Defying the Elements: The Nightmare Xmas 6 miles!

All praise to the indomitable spirits, competitors, officials and supporters, who did Dick Maxwell proud by turning up at Simister on Saturday for the club’s Xmas 10 kilometres. Nightmarish conditions even though we didn’t use the infamous Nightmare course! Saying I would have loved to be there rings rather hollow!

Post-Race 1 – thankfully back in the warm

As ever Dave Evans reports:

The journey to Simister for this memorial race was about the worst we can remember. It lashed down and several competitors faced delays with accidents on the motorway caused by heavy rainfall and high winds.  A pre-race check by one of our marshalls indicated that our usual out and back course would have to be shortened by about 300 metres unless our walkers were happy to walk that distance in calf-high water.

Do we really want to?

Despite the heavy drizzle and cool breeze, the field of seven set off into the maelstrom while the officials ran for cover. It was just over half an hour later when the leading walkers came into view clocking reputable times in the conditions. A number had indicated that their day’s activity would be limited to half of the full race and it was no surprise to see Glyn Jones heading the field in fine style despite a niggling knee problem. Glyn and Pat Evans chose the shortened course recording times of 32 minutes 24 and 35 mins 13 respectively.

Glyn finishing strongest over 5k

The remaining weather hardened individuals stood to their task with gusto(strong wind in Italian !)and actually walked as well if not better in the second part of their challenge. Defying his years, Ian Hilditch claimed the fastest gross time of the day with a very strong 65 mins 29 with new club president Joe Hardy claiming second spot in an excellent 68 mins 47.

Ian – fastest on the day

Phil McCullagh straddles both running and walking and achieved an admirable 69 mins 44 walking both halves in the same time. Stephen Wilde, another duathlon performer, runner and walker, added another race to his portfolio with a steady 73 mins 12 and club secretary Roy Gunnett, recovering from some medical treatment on his shoulder and arm, walked with his usual aplomb and great style.

Phil, oblivious to the elements

Roy looking relaxed

Greg Smith, a more regular Marshall these days, did a virtual solo out and back and recorded a sound 33 mins 53, the second-fastest time on the short course.

Great to see Greg back on the road
Pat dashing back to warm the pies

Thanks to Sailash Shah, Irene Pike, Louise Waite and Martin Payne for helping with the officiating and Pat Evans for the catering which rounded off a good day despite the abysmal weather.

Post-race 2 featuring Greg – taken by Louise?

Thanks to Martin Payne and Greg Smith for the photos.


It’s no wonder familiar faces were missing on the day but a special mention for Tony Bell, who spent Thursday night in the Sheffield Hospital A & E with his sick wife. We hope she is on the mend. Not to forget Stephen Walker, whose step-son, Michael is featured on BBC Saturday Kitchen Live, then has been chosen to do a film shot on Monday in London. Congratulations in order.

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