Brave Gainsborough Strider conquers gruelling 50-mile ultra-marathon

STAMINA TO BURN -- Strider Jane Benson, who has tackled races over 100 miles and 50 miles inside a month.
STAMINA TO BURN -- Strider Jane Benson, who has tackled races over 100 miles and 50 miles inside a month.

We’ve all heard of, or maybe even tackled, half-marathons. While full marathons over 26 miles are popular all over the world. But what about ultra-marathons, spanning fully 50 miles or more?

Just ask Jane Benson, of Gainsborough and Morton Striders, about those because she has just completed a gruelling ultra-marathon around the Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs in Derbyshire.

The Ladybower 50 covered just over 50 miles and was a demanding test of stamina and resilience. It took Benson more than ten hours to complete, and yet she recorded a personal-best (PB) time to finish a very creditable 37th of the 89 starters. She was even as high as fifth in the ladies’ category.

Mind you, such a mammoth distance was nothing for Benson. For just three weeks earlier, she ran in a 100-mile event along the River Thames. She felt she might have been feeling the after-effects of that in the Ladybower event, so when she returns to Derbyshire next year, it will be interesting to see what she can achieve after proper rest and preparation.

The only other Strider to don their running shoes in anger over the past two weeks -- as most wait for next month’s busy schedule -- has been Will Lansdall, who competed in the Crossdale Trail 10k race over the South Nottinghamshire Wolds. Lansdall continued his excellent form of late by finishing in a time of 37.40 minutes, which knocked almost half a minute off his PB, and by coming home third of the 128 competitors.

In the Saturday morning Parkruns, Striders posted four PB performances. Ian Haldenby (28.59), Dyllan Marsh (30.43) and Abbie Wood (32.41) achieved theirs at Gainsborough, while Chris Inman ran 22.03 at Lincoln.

Mat Huteson is now the outright leader in the table of first-place finishers at Gainsborough. His latest time of 19.32 meant he has won on no fewer than 22 occasions.

The club’s regular weekly training sessions are continuing. Juniors meet at 5.30 pm at the Gainsborough Academy on Tuesdays, with the Thursday senior session starting at 6.30 pm from Queen Elizabeth High School. The next Tuesday evening senior session will begin from DW Sports in Marshalls Yard at 7.15 pm.

ALMOST £600 was raised for charity when Striders held a quiz evening. A total of 17 teams exercised their brains, rather than their legs, to boost worthy causes.