ATHLETICS: Record number of Grantham RC runners tackle Belvoir Challenge

Hundreds of runners and walkers set off from Harby on Saturday. Photo: Toby Roberts
Hundreds of runners and walkers set off from Harby on Saturday. Photo: Toby Roberts
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Grantham Running Club had a record number of entrants in this year’s 25th annual Belvoir Challenge on Saturday - a cross-country event known for being tough and muddy.

A total of more than 1,000 entrants were invited to run or walk the 15- or 26-mile route knowing that at two checkpoints they would be provided with cream teas and homemade cakes.

William Parkin finished second in the latest Newark Parkrun.

William Parkin finished second in the latest Newark Parkrun.

It was a bitterly cold early morning start at Harby, but everyone left with smiles on their faces for the first five minutes until faced with the first stretch of muddy ground.

Competitors waded through the ordeal, hanging on to each other for support and rescuing lost shoes. There were stiles to cross, fences to crawl under and hills to climb.

Best of the Grantham RC runners was Gerry Hyde who completed the 15 miles in 2hr 8min 24sec for 18th place overall.

GRC others: 157 Louise Hyde 2:49:17, 158 Mark Hillson 2:50:10, 241 Catherine Davies 3:17:33, 312 Nikki Carr 3:38:15, 470 Wendy Hobson 4:16:12, 471 Wendy Tremain 4:16:19, 472 Ruth Dunstan 4:16:21, 696 Anne Barnabas 5:26:02.

l Grantham RC members Catherine Payne and Robert McArdle competed again in this year’s Boundary Run organised by Cambridge University’s Hare and Hounds Running Club.

The long-standing off-road marathon race traced the outline of the city and included several reasonable sized hills as well as the usual mix of footpaths, cycle routes, greenways and ploughed fields.

Although conditions on the day were dry and sunny, recent rain had made several parts of the course very muddy, and some were just under water. High winds added to the challenge.

Both runners recorded times some 18 minutes better than last year, with Catherine finishing eighth lady finish in 3:55:54, with Robert McArdle coming home in 3:56:24.

l Grantham RC fielded runners in Parkruns in Newark and Melton Mowbray at the weekend.

At the Newark event, two clubmates took part with William Parkin the first home in second place in a lightening quick 18:27. Rob Howbrook recorded 20:27 to cross the line in fourth.

Meanwhile at Melton, Iain Brown posted a spectacular time to finish in 20:21 for fourth place.

l The wind was a major factor for Grantham Athletic Club members at the this weekend.

However, it failed to prevent some good performances at the Newark Parkrun. Parkrun debutante Dona Hall set herself a very respectable benchmark on her first outing.

Results: 5 Paul Davidson 20:53, 26 Keith Measure 23:45, 48 Janice Anderson 26:12, 49 Richard Hall 26:12, 134 Dona Hall 41:48.

l Wind and lots of very sticky mud were in plentiful supply at the Belvoir Challenge.

Despite this, Grantham AC’s Julie Stewart and Trudy Hanson managed to complete the 15-mile route in 3:17:40 and 3:17:38 respectfully.