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Cyprus International Challenge 2023

Tom Tops Tour

British success in Leptos Cyprus International 4-Day Challenge...

With the mercury barely scraping above zero throughout the UK, we thought we would take you to the sun-drenched Mediterranean island of Cyprus for a bit of envious escapism in our report of the Leptos Cyprus International Challenge – a four-day, multi-terrain staged running event with a total distance of slightly more than a marathon.

This year's event ran from 23-26 November and was again based at the luxurious Coral Beach Hotel & Resort on the fringe of the Akamas Peninsula on the island's sunny south-west coast. The tour is jointly organised by Arena Sports in Cyprus and Farnborough-based 2:09 Events, run by 1983 London Marathon champion Mike Gratton, whose marathon PB time is now the company name.

Just over 250 had entered and British service personnel and tourists dominated the results. There were 198 finishers overall – those who completed all four events – in times ranging from 2:58:26 to 4:48:19.

The Leptos Cyprus International Challenge starts with a 6K Time Trial from the event base. Runners set off at random 10-second intervals on the Coral Bay promenade and finish beside the wreck of the 2,517 tons Edro III cargo ship.

This is followed by an 11K hill race near Avakas Gorge in the Akamas Nature Reserve and the third day's offering is the Akamas Half Marathon multi-terrain from St Minas Church in Neo Chorio village. The tour concludes with the Paphos City 10K road race, followed by a Gala Dinner with Challenge Awards back at Coral Bay Hotel and Resort.

Previous champions Tom Adams (2021) and Liam White (2022) traded wins throughout the tour, with Liam four seconds faster in the opening time trial (18:42) and nearly two minutes ahead in the hill race (47:34). However, Tom got into his stride for the half marathon (1:16:29) to overturn the deficit – heading into the 10K showdown with a slender 33-second lead.

Despite Dean Williamson – who was rewarded with third overall in 3:04:53 – upsetting the form book by winning the Paphos 10K in 33:28, it was Tom Adams (33:44) who regained the overall trophy from Liam White (34:37) – their final cumulative times being 2:58:26 and 2:59:52 respectively.

Katie Olding was never headed in the women's tour and with individual times of 21:20; 57:51; 1:33:21 and 38:10 she powered to an overall victory in 3:30:44 from Jenna McGrevey (3:39:53) and defending champion Chloe Eliott (3:45:42).

Our photo above courtesy of Arena Sports on Facebook shows Scottish Calderglen clubmates Alan Derrick (M55, 4:26:10) and Frances Ferguson (W55, 5:19:00) at the finish of their tour.

Full results are available via the runABC race listing here.

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