The 36th running of the Lomas Distribution Buxton Half Marathon took place in cool and slightly drizzly conditions on Sunday.
A field of 345 intrepid runners took on the hilly 13.1-mile route through the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, reputed to be the second hardest road half marathon in the UK.
The winner of the men’s race this year was Chris Oddy from Serpentine Running Club in London, in a time of 1:15.29.
Oddy led from the gun and came home nearly five minutes ahead of the second placed athlete, Phil Skelton of Steel City Striders in 1:20.17.
Gareth Cooke of Penistone Footpath Runners claimed third place in 1:20.49.
The first Buxton AC runner home was Jason Brunnock, who was fifth overall in 1:22.53. Brunnock’s performance was all the more impressive as he also raced in the Weets English Fell Championships race in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday.
He said: “it was a very last minute decision to run it as well, but I’m glad I did.”
Brunnock, together with Jason Bennett, Jon Sewell and James Talbot took the men’s team prize.
Dianne McVey of Wilmslow Running Club won the ladies’ race in 1:27.13.
Mirroring the men’s race, McVey was also well clear of the second placed lady, her Wilmslow club mate Sharon Johnstone, who finished in 1:32.40.
Together the team of McVey, Johnstone and Gail Hill took the ladies’ team prize.
Amy Clark was Buxton’s first female finisher in fifth place overall. Her time of 1:36.25 was a half marathon personal best by over four minutes and she also slashed over 13 minutes from her time in 2015’s race; an excellent performance on such a demanding course.
Other notable performances from Buxton AC athletes including 17-year-old Louis Forshaw-Perring finishing second Junior in his first ever half marathon in 1:38.29, Richard Goff shaving over six minutes off his previous course best to finish in 1:43.18 and Kate Phillips taking almost 10 minutes off her time from 2016 to finish in 1:54.31.
Race Director Richard Bouglas said: “All at Buxton AC would like to express their thanks to Lomas Distribution for their continued sponsorship, which provides invaluable support towards putting on the race and also to Nestle for providing the water. “Many thanks also go to Buxton Mountain Rescue for marshalling; Nick Allen Physiotherapy for providing post race treatments; Buxton Raceway for providing the pace vehicle, Bryan Dale & Frank Golden for the photography and Tony Hulme for providing spot prizes for the juniors.”
The route took the runners from the start outside the iconic Buxton Opera House, straight up the first of several testing climbs to the top of Axe Edge.
From there, the route undulated as they passed Buxton Raceway and then dropped steeply down through Dowel Dale to the seven-mile mark at Glutton Bridge.
The second long climb really tested the runner’s stamina as it headed up past Earl Sterndale, before dropping down to Brielow Bar and then back towards Buxton.
A couple of sharp ‘sting in the tail’ climbs, first into Harpur Hill, then past the Cottage Hospital brought the field back into Buxton as they wound their way through the leafy back streets, before a final dash along Broadwalk to the finish on the Promenade.