The image above captures the tense pre-race atmosphere at one of the great traditions of the New Year period – the Tadworth 10 mile road race, still a must do race in the south of England after 38 years and several course revisions.
Despite the challenge of the tough climb at Ebbisham Lane and a none too easy multi-terrain course that is 50% off road, many competitors return year after year and help to raise funds for charities, including £1,500 each to The Sunnybank Trust and The Woodland Trust last year.
Enthusiastic club official, Steve Burke, sums up the event thus: “Absolutely loved today. Tadworth 10 race director for the third time, 800+ entries every year and nearly £20,000 raised and donated to charity. Thank you to the wonderful committee of Tadworth AC for entrusting the race to me and to every single person within our club who makes the magic happen. What an absolute privilege it has been”.
We usually start our race reports with details of the winners but we were hugely impressed by this post from Marisa Billett on Tadworth's Facebook page after the race: “Such a lovely event. Awesome marshals who are just amazing. Hill's a killer and I came last but it’s a great way to start the new year. Thank you all”. Marisa ran 2:15:18 on chip timing for 664th position.
Setting the pace on the Epsom Downs was the appropriately named Fabian Downs (Chiltern Harriers, 55:46) who was joined at sub-60 minute pace by Ben Chown (26.2 RRC, 56:20), Paul Prothero (South London Harriers, 57:38) and Ben Howard (Epsom & Ewell Harriers, 58:26).
The women's race saw four finishers under 70-minutes: Victoria Whelan (26.2 RRC, 66:44), Lisa Rooney (W40 Collingwood AC, 67:45), Kat Owens (Crawley AC, 68:50) and Sharon Walker (W40 Dorking & Mole Valley AC, 69:44). The bookies' favourite was the triathlete Rooney, who had improved from third place for the past two years.
Tadworth 10 has shown remarkable stamina itself, having been postponed just once and never cancelled since 1 January 1982. Extreme weather in 1997 forced a one week delay.
The event benefits from a spectacular start and finish on Epsom racecourse at the two furlong point and Race HQ is the Duchess Stand. The course is a two-lap circuit over Walton Downs and through the historic North Downs village of Walton-on-the-Hill. Tadworth added value features include on the day entries, an official tail running marshal, free sports massage, free parking and proper flush toilets!