Mablethorpe runner closes in on 100 Marathon Club

Paula Downing took her marathon tally to 96 with two more in January EMN-180129-131112002
Paula Downing took her marathon tally to 96 with two more in January EMN-180129-131112002

Distance runner Paula Downing moved within four marathons of joining an exclusive club after completing two more in a busy January.

The Mablethorpe Running Club member followed the Cold Christmas 50k by running the Peddars Way Ultra Marathon in her quest for to join the 100 Marathon Club.

Paula's latest off-road challenges required all runners to carry supplies EMN-180129-131123002

Paula's latest off-road challenges required all runners to carry supplies EMN-180129-131123002

To be accepted, runners must not only complete 100 regulated marathons, but also follow a strict code of procedures and requirements.

The Cold Christmas 50k was a demanding 31-mile race from Cold Christmas, in Hertfordshire, to High Easter, in Essex, organised by Springfield Striders Running Club.

The route was 95 per cent off-road, using footpaths, bridleways, tracks and minor roads, which required entrants to carry certain supplies and equipment as well as register with marshals at three manned checkpoints.

Of the 73 successful finishers, Paula was once again first lady home, and 14th overall in a fabulous time of 5hr 37min 16secs.

The Peddars Way covered 46 miles and followed the route of a Roman road which runs from the Suffolk border at Knettishall Heath to the North Norfolk Coast.

Going off-road once again, Paula had to navigate her own way, checking in at set points along the way as well as carry mandatory kit such as waterproof clothing, hat and gloves, and food and drink.

Paula thrives on these type of challenges, and of the 110 finishers, Paula completed this epic race in 23rd place in a time of 8hr 24min 05secs.

* Roger Blake’s debut ultra marathon ended in disappointment at the Waterway 30, a 31-mile circular route along the banks of the River Trent and towpaths of the Chesterfield Canal.

For the first time in 10 years, the Mablethorpe RC runner was forced to pull out of the race and recorded a DNF (did not finish).

The brutal cold winds combined with rain got the better of Roger who was ready to call it a day at 15 miles, and after deciding to go on, struggled to walk yet alone run to the next checkpoint at 19 miles (Gainsborough) where he called it a day.

Undeterred, he has pledged to return to racing soon.