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Grantham Running Club race at the Thoresby estate in Nottinghamshire

Grantham Running Club travelled to the Thoresby estate in Nottinghamshire for the final SBR Longhorn running event over a multi terrain courses of tracks, tarmac and woodland.

Runners started and finished in front of the gothic Thoresby Hall, formerly a private home built in the 17th century for the 3rd Earl of Manvers but more recently a luxury hotel.

Grantham had 15 members participating this year, with 10 in the 10k event, four in the half marathon and one in the 5K.

Grantham Running Club members. Photo: Mick Hall
Grantham Running Club members. Photo: Mick Hall

It cannot be overstated how horrific the weather was that morning, with chilly temperatures and torrential rain and wind, causing most runners to hide out in their cars in the boggy parking field until they were forced to get out and face the music.

The Canicross competitors more closely resembled water skiers and the casualty rate echoed the Grand National with fallers and busted limbs all over the place.

The GRC-ers, who had been hopeful of a lovely trail run with a nice ice cream afterwards when they entered, initially took off on tarmac which then transferred over to woodland trails which were either underwater or resembled melted chocolate.

Julia Hallam. Photo: Mick Hall
Julia Hallam. Photo: Mick Hall

The 10K (which was closer to 10.5K) runners were the first to merrily trundle off for a spot of trench warfare.

Daniel Wallace was first to return from the front in a time of 53:41, impressively improving on his time the previous year despite the rotten conditions and third in his age category.

Next to return from the trenches was a bespattered Tommy Napier, who enjoyed slumming it at a shorter distance having recently concentrated on half marathons.

Clare Mitchell. Photo: Mick Hall
Clare Mitchell. Photo: Mick Hall

He was happy to grind out a time of 56:23 on a 'proper' course and stay upright. Coming third in his category was the icing on the cake and he went home smiling.

Next back was Robert Pask who dealt with the trauma by pretending he was enjoying a spa day.

He spent 55:53 wallowing in the mud bath to net fourth in his category and pretended to enjoy the tough conditions.

Simon and Judi Allsopp. Photo: Mick Hall
Simon and Judi Allsopp. Photo: Mick Hall

A somewhat soggy and soiled Sylv Hull returned in 59:59, not exactly setting the world alight but she enjoyed the post-race debrief in McDonalds afterwards.

Briarny Hayes rose to the challenge of the mud and huge puddles and knocked out a 10K personal best of 1:06:17.

Catherine Wallace followed in 1:08:05, happy to survive unscathed and 10th in her category.

Dan Wallace. Photo: Mick Hall
Dan Wallace. Photo: Mick Hall

Clare Mitchell was next in 1:08:20, looking remarkably happy in her photos as she made light work of the swampy conditions.

Jennifer Compton had an absolute whale of a time, enjoying the run and finishing smiling in a time of 1:11:53.

Not long after was Tracey Gell who mistook the event for a Tough Mudder and took a dive in the slop. Being a hardcore trail warrior, she finished smiling in 1:15:33 and ninth in her category.

Jack Heathershaw, Photo: Mick Hall
Jack Heathershaw, Photo: Mick Hall

Julia Hallam rounded off the GRC 10K-ers in a time of 1:20:51. Her main comment was that she will be pleased to return to road races.

In the half marathon were four gluttons for punishment.

Jack Heathershaw decided to go big or go home. Not only his first outing in the GRC vest, but it was also his first ever half marathon and he couldn’t have picked a worse introduction.

He returned absolutely caked in the brown stuff in what was actually a fantastic time of 1:40:12 and seventh overall.

Ross Warden was next in 2:14:06, gradually shedding clothes on each lap.

Husband and wife team Judi and Simon Allsopp ran the race together, crossing the line together in 2:47:55 and 2:47:57 respectively.

Wayne Baxter was the sole GRC entrant in the 5K as he works his way back to fitness.

He enjoyed the two lap route and splashing around in the floods. He was very happy to be back out in the green and black with club-mates and enjoyed the atmosphere to finish in 34:09 and third in his category.

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