Hundreds of runners and walkers take on epic the Belvoir Challenge

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144732001
Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144732001
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More than 1,000 runners and walkers braved the cold, wind and mud to take part in the 27th Belvoir Challenge on Saturday.

Contestants had the option of completing either a 26 or 15-mile course across the beautiful countryside of the Vale of Belvoir.

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144813001

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144813001

Proceeds from the event were, as usual, donated to Harby Primary school, which was the start and finish point for the challenge.

School head teacher Bridget Bye said: “Although Storm Doris had taken its toll on the land in the days before the event the route was well marked and mud did not stop participants from enjoying the day.

“There were checkpoints along the routes stocked with homemade cakes, Stilton cheese and tea and coffee to keep runners and walkers going.”

Around 800 of the 1,054 who took part took on the 15-mile course, with the first man back being Benjamin Griffiths, in 1.44.07, and the first woman being Bethan Gay, with a time of 1.56.15.

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144746001

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144746001

First male home in the 26-mile challenge was Stephen Shanks (3.20.28) with the first female back being Kit-Yi Greene in 4.04.54.

The first under 16 home, over the 15-mile course, was Thomas Sweeting with special mention to Ivor Davis, who did 26 miles to complete his 262nd marathon.

Mrs Bye gave special thanks to Becky Spence, who co-ordinated the event in her role as chair of the Friends of Harby CofE School.

She added: “We are hugely grateful to the parents, pupils, friends and staff who have worked so hard to organise the event.

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144826001

Belvoir Challenge 2017 EMN-170228-144826001

“From the initial planning of the route to manning checkpoints, serving teas and coffees, marking routes, coordinating the check in of participants – the list of jobs is endless and all those who volunteered have played their part.

“We would also like to thank the residents of Harby for their support and the landowners for their agreement in allowing the event to take place.

“It makes such a difference to the pupils and school and we are very grateful.”

Bruce Mowbray, of Friends of Harby School, said the event was as popular as ever and a couple of hundred extra people could have taken part if there was not a cap on numbers.

He said: “It’s popular because it is a very different event from a lot of others.

“It’s not specifically a race, it’s a challenge. We serves cakes, sandwiches and other refreshments at the check points which not many other events do.

“A lot of the routes also go over private land which is opened up by Belvoir Castle so you get to see a lot of the grounds you wouldn’t normally see.”