Organisers of the Salisbury 54321 Trail races easily surpassed their target of 1,000 finishers in the four running events that each enjoyed staggered starts from Salisbury Fire Station on Sunday (11 August). Numbers were evenly distributed among the 21K, 33K, 42K and 50K ultra-marathon events in pleasant running conditions.
Among the 237 finishers in the cornerstone marathon race was Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who finished 54th (4:44:52) in a remarkable turn round for his health after being a casualty of the nerve agent poisoning attack that shocked the city and the nation last year. DS Bailey was raising funds for the Salisbury District Hospital Stars Appeal, following the superb treatment he received. He has already surpassed his fundraising target of £15,000 but you can still donate via his Just Giving page here
The marathon winners were Scott Parfitt (Lytchett Manor Striders, 3:16:45) and Sandra Helk (Vegan Runners, 4:02:04) as the top 16 went inside four hours. David Goodman (Gade Valley Harriers) was just one second outside five hours in 81st position.
The half marathon was a popular choice with 306 finishers led by 2019 Hampshire Hoppit Marathon runner-up Tristan Cooper (Yeovil, 1:22:05) – a new course record – and City of Salisbury's Kathy Dudman (1:46:10). Sub-two hours got you into the top 50 in this one.
Many runners prefer to go longer these days and Salisbury has two other options. The 33K staging post between half and full marathon distances saw 186 finishers, with victories for Rob Drag (Salisbury, 2:27:30) and Amber Philp (2:41:09).
Meanwhile, the hardcore ultra-marathon runners took on the 50K challenge with some very impressive results. Peter Windross is a regular 100-mile competitor but he showed unprecedented speed to whip through a sub-three-hour marathon en route to 3:33:27!
Gold medal winning Ironman triathlete Tracy Cook (Dorset Doddlers, 4:01:09) had won Yeovil Marathon in 2016 (3:12:17) and finished strongly here for a significant ultra-marathon debut.