Rain and strong winds preceded a sunny frosty morning for the third Rok the Stones Trail Marathon on Saturday 4th February 2017. The Marathon is the brainchild of Simon Whittle and his wife Judith, both avid runners who are often seen running around the village and across the fields. Since its inauguration in 2015 the limited places available have been keenly sought, so much so that they sold out within 24 hours of going on line for the 2017 run! 97 solo runners and 11 relay teams of 3 participated on the day.
The Marathon event is a demanding exercise of organisation and cannot
happen without the considerable assistance of our local residents.
Simon Whittle said ‘’we were delighted that there was increased number of local runners this year. One of whom was Dawn Wells of Compton Dando who was running to raise funds for repairs to All Saints’ Church, Publow bells. She has raised a sum in the region of £2,000 which is a fantastic start to the appeal. Stephen Rogers, All Saints’ Tower Captain organised a surprise ringing of the bells by the tower ringers for 40 minutes as Dawn started the race at Stanton Drew until she had passed All Saints’ Church. ‘
Simon went on to say “our other local runners were Martyn Jones, Ed Maxwell, Fiona Lewis, Lu Willson, James Reed, Ivan Batchelor, Mark Finn, Michelle Gordan, Stefan Zurekowski and I managed to join the race too this year !’’
Clutton Ward Councillor Karen Warrington gave starter’s orders to both the elite and second wave of runner and then returned to kitchen duties where she was organising
hot bacon rolls for marshalls before they ventured into the cold to man their stations and delicious honemade vegetable chilli for the runners as they returned, ably assisted by her kitchen crew throughout the day.
Local volunteers helped with route marking, runner registration, marshalling the event across the valley , washing up in the kitchen and helping with the post race clean up to a proper standard as required by the Village hall Committee !!
Phil Townshend had taken charge of marshall organisation with military precision. He said
“it was quite challenging keeping the marshall planning on track, especially when the mobile phone service across the valley can become a bit limiting – but I would personally like to say a bit thanks to all our marshalls who did a sterling job directing everyone and in one instance returning an injured runner to base.”
The race photographers were Martin Elsbury and Raoul Chadrasekera who have created a cracking library of images of the whole event.
The WI, led by Anne Bennet, provided a wonderful selection of cakes with a constant supply of hot drinks and sweet drinks for the runners check in stop between loops.
A flood of Facebook entries post race praised the organisers and all the volunteers for their hard work staging the extremely well planned and executed marathon in such a friendly atmosphere.
Once again Simon and Judith have raised significant funds of c£1400 which they are kindly donating to the Community Trust.
Andrew Hillman, Chairman said,’’ this is an extraordinary result, yet again, from Simon and Judith. The work involved in organising such an event is huge from liaising with landowners to toilet cleaning – there are a lot of boxes to tick. I would thank them and all those volunteers involved who have made this event happen again, and not only place Stanton Drew very firmly on the map , but raise a considerable sum for community good causes.
Simon and Judith have a very able team of helpers who have really committed themselves to this successful event. Thank you all.’’
Simon Whittle added, ‘’the organising committee could not run such a successful event without the terrific support from the landowners, kitchen helpers, marshals, members of Stanton Drew WI and the Village Hall Committee and Judith and I would like to thank everyone for their contributions.’’