Valley Striders was founded in July 1982 by a group of runners
looking for a Club which concentrated on distance running - road, cross-country and
fell - rather than a 'normal' athletics club biased towards track and field. The name
refers to the Meanwood Valley in North West Leeds, around which many of the early
training routes were based. By 1985 the Club had nearly 150 members, but some of these
were based at Ben Rhydding and a breakaway group subsequently formed Ilkley Harriers.
Membership remained around the 100 mark for a while but in the last few years has gently increased to just over 180. The Club started with a
constitution and minuted meetings, but quickly adopted the relaxed approach that
The Club is still based near the Meanwood Valley:
- Tuesday training session starts 6:45pm from the Old Leodiensians' Club on King Lane (1 mile North from Sainsbury's Superstore on the Ring Road).
This on a 4 week cycle - (1st) 3 * 10minute reps, (2nd) 16 * 75second reps, (3rd) 5 * 6minute reps, (4th) 6 * 600m hills.
If there is a 5th Tuesday in a month, we vote for our favourite session.
In summer, we use the footpath and dam at Eccup reservoir.
In winter we use lit streets in North Leeds which have a minimum of intersections.
All sessions are suitable for runners of all abilities - slower runners just don't run so far (all will be revealed if you come to training session!) and beginners should drive to the session.
- Thursday training is at 6:45pm from Scott Hall Sports Centre.
These are easy runs of 6-8 miles at 9-10 minute mile pace suitable for less experienced runners but not for pure beginners.
- Sunday : 9:00am from Smithy Mills Lane / Parkside Road, 10-15 miles, usually off-road.
- There are also reputed to be sessions from Roundhay Park some Wednesday and Friday evenings and also Thursday mornings, but these are just social runs of half a dozen Club members!
The Club now has about 180 members:
- a third are regulars at the Tuesday and/or Thursday training nights.
- a third more are occasional Tuesday/Thursday and/or appear regularly at local road, cross-country or fell races and/or run relays etc. with the Striders.
- the remaining third are social members / second claim / injured / working away from Leeds / have other good excuses for not running regularly with the Club.
There are 2 internal competitions within the Club:
- The Grand Prix consists of 31 races covering 6 categories - Club Handicaps (see below), short road races, medium road races, long races, West Yorks cross-country races, and off-road races (fell and trail).
The first Strider at each event scores 100 points, the second 99 etc. Runners are divided into 5 groups according to ability and
a Grand Prix T-shirt is awarded to the runner in each group scoring the most points in their best 8 scoring events (taken from at least 5 categories),
as well as to the overall men's, women's and vets' (M40,M50,W35) champions.
- The Fell Race Championship is contested between February and November and points can be scored at most fell and trail races in Yorkshire and some across the border (i.e. in Lancashire).
There are 4 Club Handicap events during the year. The first across the finish line then looks after the "John Umpleby Cup" for the next three months. The handicaps are included in the Grand Prix - actual running time is used to calculate points.
- Winter is 5 miles, Usually on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year. This was the first handicap, originally run as a relay for pairs, then as fancy dress, but from 1997 became serious competition (for those who have not taken Christmas to excess!).
- Spring and Autumn are usually 10km around Eccup Reservoir
- Summer is 5¼ miles and consists of the Eccup (southern) loop of the Harewood Trail Race (see below).
We have a Xmas meal and presentation evening each year in December at which two further trophies are presented
- The "Horsforth Marathon Cup" for best marathon performance in the year - won in 2006 by Brian Hanley for 2:36 at Berlin (NB Tracey Morris received a special award this year)
- The "Stuart St John Also-ran Trophy" (an engraved glass tankard) for the club member who has tried hardest but not won anything during the year - won in 2006 by Paul Sanderson.
We have organised several races:
West Yorkshire Cross Country:
In November 1997 and November 2001 we hosted one of the races in the West Yorks cross-country championships,
again using part of the Meanwood Valley Trail and the fields and woods near Leo's.
Valley Striders host the W Y X C website (via www.completerunner.co.uk)
Other Races: In the past we have organised 3 other races: 5 miles from Eccup in 1984, and 10k races in Roundhay Park in 1989 and 1990.
We also support the organisation of several other local races including the Roundhay Pulse Race in June and the Cancer Research 10k at Harewood in September.
- Meanwood Valley Trail Race:
In March 1996, we organised a Trail Race of 8 miles on the paths on and near the Meanwood Valley Trail and in Meanwood Park.
We have repeated this annually since.
The race has grown from 93 finishers in 1996 to over 300 finishers in each of the last 5 years.
In 2004 we introduced a junior race of 1 mile for 7-10 years and 2 miles for 11-16 years. This has grown from 30 finishers in 2004 to 84 in 2007.
From 2001 onwards we have donated all of the profits to Lineham Farm Children's Centre at Eccup - the total has now exceeded £7,000.
The next race will be in April or May 2008.
Since 2002, the Meanwood Trail race has also been part of the Airedale Triple Trail - a 3 race series together with Baildon Boundary Way and Guiseley Gallop.
- Harewood Trail Race and Hop:
In September 1999 we assisted St Leonard's Hospice York in organising a 2mile junior race / fun run and 10k race at the Harewood Hill Climb.
In September 2000, we moved the race to Harewood House (based at Harewood Village Hall), with a 10 mile trail race
around the Harewood Estate and Eccup Reservoir, taking in parts of the Leeds Country Way and the Ebor Way and passing the Emmerdale Village film set.
The new route for the 2 mile race was on tarmac paths but also involved a steep hill.
From 2000 to 2007 we have averaged 500 finishers in the 10 mile race and 200 in the 2 mile.
We raised over £13,000 for St Leonards Hospice in the first 6 years. For the last 3 years all profits have been donated to Lineham Farm, a total of over £10,000.
The next race is set provisionally for 5 October 2008.
We have two B.A.F. qualified coaches - Max Jones and George Black - who are available by email to give general advice or to prepare personal training plans.
Valley Striders Achievements are listed on a separate internet page, but include:
- Eric Cusack - GBR team gold medallist - 2001 World Vets M50 marathon
- Sam Harris - Yorkshire 10k champion 2004
- Max Jones - several world records in M70 category from 50km to 24 hours
- Kathy Kaiser - 1999 World Vets W45 marathon champion and 2nd W50 at London 2003
- Tracey Morris - ran for GB the 2004 Olympic Marathon, the 2006 European Championships and the 2007 World Championships; and finished 4th (for Wales) in the 2006 Commonwealth Games 2006
- Steve O'Callaghan - run over 100 marathons, PB of 2:21
- Lisa Wilyman - Leeds marathon winner 2003, Leeds ½ marathon winner 2004, Yorks 20mile champ 2005
We compete in road, cross-country and fell as individuals and teams. We compete in local relays including
- Harrogate Ringway - January 2005 we had 4 teams of 5
- Bradford Millennium Way - June 2007 we had 2 teams of 10 (we also won 1st mixed team 2002-2005 and 1st vets 2006)
- Leeds Country Way - September 2007 we had 4 teams of 12 - including womens winners, vets runners-up, mens 4th and the only club with 4 teams
- Calderdale Way - December 2006 we had 2 teams of 12 and finished 2nd mixed team
Our Club President is Olympic marathon medallist Charlie Spedding, and our Vice-President is our founder Club Secretary, Stuart St.John, who emigrated to Scotland in 1994. The 'working' Committee is:
- Chairman - Bob Jackson 0113-289-2830
- Club Captain - Steve O'Callaghan 0113-267-7779
- Secretary - Geoff Webster 0113-266-6288 - 52 North Park Avenue, Roundhay, LS8 1EY
- Road and Cross Country Captains - Laura Clark, Paul Hunter, Hayley Nancolas, Carole Schofield, Drew Taylor
- Treasurer and Membership Secretary - Paul White - 17 Whinmoor Court, Redhall, LS14 1NX
- Fell Captain - Steve Webb 01943-871606
- Vets Captain - Sylvia Watson 0113-266-6288
- Information on Tuesday training - Bob Jackson 0113-289-2830
- Information on Thursday training - Paul Furness - 0113-269-8231
- Information on Sunday training - Tim Towler 0113-224-9098
- Club Coaches - Max Jones and George Black
- Grand Prix Events Co-ordinators - Paul White & Alan Hutchinson
- Fell Competition Secretary - Geoff Webster - 0113-266-6288
- News Review Editor - Eric Green
- Website Administrator - Bob Jackson - 0113-289-2830 - v . s @ virgin . net
If you have a particular area of interest, then contact the person as indicated above,
otherwise contact any of the above for further details, or just turn up on
one of the Club nights when you will be sure of a welcome (and with no commitment to join).
Club Membership Subscription for September 2007 to August 2008 is £12 p.a. This includes £3 paid to the North of England A.A. for their registration scheme.
For new members the fee is pro-rated for part of the year
e.g. £8 for Jan-Aug 2008. Membership for under-18s and supporters is £3.
Further information is available via e-mail or from the internet: