May the 4th be with you

Church Stretton, Shropshire

This event is run by ‘How hard can it be events’, a Shropshire-based running events company. The event consists of a 13.5 mile course, with 2,400 ft of ascent in the beautiful South Shropshire Hills. 183 runners signed up for the Half Marathon and 50 for the Full Marathon (which is two circuits of the course).

BTR Road Runners were well represented, with twelve trail enthusiasts completing the half. Amongst them, the Hunt family were out in force too. And the force was certainly with them! Dawn Hunt (who is in a league of her own) completed the full marathon, which was promptly followed by a second marathon on the next day (appropriately named ‘The Revenge of the Fifth’). Ollie completed 19 miles on day 1 and smashed the half on day 2, while Martin completed the full marathon on 5 May too. A huge well done to the Hunts from all at BTR Road Runners!

The Hunts after another epic achievement!

For the rest of us mere mortals, it was an early start, meeting at Dave Ward’s house just after 7am. Dave had registered but after his magnificent London Marathon achievement the previous weekend, wisely decided to rest. Nonetheless he came out to greet us, along with an enthusiastic Oscar who was off for a walk.

Two cars (thanks, Roy and Sandra) and two hours later, we parked up at the school in Church Stretton – the windy roads had taken their toll on Sarah and she was promptly sick. Not the best start for a race or for the poor caretaker! It was a 10 min walk to register at Carding Mill Valley at the foot of the Long Mynd – a National Trust location. After the obligatory toilet stop (real loos with loo paper and sinks!), it was back to the cars to kit up. Don’t be deceived by the sunshine on the photos – it was bloody freezing! [Editor: Language!] At about just two degrees, most of us wore quite a few layers, with some opting for hats and gloves too.

Yes, it is flippin’ cold!

Back to the start, armed with our disposal cups (this was an eco-friendly race!), we got there just as the race was starting. Poor Sarah and Audrey were literally the last to start as they had to pay a last-minute visit to the bushes (can’t think why)!

With John and Roy leading the BTR field, we set off mostly together – but it wasn’t long before we all found our pace and natural running partners. Carding Mill valley is an absolutely stunning location for the race – it was a steady climb up the first mile through to Townbrook Valley – mostly single track so you had to go at the pace set by the rest of the field.

At the first pit stop (2.5 miles) we were greeted with the best assortment of goodies – real food for athletes: a variety of sweets, frazzles, onion rings, tomatoes (didn’t touch them!) but best of all Jaffa Cakes. Sandra and I enjoyed re-enacting the ‘Whole Moon, Half Moon, Total Eclipse’ advert several times! With John and Roy already well ahead, it was at this point that Jane caught up with Dave Berry. Ian and Lyndsay broke away and ran together, leaving Sarah, Sandra, Audrey, James and me to bring up the rear at a more leisurely pace.

Stop clowning about with jaffa cakes and get back to the running!

We shared the landscape with various families out enjoying walking, a few DofE groups and a couple of mountain bikers. The many new-born lambs were a reminder that it was still Spring, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been too disappointed by the temperature. But despite the cold and sometimes biting wind, the sun did shine, enabling us to enjoy clear and far reaching views across the Shropshire hills.

The route was well marked and covered a variety of terrain – grassy slopes, footpaths, rocky sections though streams, country roads through farms, passing through the village of Minton, a campsite (Sarah insisting that we come back to camp – NOT!) and even a glider school on top of the Mynd. Eventually, the route brought us back to the first trig point, where we refuelled on Jaffa cakes, before we were tortured by a last cheeky little ascent, trying not to look at the downward path we’d climbed at the start.

Team BTR Road Runners conquer the Long Mynd!

This last stage was followed by a very steep descent to the finish line. We were rewarded with a decent Star Wars medal but no t-shirt.

Wrapped up warm, team BTR enjoyed a shared picnic, with a special mention to Jane (and her hens!) for the egg butties and to Ian and Alison for the delicious home-made bakewell tart. We were back on home turf for 5pm, before a fast turnaround for many who were off to see the Rocky Horror Show at the Liverpool Empire. But that’s a whole other story…!


May the 4th be with you Half Marathon

  1. John Evans – position 48, 2:37:35.2
  2. Roy Morris – position 49, 2:37:39.0
  3. Jane Dasgupta – position 75, 2:56:23.0
  4. Dave Berry – position 76, 2:56:29.9
  5. Lyndsay Beal – position 109, 3:13:23.3
  6. Ian Bodey – position 110, 3:13:28.4
  7. Fiona Duckers – position 132, 3:29:05.9
  8. Sandra Freeman – position 133, 3:29:11.0
  9. Audrey Stocker – position 134, 3:29:13.2
  10. Sarah Rogan – position 135 , 3:29:22.7
  11. James Roberts – position 136, 3:29:24.9

May the 4th be with you Full Marathon

  1. Dawn Hunt – position 24, 6:34:48.1
  2. Ollie Hunt – 19 miles, 5:05:49.1

Revenge of the Fifth Race Results

  1. Martin Hunt – position 19 , 6:42:34.9
  2. Dawn Hunt – position 20, 6:52:45.8
  3. Ollie Hunt (half) – position 45, 2:52:33.2

By Fiona Duckers