Mablethorpe runner hits heights to chalk up 60th marathon

Roger Blake and Paula Downing after completing the Charnwood Marathon EMN-160324-133220002
Roger Blake and Paula Downing after completing the Charnwood Marathon EMN-160324-133220002

Mablethorpe Running Club athlete Paula Downing chalked up her 60th marathon alongside her clubmate Roger Blake,

The pair travelled to Quorn for the 20th annual Charnwood Marathon, hosted by the Rotary Club of Blaby Meridian with all money raised from the event supporting local charities.

Club chairman Wayne Kew at the Ashby 20 EMN-160324-133231002

Club chairman Wayne Kew at the Ashby 20 EMN-160324-133231002

Starting from Rawlins Academy in the village centre, the event offered 15 and 26-mile options with both Mablethorpe runners opting for the longer route.

With few marshals or signage, it was a very tough off-road trail race which required the 500 entrants to navigate their own way following written instructions and to check-in at seven checkpoints around the route.

Leaving Quorn through Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves, then the picturesque Charnwood Forest Nature Reserve, runners came to the first of many ascents up Beacon Hill.

Bardon Hill was tackled next, the highest point in Leicestershire at 912ft, and further rolling hills came though the Bradgate Country Park to Swithland Wood before heading back to the finish in Quorn.

Despite the more than 2,500ft of climbing, this did nothing to deter experienced marathoner Paula who completed in 4hr 33min.

Less experienced Roger struggled, but completed his eighth marathon in six hours flat.

* Club chairman Wayne Kew also travelled to Leicestershire to Ashby-de-la-Zouch for the annual Ashby 20.

The popular 20-mile race is used by many runners preparing for a spring marathon, such as London, and covers a two-lap course along rural roads. The undulating course covered around 500ft of ascent, taking in the villages of Packington, Heather and Normanton. All 1,000 runners received a goody bag and hooded top.

The first half of the race went according to plan for Wayne who then admitted the wheels fell off, but he completed the race in a very respectable time of 2hr 38min 10secs.

* The club meets at Mablethorpe Athletics Club on Sherwood Fields at 6.30pm every Monday and Thursday. Anyone, regardless of age or ability, is welcome.

For more information, visit www.mablethorperunningclub.org.uk