North Swim at the time. I was taken away through the crowds in a wheelchair- I kept my hat and goggles on, as being recognized would have added to the pain.

Favourite Race to date: Everest Marathon 2011 – it was so far out of my comfort zone that although it wasn’t the most enjoyable race (16 day walk to the start line), I’m very proud of myself for sticking at it and completing it – still makes me emotional when I think of it. I do not recommend altitude sickness combined with a marathon.

Longest Race Run: High Peaks 40, clues in the title. A rather undulating course, but the navigation isn’t too challenging, which suited me, although Deep Dale at 4-5 miles from the end really shouldn’t be allowed! (Why didn’t some one build a bridge?).

Favourite Running Kit: Nothing special, I stick to the customary Asics road shoes, Inov8 off roaders and generally favour Garmin on my wrist, Nike on my back and my ipod in my ears. Love Raidlight backpacks and rarely run without a rather 80’s hair band. However, the rules are that it all has to match – MOST IMPORTANT!

Miles Run Per Week: Like most people it varies, depending on training schedules, enthusiasm and general life. If I’m training for a marathon I do 40+ miles a week, otherwise somewhere between 20-30 miles is about right for me per week.

Other Hobbies: Sleeping.

Introducing: Paul Nicholls

Occupation: Nurse of the mind.

Reason you took up running: I began running firstly in 2005 when I was challenged to run a half marathon. At a very large weight and smoking 20 a day I managed to run the Congleton half in 2hrs 34 mins. I then entered the cloud 9 hill race a few months later and then stopped running altogether. Following the early death of my much loved father in law in 2009 I again took up running and entered the Hell up North run with a friend. He never showed up and I ran on my own and met a load of strange people dressed in strange clothing doing strange things. They told me they were Sandbach Striders and seeing as they appeared mad I turned up in an attempt to heal them the following week. Approximately 5 years later, I’m still trying but think they have actually made me mad instead.

Running highs: Well there are so many I could mention on this journey but I tend to like the real long stuff in the pouring rain gail force winds and even the odd bit of snow. Ive been blessed to be able to run some fantastic events and ultra marathons. I love anything off-road and particularly love the Yorkshire Moors or the Peak District races where hills get you and no-one cares if you listen to some music.

Running lows: Getting injuries, being sick after a really long run (happened too often for a while) .

Worst Injury: I’m writing this sitting with an ice pack on a very swollen and twisted ankle.  However the worst injury has to be the IT band injury I sustained whilst training for my first marathon. Painful and it just would not go away for some months.

Best race to date: Marathon du Medoc 2013

Race most looking forward to doing: Marathon du Medoc 2014 great atmosphere, loads of Striders. Got to say the Great wall of China and my second crack at the Hardmoors 55 miler in March 15.

Miles Covered per week: Varies on event I am training for. However, I like to get out and do a social club run on the Wednesday night, A run by myself on a Friday and a long run at the weekend. But I take 1 weekend in 3 off completely so about 40-60 on a big week and about 15-20 on an average week

Best bit of running kit: Has to be my Skins leggings  give great recovery time as do my numerous massages by Liz when I've really struggled.

Other hobbies: Motorhoming and Crystal palace FC to name a couple but I have had so many over the years.

Introducing: Elaine Tatham

Occupation: Teacher

Favourite Race: Macclesfield Half Marathon although I am running my first marathon tomorrow so perhaps that might change...

Why did you start running? I was thinking of an answer to this when I realised I have never actually stopped running since I left school so I guess I must enjoy it on some level! 

Injuries received: Recurring "runners knee"

When did you start running: see above - probably before I walked!

Favourite running kit: My 3/4 length Nike leggings - just because they are comfy

Other hobbies: Is this not enough? Eating and sleeping when I get time

Introducing: Chris Brumby

Age: 49

Occupation: Project Manager

Favourite Race: There's a few contenders, the Déjà Vu Marathon would win if the measure was by how much the race exceeded expectations but overall I'd rank it third. 
Second is the Marathon du Medoc a fabulous event, before doing it it's hard to imagine how the combination of wine and marathon running could work but it does brilliantly. Number 1, by a mile (62 of them) is the UTMB CCC but even this wasn't quite perfect which is a good thing as it leaves scope for something even better. Some smaller races which rank highly are the Wincle Trout Run and the Killer Mile like many of my favourite races both offer more than just the running.

Why did you start running? To get fit and lose weight, I've always enjoyed outdoor 
activities especially in the hills and I realised that this wouldn't be possible if I continued to gain weight and lose fitness. Happy to say that shortly after starting running I also gave up smoking. The weight didn't come off until I made adjustments to my diet, just exercising wasn't enough it just made me eat more! 

Injuries received: Patellar tendonitis (recurring), torn angle ligaments (result of a moment of impatience in a fell race), calf injury, plantar fasciitis (thankfully not as severe as Perry's), cuts and grazes from stupidly trying jump a stile and failing at Wincle, I could go on. I often joke that my race preparation is more about injury management than training.

How many miles do you cover a week?  Varies from zero to 60 at the extremes but 
averages out over the year at 21

Favourite running kit: A lot of candidates here, after the CCC my carbon fibre walking 
poles have shot a long way up the list, then there's my Aldi underpants! Buffs are great, so many uses, I once wrapped one packed with ice cubes around a painful and swollen knee. At which time I was rehydrating on beer at a Majorcan bar following a fabulous descent from the mountains down a spectacular gorge.

Other hobbies: I love to be out in the hills whether running, walking or climbing. I don't climb regularly now but have enjoyed some easy routes in Scotland during the last two winters. I play the mandolin a little and very occasionally the guitar. Riding and working on bikes, with or without an engine, also takes up a bit of my time as does annoying Jill and the dog.

Introducing: Jill Young (Jillybobs)

 Age: 46, I think

Dental Hygienist

When did you start running?
I started running about 2007

Why did you start running?
To keep fit and meet people mainly. I hated the gym, and much preferred to be outside. I was really nervous joining a running club, thinking everyone would be really good runners, and competitive, but pleasantly surprised at how friendly you all were, and all abilities… that must be about 7 years ago now, and I’m still here!

Favorite Race:
Probably like most others, there are many races which I have really enjoyed and others not so much. I like the variety, and depending how fit/ unfit I am at the time, have different memories. I do like the more off road runs recently though. Not the big ultra runs, but the little fell races at country fairs, such as Bosley, and Burrator fell race which we did on holiday in Devon this year, Cloud 9, Race the Train and the Cheltenham Circular. Although I think the Marathon du Medoc does have to be there at the top of my list... for the fun of it, great camaraderie, party, fancy dress and great bunch of striders at the end… looking forward to this year.
Bottom of my list has to be Crewe 10K, I hate it, even though I have done it 3 times, it was a good one to try for a PB.

Miles per week: 
Depends on injuries and training plans and enthusiasm, but anything 0 – 30 miles per week.

You name it, as soon as i train for anything big. I have the worst running style, all lop sided, probably why i get so many. Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, torn tendons, and currently a sprained ankle. Spent a fortune on physio but i keep on coming back.

Favorite Running Kit:  I had a lovely pair of red Salomon trail shoes which I loved. They eventually wore out and I now have Innovate Roclite, which are nowhere near as good. I can feel all the stones underfoot. Does Vaseline count as kit? It was essential for Medoc last year!

Other Hobbies: Cooking, entertaining, food in general, reading my collection of recipe books, camping with Chris and Andre, walking in the hills, coastal walks and currently having piano lessons.

Introducing: Gordon Hutchins

Age: 50

Occupation: I work for DHL (the parcel people) flying their big yellow aeroplanes (known as the “school bus” to New York Air Traffic Control). It might sound glamorous but recently DHL have been helping transport Gorillas to Africa and so we have “Gorilla’s in transit” painted on the side of one of our aircraft! I am not sure whether this is stating a fact or someone is having a dig at the pilots. I also spend a lot of time at Gatwick and Heathrow training and testing crews in the simulator.

Favourite Race: It has to be the Belvoir Challenge. A WI refreshment tent disguised as a cross country marathon! I ran it with Cheryl (my wife) and we both achieve our  “personal worsts”, coming in at 5 hours 20 mins, of which 40 to 50 minutes of this was eating cake and drinking tea! That’s not the end of it. As you waddle home full of tea and sandwiches, they then give you soup, more tea, topped off with crumble and lashings of custard! Perfect!

Why did you start running? I was in the RAF at the time, based in Turkey for 6 weeks. The routine meant that there was normally a few hours spare between finishing work and the evening meal. The options were to drink beer, take a nap or do something more constructive. One of the chaps was a keen runner and he kept trying to drag me out of the bar and on to the road. I came up with all the standard excuses, but eventually broke after a week. I started with a 20 minute run and by the end of the six weeks I ran around the airfield. A staggering distance of about 8 miles! When I got home, I ran the Elgin half marathon and never looked back.

Injuries received: Not a lot really. A few years ago I had a problem with my right knee. I was running in a park in Brussels and the track had a camber on it. I had been running for about 30 minute when my knee started to hurt. At this point I should have stopped running and returned to the hotel to lick my wounds. Being an Anglo Saxon male, (carry on it will be fine attitude) I just continued running for another 30 minutes.  I could barely walk for the next 4 days, Ouch! The only other time was when I fell whilst running and in the ensuing manoeuvre managed to poke the stem of a small bush with my index finger. No other injuries were received. In hindsight, I think that I broke my hand! My Anglo Saxon tendency kicked in and off I went for another 40 mins. Ouch again! So my advice is, if you injure yourself, fight the Anglo Saxon within, go home immediately and put ice on the offending body part.

When did you start running? February 1997 in Turkey

How many miles do you cover a week? That very much depends on work commitments and the time of year. Some weeks not a lot, other weeks much more. I also suffer when running in the heat and so the mileage will drop off in the summer time. Having said that, Cheryl is on a bit of a push to run more this summer and I am being swept along in her tsunami of enthusiasm. On average I manage between 15 and 25 miles a week and about 1000 miles a year.

Favourite running kit: All sorts! The Garmin for keeping track of my efforts; my trusty old red running top and hat for keeping me cool and my ipod nano for supplying uplifting music when my stride is starting to shorten. Although it’s not a piece of kit, I love this fasting diet we have been on for a while because my energy levels whilst running, have increased whilst my PBs have improved.

Other hobbies: Now this is my problem. I have too many hobbies and interest for the time that I have available. My first interest is spending time with Cheryl, even if it means chasing after her on one these blessed summer runs! Then if I have any spare time, I like walking our dog Tolli, cook, garden, spend time in the great outdoors in our VW camper van (Winnie), flying all sorts of model planes and helicopters and throwing myself off a Derbyshire hill strapped to a paraglider. My Ideal day would be to go for a run in the morning then drive to Shinning Tor with Cheryl and Tolli, in Winnie, have a picnic then fly my paraglider. Finished off with a beer in a traditional English pub. Perfect!

Introducing: Cheryl Hutchins

Age: A young 52 (well I don’t feel that old)

Occupation: Very part time teacher, tutor and art specialist.

Favourite race: Hmmm! No particular race though certain parts of lots of races are favourites. Always the finish! The LDWA Belvoir 26 mile challenge for its WI cake stalls every 4 miles! The recent Shakespeare marathon for its good course, and of course my PB. Oh and of course the London marathon. Didn’t get a brilliant time, but just because it was my first marathon and both atmosphere and support were amazing.

Why did you start running? Like most of my age, middle age spread started appearing and although I thought I was fairly active being a primary school teacher, it wasn’t enough to keep the pounds off. Gordon, my husband, eventually managed to shoe-horn me out of the gym and onto the pavements. What a man! First I hated running in the winter because it was too cold and then I hated running in the summer because it was too hot! No pleasing some. Anyway I now love running in the winter, as long as the rain isn’t horizontal, and still struggle with the heat. However this year I’m making a real effort to run right through the summer as I have a few more races booked for the end of the year.

Injuries received? Just one which was torn ligaments from last year’s Bosley fell run which I am going to attack again this coming weekend (8.6.13) and focus on staying upright. Hated being injured and was very impatient. Thankfully we bought an exercise stand for my bike so that I could cover miles in my own back garden without having to negotiate pot-holes and irate drivers.

When did you start running? My very first half marathon was up in Scotland when I was a wee young lass (26). No training plan and a 2:10 half marathon. But it didn’t last, although I swam and kept fit. I dabbled again when Max, our son, was young, but life got in the way again. So it wasn’t until I did a race for life back in 2006 which got me properly running with my first “real” race being the Manchester 10k in 2009. I haven’t looked back…well only to check if I’m the last one or not!

Favourite running kit? My old trusty Garmin and heart monitor. It keeps me bang on pace and I love that it lets me roughly how many calories I’ve used. Oh, and one pair of running leggings that I love and are my racing ones. Can’t stand the thought of eventually having to bin them.

How many miles do you run per week? Anything from 10 -25. Trying to cover 1000 miles this year as 2 years ago clocked up 1200 miles. So far so good and am on target.

Any other hobbies? I love my garden and although it’s hard work making it look great, it’s worth it. Our veg plot is coming along nicely and feeds us sporadically with yummy stuff. Also we love walking Tolli, the dog, and going away in our VW camper van. You can see why I’m only a part-time teacher. There are far more exciting things to do!


Introducing: Terry Coppenhall

Age:  50

Occupation: Environmental Health Officer with Cheshire East Council

Favourite race: It’s difficult to say which has been my favorite race. Like everyone else I expect, there are a few that stick in my mind. London Marathon for the atmosphere, Ironbridge half has to get a mention just because I was able to overtake Mik, Chester Half for getting under 1 hour, 40 for the first time, Tough Guy and Hell Up North for the experience. All in all though it has to be any race where there are other members of Striders running. We are no ordinary running club. There are always other members to keep you going when it is easier to stop, encourage you to achieve your goals, congratulating you at the finish, no matter what your time or finishing position, and take the rib out of you, and themselves, when things are not going to plan. Thinking of this then, the Déjà vu must be my favorite race,  thanks Clare, Danny and Jason for that!

Why did you start running?  - It’s my son’s fault. Chris joined the club and the first race that he entered was race the train in Towyn, which appeared to be a bit of a Club social event including camping for the week end. I thought I would go along with him, not to run but just to watch the event.  After watching the run, even in the normal pouring rain, and being made to feel so welcome by the other club members, I thought I may as well join the club and doing some running.

Injuries received? None really, the benefits of the exercise have defiantly outweighed any twinges etc.

Furthest Distance ran? Officially the marathon distance of 26.2 miles.  But if you consider the slight detours to get a good look at the grassed areas, whilst running the Crewe Déjà vu, I could say 26.5 miles

Favourite running kit? Not really into picking bits of kit or equipment, as long as I have a decent pair of trainers, shorts, club shirt etc I am good to go, so can I choose club members, family and spectators who shout words of encouragement or friendly abuse in equal measures as my favorite piece of running kit?. If not then it has to be Vaseline, especially at the cross bay challenge!

How many miles do you run per week? It is usually around 20 miles. 12 on a Sunday at the club run, about 6 on the club Wednesday night run and now 3 at Congleton Park Run.

Other hobbies?  At the moment cycling and swimming to get ready for the Blenheim Triathlon.

Introducing: Liz O'Keeffe

Age: 56

Marketing Officer, South Cheshire College

Favourite race: Muller 10K

Why did you start running?
I worked in Saudi Arabia as a Medical Secretary from 16 December 1983 to 5 February 1992, in 6 months I went from 7.10 to 9.10 due to the fact that the commissary never catered for single people, so it was always family meals. You could not buy a packet of kit-kats (it was a box). That coupled with the fact I was finished work at 3pm, 100 degrees heat and no exercise made me realise I had to change. When I was in the UK, I was a medical secretary in a busy hospital, worked 3 nights a week in a bar, ran my own scout group and I played netball for a team. I was always on the go, I never watched that much TV. In Saudi I was contacted by other like-minded ladies and we formed the EPRR (Eastern Province Road Runners). We were sponsored by Kanoo Travel and King Abdullah Azizh. I got the bug which led me to completing many 5K, 10K half marathons, time trials, duathalons. I was also part of the ladies marathon relay team that competed every year in the Bahrain Marathon we always won. I completed my first ever marathon 3 days after the first Gulf War cease fire n a time of 3.45 (3rd female). I also got the added bonus of meeting the fastest runner in the EPRR male team, who was a lean mean running machine (my hubby Richard). He had run 27 marathons by then (fastest one in 2.27).

Injuries received?
Stress fracture to ankle bone in right foot.

Furthest Distance ran? 26.2 miles (three marathons).

Favourite running kit? My Aldi running sunglasses and no blister socks.

How many miles do you run per week? Depends on what I am racing. Sometimes it can be 20 -40 miles, other times if busy at work could be only 6 miles.

Other hobbies?  Spinning, reading, circuit training, Zumba and looking after my two grand daughters.

Introducing: Grant Stanning

Age:  52 (though someone in the pub after the Déjà vu marathon guessed my age as 47 – result!)
Occupation : Computer Analyst/Programmer

Favourite race:
A toss up between Marathon du Medoc (the sheer decadence of it), and Crewe Déjà vu (the Striders’ ‘family’ at its best).

Why did you start running?
Originally?  How can I put this?  It was 1983, and I was inspired by Jimmy Savile’s fund-raising exploits (sadly this is true).  I got injured the following year and gave up for more than 20 years until I looked in the mirror in 2005 and saw a very fat man looking back at me, so I started pounding the streets of Middlewich on my own.  Three years later I was running in the Moulton Pie and Peas race, and the guy who finished one place behind me (John Lawton) mentioned the Sandbach Striders, so I found out about them and joined.

Injuries received?
Strained an Achilles in 1984.  Apart from that, nothing besides the occasional muscle twinge.

Furthest Distance ran? 26.2 miles plus a 400m lap-of-honour (thanks Steve Treweeks) at the Crewe Déjà vu last week.

Favourite running kit?
Anything fancy dress and, of course, my famous white lycra shorts.

How many miles do you run per week?
I normally manage about 40 miles per week (typically including a 13 mile run on Saturday, and two rest days)

Other hobbies?  Amateur Dramatics (very occasionally).


Introducing: Christiane Bunte

Age: Wish I was 21 but I am 47!

Occupation : GP

Favourite race:  has to be Congleton, least favourite was Langley 7!

Why did you start running? I started running about 12 years ago and been a club member for 2 years and have since done most races and improved my distance, I cannot remember why I started but could not live without!

Injuries received? Had no injuries so far but get occasional backache!

Furthest Distance ran? My furthest distance is about 16 miles but hopefully should be 26.2 when I hopefully finish the Déjà vu marathon.

Favourite running kit? Definitely my skins and I have various shoes from Brooks and Asics.

How many miles do you run per week? It can vary from 10- 20 miles or even more on race weeks.

Other hobbies?  Tennis, Cycling, Skiing and recently taken up Pilates and Yoga. Also I like cooking and baking  and a nice thriller to read, ah and football (Man U and Germany) and not to forget travelling with favorite place being South America...


Introducing: Giles Hodges

Age:  34

Occupation: Acoustics Engineer

Years Running: ~8 years

Favourite Race: Far too many to pick a single favourite – Snowdon Mountain Race is spectacularly stupid, run up Llanberis path to summit & then return back along same route – the longest piece of downhill running I’ve ever done!  The Roaches fell race is another favourite, a good proper fell race (i.e. includes a river crossing) that always feels a relief to have completed.  Running the full length of the Sandstone Trail earlier this year was also a fantastic day out that I will be returning to (hopefully next year).

Least Favourite Race: There’s a time & a place for every race – Crewe Air Products 10k with its 2 laps of Crewe industrial estate may not be inspiring but if you want a quick 10k it’s not bad.  I’ve had some bad personal experiences in a few races but I’d never allow that to put me off. I guess the races I like least are those that are missing the spirit & camaraderie of some of the brilliant races I have been lucky to enjoy – the races where people don’t give a wave & say thanks to all the volunteer marshals, where it’s deemed acceptable to throw empty gel wrappers aside because everyone else is doing it, where it’s ok to run with earphones & isolate you from the people around you – you get the idea – basically any big, over-organised (but often poorly organised), over-priced, event.

Why You Started Running:  A bit of post-university weight-loss & a chance to explore the local area when I moved to Wheelock.

Injuries sustained: Nothing major to date… the occasional niggles that I generally ignore.  Have been to a physio once or twice but generally end up paying good money for their expert opinion & then promptly ignoring it!

Furthest Distance to Date:  I ran the Lakeland 50 a few years back which I thoroughly enjoyed, will definitely try a 100 mile one day but that will take some preparation.

Favourite bit of running kit: My first pair of Inov8 Roclite 305’s (they’ve changed the design now & it’s not for the better) just for the adventures they took me on!  The only thing I’ve never been running without is my shorts (unlike some other club members!) &  I’m often more interested in my post-race clothing, especially the nice thick, dry, warm socks!

Trainers worn: Currently wearing Asics GT-2170 for my road running – my favourite method of trainer purchasing is still to do a blind test in a proper running shop with a whole range of trainers & just buying whichever feel most comfortable – often works out to be quite expensive but at least I know I can feel the difference in performance & therefore I’m getting value for money!

Other Hobbies: Being a Dad – quite time consuming but very rewarding!

Miles per week:  Wanted to achieve a 1000 miles this year (a bit down on the usual 1200ish) so that’s somewhere about 20 miles/week! A lot less than you may think I run!

Introducing: Jo Smith

Age: 32

Occupation: Secretary  

Years Running: 8/9 years

Favourite Race: Wincle Trout Run

Least Favourite Race: Totton 10km in Hampshire.  I have chosen this as my least favourite race purely because one year it was so hot I was nearly getting a lift from the sweeper ambulance!

Why You Started Running:  I started running to get fit but I joined a running club with the sole aim of getting to know people and making friends.  I joined Southampton Athletic Club in 2003/04 and Sandbach Striders in 2011.

Injuries sustained: I’ve got a problem with a joint in my lower back, near to my hip.  The bones keep wriggling out of place and need to be manipulated back into place by a physiotherapist every couple of years.  I’ve also had inflammation fluid trapped in my foot, but, once again, this was treated by a physio.

Furthest Distance to Date:  12.5 miles

Favourite bit of running kit: The wedged insole that I have in my right trainer to prevent my overpronation – it has stopped a lot of ankle pain!

Trainers worn: Brooks Ariel

Other Hobbies: I love spending time with my family and friends and, when I’m in the mood, I like reading; my favourite books are Jane Eyre and Jamaica Inn.  I also enjoy visiting a range of places from historic buildings to the beach. 

Miles per week:  16 miles but I’ve just started to increase this.

Introducing: Michael Escolme

Age:  V40 just :-)

Occupation: Special Needs Teacher

Years Running: 5

Favourite Race: Too many! My first ever marathon, the day I ran Hell Up North twice dressed as an angel, the wife carrying championship, Marathon du Médoc and of course everybody’s favourite track marathon The Crewe Déjà vu!

Least Favourite Race: Aracife Marathon, Canary Islands. 4 laps which carefully avoided anything of interest on the island and which also meant that runners ran up and down the same stretch of promenade 8 times in total. Although the time I ran the Helsby Half after a night on the lash and two hours sleep probably deserves a mention.*Edit* I've just remembered about the inaugural Kilomathon, a 5am get-up, 16 miles of running through industrial estates and an hour waiting in the cold between bag drop off closing and the race starting.

Why You Started Running: To get fit, lose weight, the usual reasons I suppose.

Injuries sustained: I pulled my back about 4 years ago which allowed Terry to finish ahead of me in a race. He has reminded me of that race every week ever since.
    `    `
Furthest Distance to Date: 42 miles in the Sunrise to Sunset challenge, and 42 miles in the High peaks 40 thanks to a couple of minor navigational issues! I’m planning on running the 12 hour ‘Hell on the Humber’ race in August where hopefully I’ll hit 50-60 miles.

Favourite bit of running kit:  Does skyscanner.net count as running kit?

Trainers worn: Saucony Progrid Omni for road, Saucony Progrid Jazz for trail. I fear change.

Other Hobbies: Travelling, eating out, wine, going to the theatre, playing pool, looking after my hens and the rest of the menagerie, reading, Groundhog Day.

Miles per week: 30-40 if there is a marathon that week, otherwise usually a lot less. I tend to concentrate my training on short fast work and save the long slower stuff for races.

Introducing: Clare "Pheasicals" Pheasey

Age: 40 (ouch!)
Occupation: Lecturer in sport science

Years Running: Off and on for ~15yrs (with big 'lose of mojo' gaps in between, I'm rubbish - I find it hard it really hard to stay motivated!)

Favourite Race: London Marathon 2011 (start to mile 22; mile 26 to 26.2!)

Least Favourite Race: London Marathon 2011 (mile 22 to mile 26!)

Why You Started Running: To keep fit (I used to play lots of team sports, but after leaving uni and coming up to the NW I needed to find something else...). Also, as a result of a dare (to run the London Marathon in 1999)!

Injuries sustained: Nothing too serious, just niggles around my ankle, shin and calf.

Furthest Distance to Date: 26.2 (although my Garmin said 27.1!)

Favourite bit of running kit: I'd love to sound cool and say my Garmin Forerunner 405 but in reality it's my Shock Absorber sports bra - just can't run without it (well, only the once in the NE!)...

Trainers worn: Asics (but I'm considering a change!)

Other Hobbies: Reading and tormenting my family!

Miles per week: 0-25 depending on the mojo!


Introducing: Steve "Bumper" Treweeks

Age: 46

Occupation: Dispenser in a pharmacy.

Years Running: The last 10 plus all my childhood!

Favourite Race: Southport Mad Dog 10k or London Marathon (LOVED it!).

Least Favourite Race: Great North Run - brilliant race but I hated running it!

Why You Started Running: Initially to regain some fitness, now it's to stay as fit and healthy as possible to keep the rare abdominal Cancer I suffer with at bay for as long as possible.

Injuries sustained: I always get calf and shin problems if I run too often or too many miles

Furthest Distance to Date: 26.2 miles, London was my 5th Marathon

Favourite bit of running kit: My iPhone - GPS, personal trainer (Adidas MiCoach App), music and ability to contact someone in an emergency all rolled into one!

Trainers worn: Nike Pegasus

Other Hobbies: Scuba Diving

Miles per week
: About 12 to 15 normally, and up to about 40 during the latter stages of marathon training, I only ever run 3 times a week or I generally break!

Introducing: Jill Jenkins

Age: 55 (25 at heart) 

Occupation: Education Welfare Officer for Local Authority

Year Running: 18 months

Favourite Race: BUPA Manchester 10k May 2011. This was my second race and at the time  the furthest I had ever run. The mass warm up at the start and atmosphere soon sucked  me in and my nerves disappeared wihin minutes. 

Least Favourite Race: Sneyd Striders 10 mile race. Good race to practice a longer 
distance, but the course was two laps of a housing estate and some side roads. So not great on scenery.

Why You Started Running: To lose weight and gain fitness. I had been a gym member for a few years but did not enjoy running on the treadmill. A personal trainer suggested I try running outside and gave me a one mile route to begin with. I've never looked back since.

Injuries sustained: Nothing major just an annoying black toe nail every now and again and most recently cuts and grazes after falling into a pothole at the Wilmslow Half.

Furthest Distance to Date: 13.1 miles

Favourite bit of running kit: Nike App on iPhone even though it occasionally miscalculates the route! 

Trainers worn: Asics Kayano 18 

Other Hobbies: Walking, watching DVD's, eating out, spending time with my family and cruising.

Miles per week: Approx 15

Introducing: Alan Pearson

 Age: 42

Occupation: Horticuluralist

Years running: 18 months

Favourite race: Marathon du medoc (wine,food,sun and a bit of a run, unbeatable!)

Least favourite race: Crewe 10k, but enjoyed that to a degree, just no scenery!

Why did you start running? Lifetime ambition to run a marathon after knee surgery

Injuries sustained: (Current) heel pain, and have had tight hamstrings last year.

Farthest distance to date: Marathon - doing sandstone trail in may (33miles)

Favourite bit of running kit: Garmin gps watch

Trainers worn: Brooks glycerin 9 (proper advice makes a difference for trainers)

Other hobbies: Collecting watches, anything mechanical.

Miles per week: Currently nil! (am going to cycle to retain fitness until injury free, but on average 20 to 25 miles a week.