Sue and Grace’s Grand Day Out – ‘Cross the Mersey Style

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The 10th running of the GPW Recruitment St Helens 10k was a sunny but windy affair which nonetheless celebrated the best of St Helens sport over the past decade, and St Helens Tri was right in the thick of the action from the word go. Eleven members raced for St Helens Tri with several more raising money for sister club the Isabella Rose Foundation. Lee Brownbill made much of the early running and was still leading the way at the halfway mark, but the cross country season always seems to bring out the best in those who have participated over the winter months and sure enough, Kevin Dudley and Chris Hayes came to the fire in the latter stages. Kevin was the sole St Helens Tri member to duck under the 45 minute mark and finish in the top 150 overall while Chris used his trademark fast finish to record a 46:10 chip time and just edge Lee out by six seconds. Indeed the pair had their hands full with Chris Dyson who really came on strong on the final run in to the line inside the stadium and was justifiably delighted with his 47:32. Sixth club member home was David Mellor who would certainly have appreciated the sprint round the rugby field at the end; a time of 48:50 was a just reward for a winter of consistent attendance and effort at the Friday night track sessions. Perhaps the hard luck story of the day was that of Kevin Richardson, who opened his 2020 account just outside the top 400 on chip times recording a 50:07. He didn’t have much in the way of company during the race, as there was a gap of around three and a half minutes to Melanie Sayed, who in turn was 1:35 clear of Lisa Hirst, taking time off from supporting Eddie and her two daughters to put in her annual spirited effort up North Road. Nick Hall got his nose in front of Lisa at various stages of the race, but eventually finished just over a minute behind, while it was a case of second time lucky for Sue King who, after just missing out on a sub hour at last October’s Rainford 10k, would end up beating her target by nearly a minute, while also edging out teammate Lewis Shepherd by seven seconds. A special mention must go to the club’s recently appointed head coach Stuart Dillingham, who has only recently joined the club after many years of success in the West Country. He took part in his first St Helens 10k and enjoyed a good day out, finishing the tough course in a couple of little over 70 minutes.

All attentions now turned to the Bebington Oval for the first round of the junior season as Mersey Tri Club hosted the Wirral Aquathlon. Fresh from the St Helens 10k, Sue was off to the other side of the water to watch her daughter Grace take part in her first race for the club. Grace enjoyed her day out as she placed third in the Novice A Girls event. In the T2 event, Grace Hirst was out of the water in 15th place and, true to her form on the most recent track session, edged forward on the run. She just ran out of time to catch the runner ahead of her but a top 15 finish in 15:02 was a good first outing on the season. It was a similar story for her sister Holly who was in a very competitive division but again managed to save her best for the end as 18th on the run elevated her into the top 20 overall to round off a fine weekend of racing both at St Helens Stadium and the Oval. Next week’s main event is the Firefighters 2-up duathlon on the slopes of West Pennine Moors in Belmont where teams of two run and ride bikes together – here’s hoping the never ending windy weather finally calms down in time for race day!

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