A week of mostly pleasant weather sees a lot of the course a lot drier than the week previous when we reccied part of it and was very boggy. Fixture pile up sees this year’s challenge which usually gets a huge Striders contingent battle against the National XC championships at Donington Park and Stilton’s own race the `Stilton 7` on the Sunday.
As usual a sold out Belvoir Challenge, it’s around 3 degrees and it seems I’m the only person running in a vest. This year the start is from the Village hall field which I’m not sure is an improvement but the pre-race music is the best I’ve heard at any race.
The opening 10k sees the traditional climb out of the Vale of Belvoir, this year we head through Goadby Marwood and to the first checkpoint at Scalford. Aware of the friendly rivalry with Greg Pettingill keeping with him throughout is in my thoughts as not wearing a watch also, whilst it may be drier underfoot this year the undulation is certainly more I think this year.
The route follows towards Waltham and Bescaby then to the halfway stage at Croxton Kerrial, surprisingly this is the last I see of Greg who had a few issues on the day and I’m sure will be back pushing me next time. The legs actually felt slower by 15 miles but I just sat at it on the way to Harston, a child who at 18 miles at Woolsthorpe by Belvoir tells me I’ve only six miles to go, I wish!
It’s a long slog up to Belvoir, I’m not sure if I’m running or just moving my arms but the sight of Stathern woods ahead I feel a little better after a few dark miles. Upon entering Stathern woods I take a cheeky 50 yard walk, I am tired, I actually felt delirious at the Wood Lane check point; although unlike last year the whole Stathern woods section did go a lot quicker despite the feeling I’ve been passed by every man and his dog. The last few miles do not feel pretty at all I’m just intent on finishing and pretty sure a slower start and a GPS watch would have made my overall time a lot better. The legs are shot with sharp pain into my hamstring at every uphill, without a doubt a very undulating course this year, not dry underfoot but certainly still a fair share of mud (those mud divots at the rear of Bescaby were killer), come in to a superb Stilton welcome at the finish and I believe a new Striders course record! Big well done to all who ran, a lot of Striders people running this event for the first time (including a Marathon debut!) very nice day out. For all.
15 mile results – Clive Kent (65th, 2:17:27) Katie Hateley (97th, 2:26:37) Brian Walkling (170th, 2:46:50) John Houghton (182nd, 2:49:30) Lou Houghton (257th, 3:07:14) Kaye Mead (283rd, 3:12:29) Jenny Kent (366th, 3:36:46) Susan Pettingill (370th, 3:37:19) .
26.2 mile results – Rob Beers (40th, 3:56:02) Dan Valencia (69th, 4:15:44) Simon Bottrill (78th, 4:23:08) Richard Gray (119th, 4:51:05) Greg Pettingill (150th, 5:09:51) Helen Metcalfe (202nd, 6:26:25).