A capacity field of 400 runners was headed home by Oliver Burrows and Hannah Taunton (both pictured) in the annual Stoke Stampede in Somerset on Sunday (8 January). Weather conditions were conducive to good times and both winners improved their previous bests by more than 80 seconds on this undulating course, based on the quiet lanes around Stoke St Gregory village.
Oliver Burrows (Running Forever, 35:42) dug deep to improve from seventh last year for victory this time around. He was followed through the finish line outside the sponsors Rose and Crown pub by M45 Stephen Goss (Bristol, 36:18) and M50 Keith Paul (Taunton, 36:36).
Prolific racer, Hannah Taunton (Taunton, 36:36), whose identical surname and club affiliation can cause a few headaches to race directors, was only just edged out of third place overall by her determined club mate. Kim Hill (W35 Taunton, 39:03) and Alexandra Cutts (W35 South West Runners, 39:37) completed the women's podium.
Also inside 40-minutes for 10k was M60 super-vet Martin Lascelles (Maiden Newton, 39:31) and the fourth lady Kate Drew (Taunton, 39:58) with a big PB by almost three minutes.
The rural, figure-eight course takes runners through the village centre and across Mare Green before a climb back to the village square for a warm welcome at the pub. Despite the testing nature of parts of the route, half the field finished inside 55 minutes and the final runner was cheered home in 87:55.
The event was started in 2009 and is organised by a team of dedicated volunteers to raise funds for the upkeep of the village playing field and war memorial.
Full details at the event website here.