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Maverick Race Oxfordshire 2020

Maverick trail runners out in force in Oxfordshire

Adidas Terrex Original Oxfordshire draws 430 race-hungry runners to Stonor Park

The longer the race the more they loved it! runABC South is delighted to be reporting on live events again as England's second Coronavirus lockdown ended just in time for the Maverick Adidas Terrex Original Oxfordshire 2020 to go ahead on Saturday 5 December.

Oxfordshire had been placed in Tier 2 high alert for COVID-19, so travel was restricted to other Tier 2 area residents – which covers most of the South of England. This helped to boost the fields and a total of 430 competitors took part, with only a handful of retirements. 

The three courses on offer are refreshingly described as Short, Middle, and Long so it was time to ignore the Garmin (other wrist-worn Sat-Nag systems are available) and to appreciate the surroundings and the pure and simple privilege of being able to run with others, socially-distanced of course, on spectacular trails from the 850-year-old Manor House of Stonor Park, about four miles north of Henley-on-Thames. 

The Short race was soon despatched at 4:37/km pace by Laurence Williams (32:21). Nicky Mileham (37:30) headed the women's entry, as 39 finished the approximately 7K course in 1:05:44.  

Add 4K to around 11K for the Middle race and there were 137 finishers in 2:32:46. Nick Wilkins took a neat 45:00 to win and Jess Orton (58:25) was the first female to finish.

Finally, it was the Long race over approximately 21K, or half marathon distance. This was no easy run in the park, though, as the route weaves through the Stonor Park estate – home to one of the most ancient deer herds in Britain – and the surrounding Chilterns AONB, where some of the trails feature climbs and descents at gradients in excess of 22%.

Undeterred by the undulations were the leading trio of Tim Campion-Smith (1:28:43), Joshua Slingsby (1:30:49) and James Kennedy (1:35:35). The winner's pace was 4:01/km – the fastest average time achieved over any of the distances. 

Liza Bradshaw (1:46:35) was pushed all the way by Felicity Hannon (1:47:18) in the women's race. Jenny Alexander (1:53:39) was third, as 251 finished in 4:32:12. 

Post-race media comments were positive. Ben Parkinson (2:26:27) ran the Long course and posted: “So happy it went ahead! Amazing scenery, plus friendly competitors and support staff, thank you”. Meanwhile, first-timer Gill Huller (2:42:42) said: “My first event with you today and I loved it, marshals were so lovely, the course was great, although some of those hills!! I’ll definitely be doing some more events with you next year”. 

Results available via runABC South race listing here

Image: Maverick Race on Facebook

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