Best conditions for eight years says Bewl Ultra organiser
Experienced race director welcomes 300-plus to scenic Bewl Water
The 300-plus competitors in Hermes Running's Bewl Water Ultra, marathon, half and 10K on Saturday (19 September) knew they were in safe hands. Race director, David Ross, is a veteran of more than 450 marathons and ultra-marathons worldwide in the last 21 years, having started with the Umgeni Water Marathon in South Africa in 1999.
David has won 32 of his marathons/ultras; finished 15 Comrades Marathons (with five silver medals) and has a best road marathon of 2:49:38 from London 2015 – so he knows how to host a great race, despite the COVID-enforced break in competitions since Hermes Running's last live event, the Thames Meander Marathon on 7 March 2020.
The full suite of COVID-secure measures were deployed at Bewl Water – the 31,000 million litre reservoir that is the largest stretch of open water in the South East, occupying an 800-acre site at Wadhurst on the Kent/East Sussex border in the heart of the High Weald AONB.
The longest event was a three-lap 37.5-mile ultra-marathon, with almost 4,000 feet of elevation gain. The toughest challenge was met by 23 runners and the fastest times were achieved by Karl Christie (4:35:55) and Kate Bennett (5:19:01) – who was fifth overall.
There were 72 finishers in the trail marathon behind Jack Oates' outstanding 2:47:25 and Charlotte Laing (Brighton, 3:44:58). The half marathon winners were Rob Patterson (1:29:13) and Laura Hubbard (Hadleigh Hares, 1:34:53) from 141 competitors.
The 10K 'sprint' was led by Ashley Day (Thanet RR, 34:09) and third-placed Beth West (Lonely Goat RC, 36:26) from a field of 73 runners.
In his post-race address, David Ross paid tribute to just about everyone: “Thanks to everyone for taking part in the Bewl Water event on Saturday. We had 309 runners that took part and a great field of runners, some that had travelled from overseas (despite all the restrictions). It was wonderful to be staging an actual race, my first since the Thames Meander on 7 March, so I massively appreciate the support we had from our wonderful runners, and thanks to all our marshals and the Bewl Water events team for their great support. There were some astounding times on the near-perfect trail with conditions being the best they have been in the 8 years that I have staged the race”.
Race details and results available via runABC South race listing here
Image courtesy Hermes Running on Facebook