Hardy runners complete tough Ridgeway Challenge

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The annual Ridgeway Challenge was held over the Bank Holiday weekend and Tring Running Club had a hardy seven runners take part.

Starting from Ivinghoe Beacon and heading first to Goring-on-Thames and finishing near Avebury in Wiltshire, the route follows an ancient trail believed to be more than 5000 years old.

The ridgeway is popular with walkers who normally plan a week, or so, to cover the full 86 miles. The goal for competitors in the challenge is to run, or walk, continuously and complete the course in less than 26 hours. It also includes the UK Ultra Trail Running Championship and attracts runners from across the UK and beyond.

Starting on Saturday morning, 138 experienced runners began the long trek to Wiltshire. Given the distance and difficult hot and humid conditions, it was unsurprising that 43 runners retired at various points on the course.

There were seven entrants from Tring RC and they were led home, in 14th place overall, by Tom Sawyer in a spectacular 17:30. Tom’s achievement was all the more remarkable as the longest run he had ever done prior to this event was 38 miles. There were other fine performances from Leon Bosch, who came second in his age category and received a silver medal, Kim Reed and Kingsley Basson.

Unfortunately, after a very brisk and promising start Tom Hallett retired at 26 miles.

In the sparse but hotly-contested men’s over-65s category, Tony Hill and Brian Layton took the first two places.

Result: Tom Sawyer 17:30, Leon Bosch 21:34, Kim Reed 23:04, Tony Hill 23:04, Kingsley Basson 23:38, Brian Layton 25:22, Tom Hallett retired.