Club runners complete 15-hour ultra-challenge in heatwave

NWRRC team captain and relay organiser Sarah Ferguson Hudson

Twelve hardy athletes from North Wales Road Runners set a blisteringly hot pace during a unique ultra-distance race despite the scorching conditions last Sunday in the Builth and District 15-hour relay challenge.

In this third virtual event organised by the ambitious Builth Wells based running club in Powys, where the previous competition attracted about 100 teams, and nearly 2,000 entrants, the aim was to run as far as possible within the permitted time frame, which began at 5am and continued until 8pm.

The NWRRC team eventually ran a total of 96.12 miles, with Steve Poupart running a one and half hour slot, Ben Hudson a two-hour run, and Helen Hannam completed a remarkable two and a half-hour trot from 2.30pm, at probably the hottest part of the day.

Rachel Morris also made a welcome comeback after a long spell out of action, and she is still recovering from a serious injury. Rachel completed a brilliant 4.4 miles in an hour; and it was good to note some other impressive performances from Sarah Fergie Hudson, Vicky Taylor, Kevin Higgins, Rob Fryer and Charlie Owen.

Each team member however, played a vital role in this unusual challenge, and thankfully survived the exceptional heat, with most running in one-hour slots, and each athlete recording between 4 and 14 miles during their allocated time zones.

NWRRC team skipper and relay organiser Sarah Fergie Hudson, who was first off in this all-day relay run, praised the overall team effort and said: “There were some amazing runs, and I was glad to have done my run at 5 am. We ran a total of 96.12 miles in 15 hours today. It was awesome running by everyone, especially in this crazy North Walian heatwave.”

Stuart Culverhouse

Sarah’s husband Ben ran the longest distance in his two-hour slot completing an incredible 14.18 miles.

Helen Hannam and Steve Poupart each ran 11-miles, and Stuart Culverhouse ran 8.4 miles.

After completing her run over a gruelling two and a half-hour period in soaring temperatures, Helen admitted: “I felt quite strong for the first eight-miles, but then heat exhaustion kicked in, so I had a 15-minute pit-stop in a friend’s garden, and then walked the last three. That was so tough, and I was sure glad to get that over with.”

Overall times and distances completed: 15-hour relay challenge:

Starting times: 5-6 am Sarah Fergie Hudson 7.1 miles; 6-7 am Vicky Taylor 6.1 miles; 7-8 am Gethin Wyn Jones 7.19; 8-9 am Kevin Slattery 7.66; 9-10 am Stuart Culverhouse 8.4 miles; 10-11 am Kevin Higgins 6.58 miles; 11-12 am Charlie Owen 5.43 miles; 12 noon – 1pm Rachel Morris 4.41 miles; 1-2.30 pm Steve Poupart 11.0 miles; 2.30-5pm Helen Hannam 11.0 miles; 5-7 pm Ben Hudson 14.18 miles; 7-8 pm Robert Fryer 7.07 miles.

Helen Hannam

When the provisional results were confirmed on Monday, NWRRC finished 15th overall with a total distance of 96.12 miles.

The winners were shown to be Aberystwyth Power Rangers with 122.53 miles, and in second place was Run4all Neath Black with 119.04, then third Port Talbot Harriers with 115.71.

In the previous competition, NWRRC finished 18th and recorded 112.83 miles, and although they were about 16 miles down on last time, they moved a few places up the final table.
*Overall provisional results:


Kelly and Cai beat the heat in “Secret” half-marathon

Both Kelly-Marie Alford and her partner Cai successfully completed a virtual half-marathon event last Saturday as part of a special “Secret Half” challenge.

This was an invite-only event from Cardiff half-marathon organisers HOKA One-One. The invites were offered to the top 20 non-elite finishers from the 2019 race, plus the top performers from certain age categories.

The pair, however, were unable to run together due to work commitments, so Cai ran his race from 12-noon, whilst Kelly completed her challenge in the evening after work.

Cai also had his child-minding duties to undertake, so he pushed their young son Noah on a tough course around the Great Orme, with the youngster strapped firmly into his buggy. He finished in 2 hours 46 minutes, and Kelly – without a buggy – ran home in 2.03.28.

Afterwards, a relieved Kelly said: “I am happy to have finished it, but I didn’t take a drink and decided to do it after working all day.”

Steve and Zoe ran for NHS charities

Husband and wife team Steve and Zoe Roberts also braved the extreme heat at the weekend to run and help fundraise for charity in the “Running at 40 plus, virtual 5k for the NHS.”

Steve is rapidly returning to top form and recorded an excellent 21 mins 59 seconds over his chosen 5k course.

Afterwards, he confirmed: “Took part in my first virtual this year and looking forward to finally getting back to racing.”

Zoe also celebrated a great run, and despite a lack of competitive action over the past few months, she ran around a course close to home in 30 minutes 37 seconds, and said she too enjoyed her challenge with no pressure.

Helen completed Race4Life at Stoke

Helen Hannam ran and walked with her mother and son Shane in a 5k virtual Race4Life event for Cancer charities in Stoke last week.

In very hot conditions, Helen said: “We had a well-deserved pint after completing this challenge. I was very proud of them both after walking that far in this heat.”

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