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ATHLETICS: Grantham RC turn out in force for Thunder Run

GRC's Scott Jones gets a helping hand or two at the Thunder Run.
GRC's Scott Jones gets a helping hand or two at the Thunder Run.

Grantham Running Club turned out in force for the annual festival of trail running that is the Continental Thunder Run 24 at Catton Park, Derbyshire.

The event, which sells out in 15 minutes, attracted a huge field of 3,000 runners and their families.

GRC club members arrived on site on the Friday, pitched their tents and got the BBQs burning in readiness for the relay event to begin at midday on Saturday. With a mixed gender team of five, and two of eight, this was arguably GRC’s most successful Thunder Run.

The mixed team of five actually only contained four runners but that didn’t stop them finishing an incredible fifth out of 88 teams, having completed 27 10km laps during the 24 hour period. The team consisting of Robert McAardle, Catherine Payne, Andrew McAllister and Chris Limmer ran through the night, with many of them completing a total of 70 kilometres.

The faster mixed team of eight, named ‘GRC’s Blood Sweat & Beers’, completed an impressive 29 laps of the tough course, with most runners contributing four laps. The team comprising of Andrew Pask, Andy Atter, Sarah High, Ben Hatherly, Ben Mason, Dean Riggall, Matthew Kingston-Lee and Scott Jones finished 16th out of 239 teams.

Also representing the club was a second mixed team of eight, with an outstanding contribution of 23 laps placing them 134th. The team of Helen Brown, Paul Rushworth, Yvonne Buckley and Brendon Buckley, along with GAC father and son John and Sam Bainbridge, managed to keep the lap count ticking over despite having a depleted team of only seven and one team member missing a middle of the night wake-up call.

During the heroic final Sunday laps, many runners were joined up the final rise to the finish by their team members, carrying club flags and the promise of a finish line beer. With the cheering crowds building on the hill, runners were shown encouragement comparable to a big city marathon.

Andy Atter, competing in his first Thunder Run 24 said: “I had no idea how big an event this was. My family and I had an incredible weekend and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.”

l The Werrington 5k was the final race of the Peterborough Grand Prix series and one of the tougher ones, not helped by the strong winds in some of the more exposed sections but, despite this, the runners from Grantham Running Club did well with two runners scoring of 80 per cent in one race for only the second time this year.

First home was Rob Howbrook in 19:27, with legs still heavy from his previous tough racing schedule. Catherine Payne was once again first lady home in her age category in 20:49, and Robert McArdle finished in 22:09; no personal bests but good times given the course and the conditions.


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