Despite the terribly wet weather that had visited the North in the weeks leading up to the event, Belle Vue Racers’ annual New Year Hit the Trail race welcomed a record number of runners in 2016 to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of Reddish Vale Country Park. With pre-entries and entries on the day hitting the perfect 400 mark, and 353 runners finishing the course (up 85 runners on 2015), Hit the Trail has become a firm favourite in the New Year race calendar, welcoming runners from far and wide. With fantastic support from many of our local clubs – the largest contingents coming from Goyt Valley Striders (17), Bramhall Runners (20) and Stockport Harriers (25) – we also welcomed runners from as far afield as Folkestone RC, Southampton’s Lordshill Runners, Gateshead AC, Sheffield’s Hallamshire Harriers and Serpentine Running Club.
First to cross the line was Stockport Harrier Jake Littlehales in 26:54, an astonishing time given the extremely wet conditions underfoot. Chris Jacksonof Glossopdale Harriers took second spot in 29:51 with Todmorden Harrier Paul Brannigan taking third place in 30:07. With solid performances across the team, it was James Rees, Paul Oakley, Lucas Jonesand Daniel Boydof Goyt Valley Striders who took home the Men’s Team Prize, the first four finishers counting.
First woman to finish was 2015’s winner Caitlin Rice of Glossopdale Harriers (31:13). Sale Harrier Zoe Gmerektook second place in 32:08 with Helen Whitby of Northern Vets AC taking third spot in a time of 33:14. With Kirsty Johnson taking fourth spot, following last year’s third, and Joanne Brack and Rachel Higginbottom finishing well, it was Glossopdale Harriers who took back the Women’s Team Prize back from last year’s victors Stockport Harriers.
Preparation is now underway for the second running of Belle Vue Racers’ Summer evening 5-mile trail race, The Mad Hatter, a different course to Hit the Trail but at the same spectacular venue. Online entry is now available at Bookitzone. We look forward to seeing you there on the 11th of May. AT