Wet conditions weren’t enough to dampen the spirits as a record number of finishers embraced the brand new course for the 28th running of the Matthew Walker 10k Pudding Run.
With the Heanor Running Club-hosted event completely selling out its 1,000 entry limit a week before the day, 884 finishers were led home by Rich Weir and the host club’s Lisa Palmer as the pair repeated their victories from 12 months ago to take home the prize money and generous hampers.
The undulating course, held almost-entirely within Shipley Country Park, saw a competitive race at the front-end between the pre-race favourites Rich Weir, former two-time winner Neil Renault and GB international, Luke Gunn.
Weir and Renault went toe-to-toe at the front and forced the pace as Gunn lurked in third, 30 metres further back. Renault, who set the old course record of 30:44 in victory in 2008, gained a stride or two through halfway but was unable to drop the Derby AC man.
Shifting up a gear as they approached Osbourne’s Pond with two kilometres to run, Weir forged ahead and established a clear advantage. The advantage turned out to be a winning one as the thirty year-old crossed the line seven seconds clear in 31:11.
Renault (31:18) took second and Gunn (31:25) finished seven seconds further back. Shelton Striders took the team prize.
Fresh from representing England at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International at Wollaton Park 24 hours before, Heanor RC’s Lisa Palmer took the tape almost a minute ahead of her nearest challenger in 36:44.
Lisa, who set a huge new personal best of 35:20 the week before at the Leeds Abbey Dash, said it was “great to be back to winning ways”, praised the “great course and great prizes”, also thanking race director Rob Rainsford and everyone involved at Heanor RC for another well-organised effort.
Chesterfield AC’s Lauren Davies-Beckett (37:38) and Rachel Olivant (38:42) of Derby AC completed the top three as Derby AC went home with the team prize.
A spokesman for Heanor RC said: “In addition to Matthew Walker, thanks also go to all the marshals, volunteers and runners that helped make the event a success and to Shipley Country Park, John Thompson, Rob Jefferies and Derby Runner, the Heanor Gate Science College steel band and East Midlands Physiotherapy Training College for the complimentary pre and post-race massage.