TV presenter Ben Shephard joins huge Whissedine 6ix field

Race winner Phil Martin (680) and Jason Barton (620) get out in front as the race heads out of Whissendine EMN-171107-175821002
Race winner Phil Martin (680) and Jason Barton (620) get out in front as the race heads out of Whissendine EMN-171107-175821002

Whissendine 6ix organisers hailed this year’s edition as one of their biggest-ever as more than 300 runners and walkers entered the Friday night race.

Online registration for the event closed early in response to the high demand for the race which has been part of the local road running calendar since 1985.

A 300-strong field sets off at the start of the Whissendine 6ix EMN-171107-175832002

A 300-strong field sets off at the start of the Whissendine 6ix EMN-171107-175832002

TV presenter Ben Shephard was among the 272 finishers who braved warm conditions and an undulating six-mile route which skirts the Stapleford Park estate.

Shephard, who presents Goals on Sunday for Sky Sports, agreed to run the event with a close friend and crossed the line comfortably mid-pack in 138th in a time of 51min 48secs.

Peterborough runner Phil Martin made light work of the course to win in a brilliant time of 33min 39secs, more than half-a-minute clear of runner-up Ryan Bennet (Badgers) who crossed the line in 34.15.

He pipped Brian Corleys (Bushfield Joggers) by just two seconds, while Stilton Striders runner Jason Barton was the first Melton runner back in fourth, just 10 seconds behind Corleys.

Barton’s clubmate Luke Eggleston just missed out on a top 10 spot, finishing 12th in 38.01, while Darren Glover (39.46) was next back for the Melton club in 22nd, and John Ferneley College sports ambassador Paul Jacobs was a further five places adrift in 40.27.

Saya Sheridan edged a close battle for the women’s prize, finishing 33rd overall in 41.07, just four seconds ahead of Stamford’s Katie Arnold and 14 seconds ahead of Bourne’s Sarah Chynoweth.

Other Striders times: 35 Richard Coombs 41.18; 49 Richard Gray 43.37, 67 Michael Cooke 45.37, 94 Greeba Heard 48.19, 98 Christie Jones 48.47, 101 Lynda Harris 48.57, 102 Daniel Howley 48.59, 107 Sharon Eshelby 49.13, 108 Liz Goodbourn 49.20, 174 Emma Hope 54.12, 181 Katherine Walsh 54.37, 184 Helen Metcalfe 54.49.