RUNNING: Marathon distances and more in town’s first Big Bear Challenge

Bryn Jones ran 39.6 miles
Bryn Jones ran 39.6 miles

Six-hour event sees 50 entrants take on laps of Great Central Way

Pictures by Laura McCrystal

Olivia Stacey, Fran Thorne and Helen Littlebury

Olivia Stacey, Fran Thorne and Helen Littlebury

Rugby played host to its first ever Challenge running event on Wednesday with the Rugby Challenge by local event organiser Big Bear Events. Some 50 entrants ran out and back laps of the Great Central Way during the six-hour event taking part in the town’s first marathon and ultramarathon event.

Bryn Jones covered the greatest distance completing 39.6 miles over 12 laps in a time of 6:07:14. Alison Autherson was the top ranking lady with 29.7 miles (9 laps) completed in 5:50:26. There were three others who completed ultra-marathons on the warm, bright day. With conditions much more suited to spectating than running the 24 marathon runners did well to complete the distance on the recently resurfaced Great Central Way.

Many runners were using the event as training for other events, be it Ironman Hamburg, the Transalpine Race or a 24hr track race. The format allows people to run for as long as they like completing varying distances but with great support and encouragement from the Big Bear Events team.

Despite the majority of the course being flat the real punch was going up the ‘zig-zags’ at Ashlawn Road on each lap. It was easy to spot runners on their last lap as this was generally the only time they ran the last parts of those zig-zags!

Derek Birch

Derek Birch

The runners were treated to the normal hospitality expected from Big Bear Events with an aid station filled with everything you’d want if you were running for six hours and more. All finishers were then rewarded with a unique medal, a Big Bear Beer and flapjack from Rugby Real Bread. The Rugby Challenge will be back and bigger in 2019. Visit www.bigbearevents.net for entry information and more.

Kait Sheridan

Kait Sheridan