Steve’s ultra marathon victory

A 61-year-old runner from Heage is celebrating after he completed a 135 mile ‘ultra’ marathon in Wales last weekend.

The Duke of Cambridge officially started the 2013 Ring O’ Fire in Holyhead and was accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge on their first public appearance together since the birth of Prince George.

Steve Saunders, 61, of Heage, was one of only 54 runners out of 93 competitors to complete the gruelling three-day challenge, with an overall time of 35 hours.

He said: “It’s not as easy as it sounds! They make it harder on purpose. Last year only 28 runners completed it.”

The route follows the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path over 135 miles - with 13, 695 ft uphill.

On the run Steve faced terrain which included sandy beaches, cliff top paths, coves, farmers’ fields and sections of forest. Many fellow runners fell by the wayside, unable to match the punishing speeds required to stay in the competition.

Steve, of Downs Terrace, is a bus driver for trentbarton. He said: “People had burst blisters with sand in their shoes and their feet had swelled up. Some had their shins in splints. Some would be lucky not to be in hospital afterwards.”

Speaking to the News on Monday, after the race, Steve said: “I am all right. I am going out with the two jogging groups I run tonight!”

The groups - one for experienced runners and one for those just starting out - meet at Ripley Leisure Centre on Mondays at 6pm and 7pm. respectively.