Old boy Bickerstaff returns to win Wedding Belle race

POUNDING THE STREETS -- the first three home, Matt Bickerstaff, Luke Beresford and Dean Taylor, are all prominent at the start of the annual Wedding Belle 5 race. (PHOTO BY: Field Photographic, of Heanor).
POUNDING THE STREETS -- the first three home, Matt Bickerstaff, Luke Beresford and Dean Taylor, are all prominent at the start of the annual Wedding Belle 5 race. (PHOTO BY: Field Photographic, of Heanor).

A former member of Ripley Running Club returned to snatch first place in its annual Wedding Belle 5 race, which was held for the third year running during the weekend of the summer solstice.

The race originated as a pre-wedding run for the club’s men’s and ladies’ captains, Dean and Lucy Taylor, the day before they got married in 2013. But it has blossomed into an important fixture in the local athletics calendar.

Matt Bickerstaff used to be one of the Taylors’ teammates, but it was the colours of Heanor Running Club that he carried to victory, well clear of Luke Beresford in the green and gold of Ripley.

Dean Taylor himself was in third spot, while another ex-Ripley legend, Ian Duffin, was the first male veteran over-40 home.

Ripley’s ladies fared much better with a 1-2-3 clean sweep, headed by Lucy Taylor herself. Club chairman Esther Broughton was second and Jo Howett in a fantastic third.

Starting and finishing at The George Inn on Hammersmith, the race route took runners up the hill into the town centre, back out down Butterley Hill towards Swanwick and through to The Dog Inn at Pentrich before heading back towards Ripley.

BBC Radio Derby’s Sally Pepper took part in the race and was on hand to announce the winners and present the prizes.

Celebrations continued late into the night at The George, with live entertainment by excellent band, Newton.

A spokesman said: “Thanks go to the organising team, marshalls, volunteers and the staff at The George.”