Waddie left stuck in the mud at race
WADHURST runner Mark Waring completed his second Yorkshire Downs Fellsman Endurance Race in freezing conditions, which eventually caused the event to be cancelled after it had started, because of safety concerns for the stragglers.
The Fellsman is a 62-mile traverse of the Yorkshire Dales incorporating 11,000 feet of climbing.
The times this year, including that of international ultra-runners such as Jez Bragg, were significantly slower this year, because of full peat bogs, snow and biting winds.
Days of persistent rain had left much of the ground soft underfoot, but it was the strong, cold winds that left mountain rescue dealing with several cases of hypothermia, the airlift of one runner and a case of temporary wind blindness.
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Waring was not aware of the cancellation, which occurred just before he finished at 3am: he was still given a recorded time of 17 hours, two hours slower than his time last year.
In near perfect conditions at Hamstreet, two Waddies competed in the Hamstreet 10K cross country.
Lyn Hayes, in startling form, finished fourth woman and first lady vet in 48 minutes dead, immediately followed by Peter Burfoot, 13 seconds behind, who secured first male vet.
The race of 142 runners was won by Jeff Pyrah, of Rye Runners, in 35min 19sec.
Two more Waddies ran the Staplehurst 10K, and Nell Neary earned first lady vet with 48min 44sec and 97th place. David Jones, on home soil, finished fifth male vet (48:44).
The race winner was Dom Brown, of Tonbridge AC, in a fast time of 34:50.
Preparations for the Bewl 15, organised every year by Wadhurst Runners, are now well advanced.
Taking place over one circuit of the beautiful Bewl Water on July 1, it is scheduled to start and finish at Wadhurst.
The race attracts a quality field with runners from around the UK, but strong support comes from local clubs such as Tonbridge AC, Tunbridge Wells, Paddock Wood and Crowborough Runners. Runners also now enter from as far afield as the USA, Italy and other parts of Europe.
Entries have topped 550, and race director Albert Kemp is confident the record entry of 776 will be surpassed.
He hopes it will top 800 for the first time and he also aims to maintain the event's coveted position of the best 15-mile race in the United Kingdom, held since 2009.
Kemp said: "Each year we look to see how we can improve the race.
"After 2011, the club instigated three of the most practical ideas suggested: introducing free tea, coffee and beer at the finish, a professional story teller to entertain the children waiting for their relatives to finish the race and a cash prize of £50 to the male and/or female who break the course record."