Gainsborough Strider Lauren crowned queen of cross-country circuit

Lauren Staves, who took the U17 girls title in the Lincolnshire Cross-Country series. (PHOTO BY: John Rainsforth)
Lauren Staves, who took the U17 girls title in the Lincolnshire Cross-Country series. (PHOTO BY: John Rainsforth)

The consistent Lauren Staves, of Gainsborough and Morton Striders, was crowed U17 queen of the Lincolnshire cross-country circuit after another superb performance at the weekend.

Having finished first, second and fourth in the previous three races of the series, Lauren was perfectly poised to become champion. And not even a notoriously hilly course at Hubbard’s Hills in Louth and drizzly rain, which made conditions difficult underfoot, could prevent her comfortably securing the title.

Lauren even finished eighth woman overall, and her national ranking of 985th in her age group is sure to improve considerably if she maintains this kind of form.

The weather the previous day were just as bracing for Striders who tackled the latest Gainsborough parkrun although, perversely, four of them achieved personal-best (PB) times.

Steven Gaffney returned to the club recently after a few years’ absence, and he has wasted little time in getting back to the form he showed in his earlier spell. He stormed round the three-lap course in under 23 minutes for a fourth place finish and a new PB by 37 seconds.

Ben Smith’s improvement was even better because his 27.44 time meant he carved more than two minutes off the time he had clocked the previous week.

Meanwhile, Lewis Shillito, another of the club’s talented youngsters, showed the benefits of regular running as he ran 27.54 to secure a 33-second PB. Last, but not least, young Cayden Kelsey finished his run around the 5km course in 33.45, almost three minutes quicker than his performance on Christmas Eve.

Elsewhere, James Croft celebrated his 50th parkrun with another first-place finish, and his partner, Kirsty Smithson, scooped the plaudits for being the first lady Strider to complete the course.

The other members of the club to brave the slippery track were Daniel Edwards (25.56), Jonathan Chapman (28.09), Darryl Kelsey (33.46), Cliff Middleton (34.45), Maureen Allen (38.14), David Allen (41.56) and Sara Kelsey (42.31).

The only Strider ‘tourist’ at the weekend was Anthony Myles, who was one of the record-breaking total of 426 runners to compete at the Lincoln parkrun. Myles’s time of 32.01 was an improvement on his previous effort and showed he is getting back to form after a long absence because of injury.

Meanwhile the regular weekly club training sessions are continuing with the juniors meeting on Tuesdasy at 5.30 pm. at the Gainsborough Academy.

For the seniors, the Thursday session starts at 6.30 pm from Queen Elizabeth High School, while their next Tuesday evening session will begin from DW Sports in Marshall’s Yard at 7.15 pm. High-visibility clothing is a requirement for both adult sessions.

Anyone wishing to join Striders is more than welcome to pop along to one of the training sessions and make themselves known.

The club, formed way back in 1983, is popular and respected and currently has more than 200 members, who enjoy not only the competition but also the social aspect.