Fitstuff G3 Series featuring Gioia Ciampalini

'Joy' Floats To Victory

Fitstuff RD magically saves trail event despite testing circumstances...

The photo above shows how Gioia Ciampalini mastered tricky conditions at the Fitstuff G3 Series trail event. The Italian athlete – whose first name translates as 'Joy' and signifies happiness – deployed some remarkable powers of levitation and hovered above the Fitstuff sticky stuff to win the 15K event by three and a half minutes!

This was not the only magic trick seen in this stunning corner of the Surrey Hills AONB on Saturday (10 February 2024). Race Director Rory MacPherson had to conjure up a completely new course and race HQ after travellers occupied the usual venue at Newlands Corner, off the A25, close to Guildford. And then, just two days before the event, the heavens opened and flooded some tracks, putting the event in doubt until the last minute.

As the agile and quick-thinking RD Rory told runABC South: "It’s moments like this when we see the true indomitable spirit and goodwill of the runners and the event team, that reminds us why we love being part of this running fraternity! The event went ahead and Winterfold Forest and Greensand Ridge delivered! Pine forests, sand, rocks, and water courses in full flood made for some classic trail running."

The planned 10K and 15K races went ahead at the new venue off Hound House Road, around four miles from Newlands Corner, and were enjoyed by 189 determined finishers. There were 102 safely home in the 15K in 2:34:48 on a double-loop course that included more than 1,000 feet of ascent. The 10K saw 87 finish in 1:57:30 as they climbed 600 feet.

The longer race was dominated by Rob Sherwood (1:03:40) who was eight minutes or a country mile clear of the pack. The runners-up were Ben Klein (1:11:34) and Ian Kibble (1:12:46). The top three women were the airborne Gioia Ciampalini (1:22:11), Jo Wilson (1:25:40) and Jules Claridge (1:27:11).

The 10K was headed by Phil Paterson (49:24), Ade Golding (50:13) and Steve Kitchener (50:55). The women's podium was contested by Sarah Whelan (58:32), Anna Marlow (1:01:12) and Dawn Howell (1:02:06).

The third and final Fitstuff G3 III race will take place at the usual Newlands Corner venue – subject to any further Race Director challenges – on Saturday 2 March 2024 with 10K and 15K options – enter here.

Results of Fitstuff G3 Series II via runABC South race listing here.

Photo of Gioia Ciampalini leading the 15K courtesy Rory MacPherson

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