MAC members needed head for heights to take on hilly challenges

Maidenhead Athletic Club (MAC) members needed a head for heights this month as they took advantage of lockdown restrictions easing to race in three hilly challenges.

First, thanks to the generosity of the local running community who contributed their Easter Ten entry fees, the club has still been able to donate £5,000 to local charities impacted badly this past year.

It’s only the second time the club has been forced to cancel the main even on the local running calendar, but many people still took part in a virtual format, plotting their own routes around the area, and money was still raised, with £2,000 going to the Samaritans in Slough, £2,250 going to Foodshare in Maidenhead, and £750 going to the BabyBank in Maidenhead.

At the end of May, Sayeed Islam, Mags Maton and David Pearce completed the XNRG 50km Devil’s Lite trail ultra. Hitting the trails once more the route started in Steyning, West Sussex and follows the Devil’s Dyke across to the iconic Jack and Jill’s windmills before turning back on a similar route. The sting in the tail was 4,300ft of climbing in the second half on already weary legs.

“The weather was perfect and the scenery breath taking, said David. “With views of the North Downs on one side and out to sea over Brighton and Shoreham on the other. Not a course for a personal best but we all finished around the seven-hour mark with smiles on our faces.”

On Saturday, May 29, Simon Goldfinch completed the Kettlewell Half Marathon in the beautiful setting of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s more of a fell run than a trail run, boasting three climbs of more than 900m.

“With the terrain varying from beautiful rolling meadows to rocky, stony, boggy and the sheer steepness of the climbs, I quickly became aware of how difficult the test ahead would be,” said Simon.

“The heat, terrain and hills took its toll on my legs and the added 1.7-mile detour (a bit of a wrong turning) added to the endurance test and I was so glad to eventually see the finishing line with the customary collapse once crossed.”

Chris and Rosie Ellis completed the Race the Tide in Devon on June 29, an event which comprises three distances with the aim of crossing the estuary before the tide comes in. Chris completed the ‘long marathon’, 28.5miles along the coast with more than 4,000m elevation. The tough terrain took its toll and he finished in 7.09.56, 69th out of 80.

Rosie completed the 8.5m route along woodland trails around the estuary, finishing in 1.59.18. She was 133rd out of 145 runners. Both found their respective events extremely challenging but enjoyed the ‘amazing views’.

Lesley Kernaghan ran the Hertfordshire Half Marathon with her daughter Jo at Knebworth House on Sunday (June 6). She was thrilled to pull on the MAC vest again and was first in her age category in 2.13.47.

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