Every year organisers of the Chevy Chase at Wooler scan the weather forecasts and hope for the perfect day.
The predicted early light showers proved to be heavy rain, which made the going underfoot tougher and visibility initially poor.
Luckily for all the competitors and the marshals out on the course the skies cleared during the morning.
Many commented on the stunning views of the surrounding hills from the summit of Hedgehope. The sun at last appeared in time for tea, buns, cakes and prize giving on the lawn.
A total 79 walkers and 165 runners started the event, this was a good turn out with the Chevy competing with Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France for attention this year.
Competitors from Northumberland were joined by those from across the UK, and as far afield as Sweden.
As always there were many excellent performances and fast times for the tough 20 miles event. There were a few minor falls and scrapes, but thankfully no serious incidents. It was cheering that last year’s casualty, Paul Doxford from South Shields Harriers, who broke his ankle when descending Hedgehope, came back to watch the race and support his team mates.
He is fell running again and hopes to be competing in the event next year. He presented the organisers with a wooden plaque engraved with the Chevy Chase route as a thank you to all who had helped with his evacuation from the hills.
The fell race produced a great result for the locals as Wooler lad Bruce Crombie, running for Alnwick Harriers, stormed home to win in an excellent time of 3:05:41. He was also first V40 and took the local runner trophy.
In second place was John Butters of Northumberland Fell Runners (NFR) 3:09:20 bettering last year’s run by one place. Peter Rooney of South Shields Harriers was third in 3:11:53; Peter also won the V50 trophy for the third year running. Richard Beard from Bedford Harriers AC won the V60 trophy in 4:03:29.
The competition for the team trophy was fierce and exciting as both NFR and South Shields teams finished with 22 points. Taking into account the highest placing of the third runner the NFR team of John Butters, Mark Watson and Jeffrey Ross took the trophy.
Emma Bain NFR won the ladies race in a time of 3:40:30 placing a commendable 21st overall, also claiming the V40 trophy. Last year’s winner Victoria Broadbent of Bearbrook Joggers had to settle for second place in a time of 3:47:33. In third place was late entry Steph Scott NFR in 3:53:20.
Anna Smith of Queensbury RC, a return runner from Yorkshire won the V50 category. Shirley Cassidy finished with a blood stained face which thankfully looked worse than it was, to win the first local lady trophy in 4:24:39.
The walk was fiercely contested with both men and lady walkers vying for the top ten places. Len Glen Davison of Breamish Wanderers pushed himself hard to win with an excellent time of 4:43:02 he was also first V50. Second placed male walker was Keith Robson in 4:59:48 in third Glen Cartner 5:10:26.
The first MV40 was Steven Royal. 3:51:08. Roy Hudson to won the V60 trophy. Dieter Hofmann again produced his expected apparently effortless performance to win the V70 category. Respect to the older gentlemen as Alan Urwin also a V70 and placed10th took the first local trophy.
The Ladies cup was this year won by Fiona McKenzie who was also the first V50 with a time of 4:54:48. Angela Huddleston was second in 5:10:25, Angela also won the local lady trophy. In third place and first LV40 was Joyce Guthrie. The first V60 was Sarah Wilson of Breamish Wanderers.
The Cheviot Angels team of Fiona, Angela and Joyce took the team prize with 14 points.
Full results available at www.woolerrunningclub.co.uk
The Geordie Douglas Memorial Trophy is presented to the oldest and boldest competitor and was won by evergreen Dieter Hoffman.
The Alan Gardener Trophy, which celebrates the Spirit of the Chevy Chase was awarded to George Murray a stalwart helper and supporter of the event. George began helping when he was in his early teens and has become an invaluable member of the team. He even postponed a trip to Canada in order to help this year.