The 2011 Pudding Run sees a record number of finishers

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A RECORD 745 runners completed the latest running of the Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding 10K, hosted by Heanor Running Club, as months of preparation and organisation were rewarded with one of the most popular and successful 10K events in the region. [by Chris Ford]

Now in its 25th year, this event has grown significantly in numbers and stature in recent years and saw runners venture from nearby Ripley Running Club and Sutton Harriers to as far afield as Walsall-based Aldridge Running Club and Horsforth Harriers of Yorkshire for this year’s event.

Supported by local running specialists Derby Runner and the Derby-based East Midlands Physiotherapy Training College who provided a free pre- and post-race massage service, each finisher also received a substantial Christmas pudding from the main race-sponsors Matthew Walker.

This year’s course remained the same since the switch in event HQ three years ago to Shipley Country Park. Starting and finishing once again at the park, the course followed a circular loop out of Heanor Gate Industrial Estate towards the village of Smalley before making its way down the undulating traffic-free road back towards the park and the final ascent up to the finish.

The day started with a heavy mist that didn’t clear before or during the race but otherwise conditions were perfect and typical for the time of year. Similarly to last year, the lack of wind and cool conditions helped contribute towards some decent times being posted both at the front-end and a little further down the field.

Local runner Chris Rainsford, representing Heanor Running Club, was the eventual race winner in a time of 32:49. Leading a group of three, including Stephen Price of UK Netrunner and Sutton Harrier’s Carl Allwood, Rainsford whittled the group down to two by the time they passed four kilometres and entered Smalley village. Rainsford continued to lead, closely pursued by Price, until the sixth kilometre when a decisive surge from Rainsford saw him build an ultimately unassailable lead. Price maintained his pace through the second-half of the race and finished second in 33:31; Allwood finishing third in a new personal best of 34:02.

In the women’s race, Nicola Clay of Stilton Striders came out on top on the undulating course to finish first in an impressive time of 37:32. Finishing a further minute back in 38:36 was Beverley Gray of the renowned Loughborough-based club Charnwood AC. Securing the final podium position was another local runner, Lucy Holmes of Ripley Running Club, who managed to knock over a minute off her previous year’s time on the same course to finish third in 39:38.

A number of veteran and team category prizes were also distributed in the post-race presentation with perhaps the most noteworthy going to Hugh Turner of Midland Masters AC who took home the Veteran-80 category hamper for his efforts in finishing 721st in 1:11.29.

For full results: http://heanorrunningclub.com/9.html

Heanor Running Club would like to thank Shipley Country Park and all the sponsors, marshals, volunteers, local police and runners that continue to support the event and help make it happen. Next year’s event will take place on Sunday 18th November.