Broadway 'off-road Marathons'

The first 2017/18 big winter running challenge took place in the North Cotswold village of Broadway. The events were filled to capacity many months ago – so long ago that some of the Tewkesbury runners couldn’t remember whether they had entered the half-marathon or the marathon? And so long ago that those who had entered the marathon, much preferred to do the half distance and vice versa!

Now an established occasion, these Broadway runs are not for the faint-hearted. Although saying that, they are not as tough-going as first believed – well, not compared to clambering the Tibetan Plateau with a Yak strapped to one’s shoulders. The autumn weather had changed to winter just in time and a rain-filled Saturday made way for a truly glorious sunny Sunday with beautiful blue heavens.

The 26.8 mile marathon event started first and for Tewkesbury it featured veteran Cotswold off-road runners, Angie Sadler and Nigel Tillott.

Angie ran strongly and within herself to return in after 4 hrs 32 minutes. She was one place behind the 2016 female winner from Pershore but the quality of the overall field left her in 6th female position and 35th overall. Nigel was the first in overall for Tewkesbury in 13th place after 4:10 hrs.

Nigel ran strong too but had some issues during the last 20 minutes – he fell in a particularly testing wood section near Buckland and found his legs in the air and both in spasms! Nigel is not known for exaggerating so one can imagine an incredible scene.

Always good to attempt your first marathon on a relatively easy course so Mark Parker did the opposite and started the figure of 8 Broadway event. Conditions underfoot could not have been more atrocious. Huge kudos for Mark, he completed the course in 18th place after a testing 4:13 hrs – he looked a shadow of his former self, completely drained. He said in the days after the race that he had “never experienced pain for so long during a run”. Incredible achievement.

In total contrast, Stuart Dudfield followed a minute later unruffled! It looked like he had just walked back from the beach – hardly broken sweat, an incredible sight. Stuart worked well with Mark and his top 20 placing is excellent considering he has been held back with niggles during the summer.

Cathy Dudfield powered back to Broadway in 4:52 hrs, just 20 minutes behind Angie. Cathy had hoped for sub5 and was overjoyed to have an eight minute cushion.