Runners have been getting mucky since 2010 and loving it in the Dirt Half Challenge by trail specialists Dirt Running. The latest edition was on Saturday 18 November.
The route is mainly off-road on country trails and towpaths from Leighton Buzzard with a significant hill at halfway. This year competitors completed a new anti-clockwise lap of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park before heading north to Stoke Hammond on the canal towpath. Just after mile 6, they took on a 200-foot climb to Great Brickhill Woods, returning via scenic Rushmere Country Park, along Greensand Ridge, and the canal towpath back to Tiddenfoot Waterside Park for a clockwise lap to the finish line.
The race was won by Jamie Farmer of Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club in 01:21:11, followed by Jamie Shipston-Mourn of Highgate Harriers in 1:21:42, and Mark Innocenti of Tring Running Club in 01:21:55. Men’s Vet categories were won by: Mark Innocenti MV40, Darren Cornish MV50, Martin Hopcroft MV60, and Kenneth Fancett MV70.
First Lady was Dawn Godwin in a time of 1:39:53 followed by Jennifer Sangster in 01:40:43, and Tracy Brown in 1:44:10. Female Vet prizes were won by: Anna Larkins FV35, Dawn Godwin FV45, Julie Martin FV55 and Tracey Livesey FV65.
The team prize went to the Redway Runners: Jennifer Sangster, Kin Ung, Stuart Deeble, Tracy Brown, and Simon Billenness.
This year the race really delivered some very wet and muddy conditions, especially in the field just before the third water stop due to the amount of rain that had fallen over the last few weeks. There was light rain early on which soon cleared into a lovely fresh day with a gentle breeze and ideal running conditions.
There is a superb YouTube aerial film of a previous event that captures the atmosphere and shows off the brilliant course.
Many positive comments were received and this from Julie Martin (FV55 Redway Runners, 2:00:29) represents the majority view: “The Dirt Half on Saturday delivered everything it said on the tin and more. A great race with plenty of mud and knee-high “puddles” and a super mug for an age category win.”
The final word from Race director Andy Hully: “Feedback from the runners regarding the course, support from the marshals, and the organisation of the event was once again outstanding with many runners vowing they would be back next year. A word of advice: enter early!”
Link to full results https://dirtrunning.org.uk/results/
Notes to Editor:
Dirt Running organise the popular Dirt Half Challenge, which takes place on the 2nd Saturday of November. The race starts in the historic market town of Leighton Buzzard and completes an anti-clockwise lap of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park before following the picturesque autumnal Grand Union Canal towpath north to Stoke Hammond with stunning views, climbing through beautiful countryside to Great Brickhill. The route then passes through the scenic Rushmere Country Park woodland before following the Greensand Ridge back to the start via the canal towpath and finishing with a clockwise lap of Tiddenfoot Waterside Park.