A TOTAL of 340 runners completed a wet and muddy Stoke Stampede 10k race yesterday (Sunday, January 9).

Participants in the race in and around the lanes of Stoke St Gregory ranged from novices to seasoned runners.

The youngest runners, 15-year-old Patrick Cole completed the course in a strong 42 minutes 35 seconds, while the oldest, Michael Sharpe, aged 76, was timed in at 1 hour 27 minutes and 22 seconds.

Around 100 people signed up to take part failed to make the starting line due to various reasons, mainly Covid-related.

The overall men's winner was Will Fuller, of Weston AC, who clocked 33.20, with the first woman home Emma Kiernan in 39.25.

Second in was Kieron Summers, followed by last year's winner Ian Tyson.

Last year's fastest woman, Paralympian medallist Hannah Taunton was looking good but was not well enough to finish,

Alfred van Pelt, of the organising committee, said: "Due to the weather prior to the race, the country lanes were pretty wet and muddy, adding an extra challenge to the race, besides the undulating nature of the course.

"Runners seemed to actually enjoy that extra challenge which included navigating one short stretch 7.5k into the race that was flooded."

Race director Paul Morse was delighted at how the entire event went.

He said: "From pre registration to parking and the actual race, everything went as smooth as could be expected.

"Runners and spectators all handled our Covid guidelines and parking instructions very well, which was an immense help to making this yet again a very enjoyable running experience for everyone.

The stampede raises money for the village playing field, a vital facility to the small village of Stoke St Gregory.

It will help with maintenance of the field and its new pavilion.

Among comments from runners were:

Pam Beattie: "Thank you all so much, a great event, the marshals were awesome the spectators supportive, and the organisation was just brilliant. My first time here but hopefully not my last. Great work everyone."

Elizabeth Williams: "My fifth time today and each time is is by far my most favourite race of the whole year. Thank you to the village for the support on the course x."

Paula Bisatt: "My first time running the Stoke Stampede. I now see why it’s an annual favourite of Running Forever RC - conspicuous by the many red and white tops! Thank you, excellently organised, with fabulous marshals and supporters."