The capacity entry of 1,000 runners in the 36th Burnham Beeches Half Marathon and 10k on Sunday (13 August) had plenty of reasons to be grateful for the shade of the ancient woodland on the course as temperatures soared well north of 20C. Apparently impervious to the heat was Paul Gaimster (Victoria Park Harriers), who stretched away to victory in the longer race.
Burnham Beeches is a 375 hectare nature reserve and woodland rich in wildlife, situated west of Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. Amongst the most active and easily spotted wildlife here are Burnham Joggers, whose plumage is somewhere between fluorescent yellow and acid green. The Joggers are sociable animals and enjoy promoting some of the best races around to attract visitors from far and wide.
Top three men in the half marathon were Paul Gaimster (VPH, 1:16:47), Josh Slingsby (London City AC, 1:18:29) and flying Scot, Stuart Macdougall (Fulham RC, 1:18:33). The experienced and talented women's leaders were Catherine Ferguson (W50 Serpentine RC, 1:32:41), Kate Kelland (W40, 1:34:24) and Lynda Hembury (W60 Tring RC, 1:36:25).
Dineke Austin (W60 Ealing Eagles, 1:57:39) marked halfway in the field of 579 finishers.
The 10k option was taken by a further 405 recipients of the handsome finishers medal on offer. Lewis Jones (Dacorum & Tring, 36:12) led the way through the shadows with Chiltern Harriers' Mark Bruce (M40, 36:28) and David Thomas (38:17) in hot pursuit.
Clare Williams (Handy Cross Runners, 45:59), Anna Richmond (Reading RR, 46:23) and Tracey Cotton (Gade Valley Harriers, 46:56) comprised the women's podium after a hard fought race.
Almost 60 athletes ducked under the 50-minute barrier and Grace and Sarah Edwards completed the field together in 1:37:56.
Full results and race information available at runABC South race listings.
Image courtesy Yvette Buckingham