The weather gods smiled on the record 863 finishers in the seventh Chew Valley 10K on Sunday (9 June). Debbie Fortune Estate Agents returned as race sponsors and there was a home grown race winner for the first time.
Torrential rain and strong winds had threatened the West Country but the sun shone on the righteous at Race HQ at Bishop Sutton Football Club. David Eagon (Bristol and West AC, 33:53) became the first winner from host village, Bishop Sutton, stepping up from second last year.
Eagon's course knowledge – he has only missed one of the previous races – must have helped as he prised a precious 13 seconds margin over Dan Mapp (Bideford AAC, 34:06) with Matthew Rees (Swansea Harriers, 34:58) a couple of hundred metres behind in third. Mark Heard (M50 Launceston RR, 38:32) was the leading master athlete in sixth overall.
Victoria Ratcliffe (W40 Somer AC, 40:04) was twelfth overall, just missing the 40-minute threshold to win the women's race from under-17 prospect Rosie Hamilton-James (Westbury Harriers, 40:31) and Catherine Treble (W35 Westbury Harriers, 40:36).
There were 500 runners home inside the hour on the scenic course, which includes a monster climb of around 100m of ascent at halfway and a helter skelter descent into the finish.
The neon 1km fun run was as colourful and competitive as anticipated, with over 200 children taking part. Started by Bristol Bears’ rugby player Joe Batley, the children showed plenty of determination and competitive spirit, epitomised by 7-year-old twins Nathan and Jasmine (who Nathan pushed round in her wheelchair).
Race director Denise Mellersh said: “Congratulations to all our runners who took part this year. Every year we are inspired by the drive and determination of our runners, many of whom have never raced 10k before, and the goodwill and support of all the locals and volunteers that make this community fundraising race possible.”
This year's charity beneficiaries included Blood Bikes NICU Support, Bishop Sutton Primary School Society and Chew Valley School Society. Participants received a technical T-shirt, bespoke event medal and free photo download.