Hell on the Humber turns into heaven for super Striders

MARVELLOUS MARSLAND -- Striders' runner Phil Marsland, who celebrated his second Hell On The Humber victory.
MARVELLOUS MARSLAND -- Striders' runner Phil Marsland, who celebrated his second Hell On The Humber victory.

Jubilant runners from the Gainsborough and Morton Striders club successfully defended their title in the prestigious Hell On The Humber (HOTH) relay race last weekend.

The race is as much a mental examination as a physical one because it requires competitors to run the four miles back and forth over the Humber Bridge as many times as they are able to inside 12 or 24 hours.

But hell became heaven for Striders’ three-man team of Phil Marsland, Stu Mills and Matt Huteson because, between them, they completed 23 laps and clocked up an astounding 92 miles in their overnight 12-hour run. It was eight more than last year’s winning team, which also included Marsland, and powered them to victory.

Striders’ female team of Donna Cook, Tracy Moseley and Sarah Keates also impressed as they covered 64 miles in 16 trips between the north and south banks of the Humber.

Meanwhile Gary Atkinson opted to run the event on his own, after being part of a relay team in 2014, and he was delighted with his 12-lap 48-mile distance. The endurance plaudits for the race, however, went to Sophie Hempsall and Paul Dagg who tackled the 24-hour version of the race, which started at 7 am on the Saturday. A whole day later, they had completed 80 miles!

Once all the Striders had caught up with some sleep, they were quick to acknowledge the help provided by club captain Simon Hall, who stayed on the bridge all night to encourage, coax and cajole his teammates.

Elsewhere, more conventional races saw Simon Hunt continue to impress when clocking yet another personal-best (PB) time in the Askern 10-Mile race. Hunt chopped almost a minute off his previous best as he crossed the line in 71 minutes, three seconds for an 88th place finish.

Sweltering heat couldn’t prevent another PB -- this time from Alison Elwess, who clocked 47.12 in the Bassingham Bash five-mile race. And Neil Broughton extended his record as the club’s most prolific racer for 2015, completing the Sleaford 10K (his 13th event of the year) in 58.13.

The club’s evening training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays are continuing throughout the summer.