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It's a grueller...but hardy athletes make Rowbotham's Race a day to remember
(and below, including some of the headline)
Report by ALAN COUPEIT has become one of the top ultra distance events in the UK - and Saturday's 31st staging of the Rowbotham's Round Rotherham Run underlined its growing stature.
Altogether, 236 individual runners and 17 relay teams completed the 50 miles, loosely following the boundary of Rotherham. Starting and finishing at Dearne Valley College, the route .passed through Wath, Thorpe Hesley, Kimberworth, Treeton, Harthill, Woodsetts, Maltby and Old Denaby on an undulating course with over 800m of climb.
This year's event was made a qualifying race for the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc, the Courmayeur-Chamonix and the Traces du Dues de Savoie International Series and the race was made even more testing with overnight rain making the trail through the woods and fields very slippery in parts.
The individual race was won in a time of 6:52.14 by Kevin Hoult (Stadium runners, Huddersfield). Kevin Doyle (Kimberworth Striders 7:03.49) was second man home and Fraser Hirst (Unattached, 7:17.13) was third.
Nils Hofmann (7:41:09) was first Rotherham Harrier, finishing in 11th place overall for the second year running.
First lady home was Karen Nash (Fell Runners Asociation 8:21.49) with Joanne Bolton (Kimberworth Striders 8:45.55) second and Emma David (Nidd Valley, 9:01.03) third. The men's relay race was won by a team from Clowne Road Runners (5:22.26) with Kimmy Kingpins second (5:58.59) and Handsworth Roadhogs third (6:23.14).
The mixed relay saw Clowne Boys and Girls home first (6:07.23), Wild Hogs were second (6:31.23) and Maltby Marauders third (6:44.17).
The women's relay results were Kimmy Kittens first (7:14.50), Women In Black (RHAC) second (7:30.30) and Clowne Ladies third (8:02.16).
The team race, with the fastest three runners to count, was won by Kimberworth Striders A (Kevin Hoult, Paul Buchanan, Joanne Bolton - 24:30.15) with Portsmouth Joggers second (26:21.25) and Fell Runners Association third (26:29.09)
Some showed a remarkable commitment to' the race as Rotherham Harrier Roy Varo set a new record with his 26th completion out of the 31 times the race has been run.
Henry Marston (RHAC) and Andrew West (Doncaster) completed for the 24th time while Kerry Booth (RHAC) and Chris Sanders (Stafford) finished for the 23rd time.
The day started at 5am with 130 walkers having to check in ready to be sent off on the course at 6am. The 200 runners entered were then registered and faced the starter's gun at 7 am, with 19 relay teams of up to eight runners each being the last group off at 8 am.
The course was manned by yet more volunteers who cheerfully served up cold drinks, fruit snacks, biscuits and jam butties to the participants at seven relay points distributed around the course and a warm meal at the end. With the weather improving slowly through the day, most competitors were able to keep reasonably warm and dry but the conditions, both atmospheric and underfoot, did mean that almost 100 entrants failed to finish what is a severe test, even for seasoned runners.
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