Welcome to the Costa del Wheelton! It is for days like this that we became runners. A beautiful morning, blue skies with a slight chill in the air.
For reasons unknown (and other bug-related symptoms), numbers were down this year among Belle Vue Racers and across the board generally, which is a shame as this is undoubtedly a gold-plated top-drawer humdinger of a race. Starting off from The Dressers Arms public house, the race begins with a 1 mile ascent, setting the tone for the whole of the 8.45 mile (nigh on 14km) race. Through the Villages does not have a lot of flat to offer, it’s up or it’s down with very little in between. With 900 foot of ascent (and descent), it’s a thorough test of the quads and the calves.
Among the men, PBs were enjoyed by the first three men home, Simon Stead (59:16) and Jason Stott (1:01:06 ) “taking it easy” before their Athens Marathon next weekend, with Andrew Taylor (1:04:09) in third.
The race finishes in a dramatic mile-long descent to the line. As the boys caught their breath, Annie Hirsch and Kath Horwill were spotted neck and neck descending the hill at breakneck speed, matching one another stride for stride. With perhaps 30 metres to go, Kath took her chance and kicked hard for the line, taking the honours (1:08:29) by a mere second from Annie (1:08:30) – quite some finish!
A huge thanks to the organisers for a brilliantly run race, well and enthusiastically marshalled. With a free hotpot to enjoy post-warm down, what’s not to like?! See you next year, Wheelton. AT