The sun shone on the members of Grantham Running Club that took part in The Belvoir Challenge on Saturday 26 March, an event that sees participants following footpaths and trails through the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire.
The challenging event, famed for its hills and checkpoints stocked with a multitude of cakes and sandwiches, is a firm favourite with many runners returning year after year to complete the 15- or 26-mile route, changed each year to keep the experience interesting for participants. The weather was uncharacteristically bright with underfoot conditions remaining favourable compared to previous years. For the majority of GRCs participants race times were not of particular importance, with most runners using the event as a training run prior to the approaching spring marathon season.
The energy sapping mud and steep inclines posed no problem for GRC athlete Piers Pye-Watson in the 15-mile race, who arguably put in the performance of the day with an impressive time of 1:52:35, securing 6th place overall. Piers was followed by Gerry Hyde in 2:14:46, Daniel Howson in 2:37:30.
GRC ladies Holly Durham and Penny Hodges romped at in 03:16:05, both using the event as a training run to enhance their weekly mileage. Next was Sinead McDonnell in 3:48:39.
CJ Walker and Yvonne Buckley enjoyed running the race together in a time of 04:30:09, with CJ commenting on the impressive scenery and enthusiastic marshals who embody the spirit of this well-loved event.
Second-claim member Sophie Davies completed the 26 mile course in 4:32:55 and Caroline Davis, GRCs female ultra-runner extraordinaire finished in 04:59:56, with Sarah High following in 05:21:28. Andrew Macallister also enjoyed a grand day out completing the 26-mile course in a time of 05:10:02 followed by Nick Payne in 05:40:04.
The 15-mile race was won by Oliver Matharu in a time of 01:38:59, with Janet Hudson winning the women’s race in 02:13:14. Chris Cope won the 26-mile race in 03:17:31, with Rhiannon Baxter winning the female race in 03:49:24.