Buxton runner conquers world-famous race in South Africa

Andy Lidstone tackling the famous Comrades Marathon in South Africa.
Andy Lidstone tackling the famous Comrades Marathon in South Africa.
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Devoted runner Andy Lidstone took part in one of the worlds most famous ultra-marathons to mark the 40th anniversary of Buxton Athletics Club.

Lidstone travelled all the way to South Africa for the 92nd renewal of the Comrades Marathon over 87 kilometres (54 miles), which is the largest and oldest race of its kind on the planet.

Established in 1921, the event attracted more than 17,000 runners from about 60 different countries, all keen to embrace its spirit, which embodies the attributes of cameraderie, dedication, selflessness and perseverance.

Lidstone flew the Buxton flag with distinction because he finished a highly respectable 3,104th in a time of eight hours, 26 minutes, 33 seconds, earning himself a bronze medal. He said: “The experience was incredible, and the South African support was phenomenal. I haven’t ruled out a return to the race next year.”

The club’s anniversary was celebrated in a more orthodox fashion on Saturday evening when more than 140 past and present members attended a special do.

The previous evening saw the first fell race in this year’s main club championship. Contested in Castleton, it was won by Alasdair Campbell in a repeat of his outstanding performance in 2016. Campbell clocked 32.31 minutes to finish in front of Bryan McKenna, who was the second Buxton runner home and eighth overall in 47.06. There were also prizes for Rob White (third male veteran over-40) and Nigel Jeff (first male veteran over 50).

Four Buxton ladies took part, with Amy Clark first to finish in 57.25, followed by Jo Bednall in 62.15, Tania Wilson and Heather Fryer-Winder. Bednall’s performance landed her the prize for first female veteran over-50.

On Saturday morning, 55 hardy souls braved torrential rain to run the Pavilion Gardens 5K. The dominant winner of the race was Alasdair Campbell in 16.42 minutes, which was more than two minutes ahead of the runner-up, John Broom, of Penistone, in 19.01.

In her third race in four days, Amy Clark took the women’s prize in a new personal-best (PB) time for the course of 20.13. She was placed fifth overall and finished a huge margin of nearly three minutes in front of the second female, Dawn Broom, of Penistone, who clocked 23.06.

Despite the atrocious conditions, six Buxton ladies completed the course in fantastic new PB times. They were Catherine Moore, Alison Hitchen, Mandy Bromley, Teresa MacMillan, Gemma Clark and Charlie Narejko. Clark’s time of 29.34 was particularly notable because it slashed a staggering ten minutes off her previous best.