Striders’ U11s star Sweeting demolishes field of U16s

Young Thomas Sweeting, who produced a superb performance in the Belvoir Challenge race.
Young Thomas Sweeting, who produced a superb performance in the Belvoir Challenge race.

It might be only the beginning of March, but young Thomas Sweeting has probably produced the performance of the year already by athletes at the Gainsborough and Morton Striders club.

On Saturday, Sweeting took part in the Belvoir Challenge, a 15-mile race around the trails and paths of the beautiful Belvoir Estate in the south of the county.

And even though he still competes in the U11s’ age category, he was the runaway winner of the prize for the first U16 finisher! Indeed, his time of two hours, 29 minutes meant he was waiting more than an hour before his nearest challenger crossed the finishing line at Harby Village Hall. In the overall results, he was an astonishing 132nd, out of more than 730 entrants.

Sweeting’s father, David, ran with him for the first 12 miles and admitted later that Thomas could have gone even faster had he not insisted that they run together for most of the event. The performance merely underlines why he is ranked the fourth best U11 runner in the country.

Sweeting senior eventually finished ten minutes after his son. And in what was something of a family day out, Helen Sweeting also aqcuitted herself well in the marathon event. She battled through the muddy course in four hours, 54 minutes, which was one of the top 20 times by a lady.

On Sunday, three Striders nipped down to Nottingham to join almost 1,000 other runners in the East Midlands 10k. It turned out to be a successful race for the trio, with Jordan Skelly overcoming a strong headwind in the long home straight to claim sixth place. For good measure, his time of 34.33 minutes was the fastest by a Strider for 18 months.

Further down the field, Maureen Allen came home with yet another cup as the comfortable winner of the V70 category with her time of 68.28, while her husband David completed his run in 77.13 to secure fourth spot in the men’s V70 division.

The club’s next junior training session is on Tuesday evening at the Gainsborough Academy at 5.30 pm, while the adult session will start from outside DW Sports in Marshall’s Yard at 7.15 pm on gthe same night. The Thursday evening training run starts outside Queen Elizabeth’s High School at 6.30 pm.