The North Downs Run in a nutshell – Unique, Iconic, Tough, Brutal, Scenic, Hilly, Challenging and Uplifting!
This year, heavy rain overnight and unusually high rainfall throughout June made conditions underfoot muddy and slippery and about as tricky as it could ever be for a race in the middle of summer. The only saving grace was pleasant – but not too warm – weather on the day.
Just six Ely Runner diehards (fewer than normal), made it to the start. Kieren Drane and Ross Payne kept up a running battle in the top 20 throughout the race, but Kieren pulled away in the later stages, just beating the first lady to 12th place, which was 2 places better than his first attempt in 2010.
Ross, experiencing the event for the first time, had an excellent race to finish 16th and was probably one of the youngest running, although certainly not the youngest, as the overall winner was (surprisingly) a junior man.
Stephen Howard, a North Downs regular, did well to finish in the top 50 and 5th M50 – but will be disappointed that two of them were less than 45 seconds in front of him!
Matthew Mason was already injured before the race and after a good start, it got a lot worse, so he had to settle for getting round without further damage.
John Turner rather likes this race and has competed almost every year for longer than anyone can remember. It was therefore fitting that he drew on his experience to win the BMAF Gold Medal for the M70 age group.
The other ER senior citizen, Peter Harris, just managed to sneak past another tiring M65 at 29K to bag the BMAF M65 Bronze Medal.
All in all, it was a good day for Ely Runners – several other runners expressed surprise that flat fen runners were actually there at all…
There were 538 finishers (including 5 over 5 hours)
1st – Alex Money – 1:59:40 (Orpington RR),
12th – Kieren Drane – 2:18:33,
13th – Amy Clements – 2:18:33(Kent AC, 1st Lady),
16th – Ross Payne – 2:20:30,
48th – Stephen Howard – 2:32:49,
208th – Peter Harris – 3:05:02 (BMAF M65 Bronze Medal),
306th – Matthew Mason – 3:23:16,
390th – John Turner – 3:42:02 (BMAF M70 Gold Medal)