One of the traditional New Year pipe openers previously enjoyed by runABC South reporter Alan Newman is the Tadworth 10 and our correspondent was pleased to find the race is still going strong after 36 years.
An increased entry limit of 800 runners was again reached for the 36th annual race yesterday (Sunday 6 January) which has only ever been postponed once since the inaugural event on 1 January 1983. Extreme weather in 1997 forced a one week delay, when it was run with a reduced field.
Race director Steve Burke described this year's conditions as: “Perfect for racing with clear skies and good to firm going underfoot.” Tadworth 10 is the only official race to be allowed on the Epsom Downs racecourse itself. The course is around 50/50 on roads and tracks.
The unique start and finish is on the racecourse at the two furlong point and Race HQ is the rather grand Duchess Stand. The first corner is the famous Tattenham Corner and this leads onto a two lap circuit over Walton Downs and through the historic North Downs village of Walton-on-the-Hill.
This year's winner was local parkrunner Andrew McCaskill (56:41) – second last year – who dragged four more men under the hour: Ben Howard (Epsom & Ewell, 57:28); Robert Drake (South London Harriers, 57:50); defending champion Martin Rutter (Clapham Chasers, 59:31) and Bryn Reynolds (Herne Hill Harriers, 59:54).
Lucie Custance (Clapham Chasers, 1:03:04) headed the fillies race and there was no need for a photo finish as Sarah Astin (City of Norwich, 1:04:34) and Lisa Rooney (Collingwood, 1:07:15) claimed podium finishes. Rooney reprised her 2018 third place but was three minutes faster on this occasion.
Clapham Chasers won the men's team and South London Harriers women were supreme. This year there were 690 finishers in 2:29:21.
Runner friendly extras at Tadworth include no cut off time and an official tail running marshal, plus free massage, free parking and a free pint of ale at The Chequers, Walton-on-the-Hill on production of a race number. The race also has a charitable side and last year's beneficiaries were the Woodland Trust and Sunnybank Trust, who each received £3000.