Hundreds ready to brave The Belvoir Challenge this weekend

Belvoir Challenge 2017 - through muddy fields on the way to Plungar EMN-180220-171837001
Belvoir Challenge 2017 - through muddy fields on the way to Plungar EMN-180220-171837001
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It is likely to be very muddy, cold and wet on Saturday morning but hundreds of competitors will still have a great time splashing their way around the undulating countryside in this year’s edition of The Belvoir Challenge.

The event, which has been running more than a quarter of a century, attracts participants from far and wide as well as the Melton borough.

It remains a valuable fundraiser for Harby Primary School, with contestants starting and finishing from the nearby village hall, whether they are completing the 16 mile or the 26 mile routes.

Organised by the Friends of Harby School, preparations started way back in September for an event which is a huge logistical challenge for a school with only 86 pupils on the roll.

The children play their part and they have spent the last week slavishly baking cakes, which will be served to competitors at welcome refreshment stations dotted along the course, and designing certificates for the finishers.

Head teacher Bridget Bye said: “It is a really big community event and the children are very passionate about it.

“One of the children has written a motivational speech which she will read out to the competitors at the start.

“It’s lovely that the mums and dad, the brothers and sisters and even the grandparents get involved in the day.”

Around 1,300 walkers and runners will take part this year with an army of volunteers helping to man the car parks and marshal along the route.

The field will pass along footpaths, byways, tracks and minor roads throughout the Vale of Belvoir, and with the permission of the Duke of Rutland, on land through the Belvoir Estate

For the first time this year, there will be a move towards using more environmentally-friendly cups, spoons, plates, bowls and dish cloths.

It has not been decided how the proceeds will be spent this time but in the past the money raised has helped subsidise school trips, buy tablet computers, pay for singing lessons and contribute to a new outdoor area.

Mrs Bye said: “The money raised does have an enormous impact on the school.

“Everyone enjoys the day, albeit they might be cold and wet by the end of it.

“As long as it stay fine for the rest of the week the course should not be too muddy and we are all looking forward to another great day.”

The field sets off on The Belvoir Challenge at 9am from Harby village hall.