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Gibbet Hill, Hindhead

Men, Ladies and ... Drinking?

Dry run for some at The Devil's Punchbowl Boxing Day Run

There were three main categories in the Boxing Day Run from the Devil's Punchbowl Hotel, Hindhead on Sunday (26 December): Men, Ladies, and ... Drinking? We were intrigued by the race classifications, with further sub-divisions for Men's Drinking and Ladies Drinking. 

It appears this festive fundraiser for the nearby Holy Cross Hospital – which provides specialist care for people with very complex medical needs caused by an acquired brain injury or a serious neurological condition – has an unusual voluntary handicap system. 

Entrants can opt to quaff a pint of winter ale courtesy of Hogs Back Brewery at the two-mile marker on this tough, multi-terrain course that takes in the delights of the National Trust-owned Hindhead Commons, including Gibbet Hill and the famous Devil's Punchbowl.

Gibbet Hill (pictured) stands at 272m (892 feet) above sea level and is the second-highest hill in Surrey, part of the Greensand Ridge forming the apex of the scarp surrounding the Devil's Punchbowl, once the site of public executions of highwaymen and robbers.

These days, the area is popular for walking, running, and mountain biking with catering and accommodation available at the Devil's Punchbowl Hotel and at the National Trust facilities.

With the scene set, we return to the race itself where surely the booze would prove too much of a handicap? Not a bit of it – the first two men were drinkers! Daniel Titcomb managed the 3.5 miles and one-pint consumption challenge in 22:49, with fellow drinker David Jarrett on 23:15. Third-placed Ed Gibson (23:29) was the first athlete on a 'dry run'.

It was a sober Zoe Cowell-Jones (25:53) who took the women's race from drinker Sarah Hill (26:20) and non-drinker Torzi Robinson (26:57) – these descriptors apply solely to the race, of course!

Impressive running (and drinking) all round and the full results are available via runABC South race listings

Image of Gibbet Hill courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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