Dan Ashcroft Reports:
The 2023 Belvoir Challenge took place on Saturday 4th March on a dry and chilly morning, perfect for running.
Each year this race starts and finishes in the small upmarket village of Harby and takes runners around the Vale of Belvoir, although the route is always tweaked. This year, the organisers were getting excited by the thoughts of another bogfest and various Facebook posts in December indicated that it would be a quagmire. However, due to a dry January (weather, not booze) and February, the course was generally good to soft and pleasant for a 26 or 15 mile run, depending upon which option you had selected.
This year Matlock Athletic Club was under-represented, probably due to the hike in entry fee. Although £40 does get you a park and ride shuttle service, coffee before the start, endless cake, fruit, pork pies, stilton and jelly babies at each of the four checkpoints. Then at the end, you are treated to soup, a roll, puddings and custard and the EU’s crisp mountain.
Finishing for MAC in the 26 mile event were Dan Ashcroft in 4:02:14 (30th), Jack Cummins in 4:38:11 (59th) and Kathryn “I’ve not run for 2 months, but need to train for a Marathon, so I’ll run one” Berrisford in 5:46:09 (137th). The winner was Matt Smith, who must have used the Tardis as he finished in 2:47:40 and first lady was Jenny Laing in 3:28:48. There were 165 runners in the 26 mile race. In the 15 mile race Lizzie Webster finished in a time of 2:32:04 (66th out of 485).