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 300, including nearly 50 juniors. The Club started with a
constitution and minuted meetings, but this didn't last long.
A new constitution was written in 2008 and some Striders have been seen attending committee meetings
but generally the club runs with a very relaxed approach!
The Club is still based near the Meanwood Valley. Training sessions are as follows (NB see website homepage for more details and any changes)
Check the main page of the website for any changes.
- Tuesday - 5 groups
- experienced runners (race pace faster than 48min for 10km) - normally 7pm 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) Track session meet at Carnegie 7pm (3rd) 5 * 6minute reps or a pyramid session, (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.
- intermediates (race pace 48 to 60min for 10km) - normally 7pm from the Old Leodiensians' Club on King Lane
- fell runners - monthly session (see website homepage)
- beginners/improvers - normally 6pm from the Old Leodiensians' Club on King Lane
- juniors (age 8+) - normally 6pm from the Old Leodiensians' Club on King Lane
- Thursday - 2 groups
- experienced runners - normally 6:45pm normally from Scott Hall Sports Centre, steady runs of 7-8 miles at 7-9 minute mile pace (with rests).
- improvers & intermediates - normally 6:45pm, various locations (see website home page), steady runs of about 5 miles (with rests) suitable for less experienced runners but not for pure beginners.
- Friday : 5:00pm women only (see website home page)
- Sunday : 9:00am from Smithy Mills Lane / Parkside Road, 12-18 miles (depending on whether a marathon is imminent), usually off-road.
- There are also reputed to be sessions from Roundhay Park some Wednesday and Thursday evenings and also Thursday mornings, but these are just social runs of half a dozen Club members!
The Club now has about 380 members of whom 80 are juniors:
- a third are frequent runners 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 3 internal competitions within the Club:
- The Grand Prix consists of around 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. 2010 is the 22nd series.
- The Fell Race Championship took a new format from 2009 and is contested in 18 races between March and September.
Scores are caclulated according to the percentage of the winner's time with best 5 scores to count.
- The Junior Grand Prix runs from 1 September to 31 August
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 is 10km and Autumn 5 miles around Eccup Reservoir
- Summer is 5¼ miles and consists of the Eccup (southern) loop of the Harewood Trail Race (see below).
- There is a 1 mile race for juniors prior to each Handicap
We have a Xmas meal and presentation evening each year in December at which 4 further trophies are presented
- The "Horsforth Marathon Cup" for best marathon performance in the 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
- The "Vadim Kuznetsov Trophy" (an engraved Russian tea-urn) for the best performance in the Leeds Half Marathon
- The "Max Jones Cup" for the Strider with the best age-graded performance in the year
We have organised several races:
Yorkshire Vets Series:
For the last 4 years we have hosted one of the races in the YVAA series using part of the Meanwood Valley Trail and the fields and woods near Leo's
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 have twice hosted a race in the West Yorks cross-country championships.
We also support the organisation of several other local races including the Leeds Half Marathon in May and the Cancer Research 10k at Harewood in September.
- Meanwood Valley Trail Race & Junior Races:
Our first Meanwood Trail Race was in March 1996 and has been held every year since.
The route roughly follows the Meanwood Valley Trail from Leo's to Meanwood Park and back.
There have been some slight variations to the route but it has always been between 7 and 8 miles.
The race has grown from 93 finishers in 1996 to over 300 finishers in most of the last 8 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 over 100 in recent years.
From 2001 onwards we have donated all of the profits to Lineham Farm Children's Centre at Eccup - the total has now exceeded £12,000.
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 & Junior Race / Fun run:
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 we have averaged 500 finishers in the 10 mile race and 10 in the 2 mile.
We raised over £13k for St Leonards Hospice from 1999 to 2004.
From 2005 to 2008 all profits (£14k) were been donated to Lineham Farm.
Since 2009, profits have been shared between Lineham and Yorkshire Air Ambulance and we have raised over £10k.
We have two UKA qualified Coaches - Tracey Morris and Holly Williams - who are available by email to give general advice or to prepare personal training plans.
We have two UKA qualified Coaching Assistants - Andy Stoneman and Richard Irvine - who support our junior sessions
We also have 12 UKA qualified Leaders in Running & Fitness - who support our beginners/improvers sessions and our club training sessions
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
- 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
- Calderdale Way - May 2013 we had 2 teams of 12 (we were 2nd mixed team in 2006)
- Bradford Millennium Way - June 2013 we had 2 teams of 10 (we won 1st mixed team 2002-2005 and 1st vets 2006)
- Leeds Country Way - September 2013 we had 5 teams of 12 - including winning mens, womens and vets trophies, and one of only 2 clubs with 5 teams. We have had at least 2 teams every year since the first race in 1991.
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
- Secretary - Geoff Webster 0113-266-6288 - 52 North Park Avenue, Roundhay, LS8 1EY
- Treasurer and Membership Secretary - Paul White - 17 Whinmoor Court, Redhall, LS14 1NX
- Honorary President - Charlie Spedding
- Honorary Club Captain - Steve O'Callaghan
- Road and Cross Country Captains - Dan Fisher, Gwil Thomas, Myra Jones, Holly Williams
- Fell Captain - John Marsham
- Vets Captain - TBA
- Information on Tuesday training - Bob Jackson 0113-289-2830, Kathy Kaiser, and others
- Information on Thursday training - John Wallace 07855 809 672, Sharon Tansley, Kathy Kaiser, and others
- Information on Sunday training - Tim Towler 0113-224-9098
- Club Coaches - Tracey Morris, Holly Williams, 2 coaching assistants, plus 12 members trained as Leaders in Running & Fitness
- Grand Prix Events Co-ordinators - Alan Hutchinson & Dan Murray
- Fell Competition Secretary - Steve Webb
- Performance Certificates - Alan Hutchinson & Graham Jones
- Website Administrator - Bob Jackson - 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 2013 to August 2014 is £25 p.a. This includes £10 paid to the England Athletics for their registration scheme.
For new members the fee is £30 but is reduced if joining during the year.
Other membership rates: under-18s £10, second claim £15, social £15, volunteers £3.
Further information is available via e-mail or from the internet: