Competitors are on their marks for 27th Pudding Run

Heanor Running Club's  Lizzie Poole with the 2013 Pudding Run prize Christmas hampers.
Heanor Running Club's Lizzie Poole with the 2013 Pudding Run prize Christmas hampers.

The Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding Run looks set to be a record-breaker once more this weekend as the Heanor Running Club-hosted event has attracted the highest number of entries in its 27-year history.

The well-established 10k race looks in line to comfortably beat last year’s total (and current record) of 816 finishers, with the temperatures and a light wind forecast set to provide ideal winter racing conditions.

Last year’s event saw numerous personal bests achieved and records broken across the age categories on a perfect November morning.

Local man Chris Rainsford took the spoils for the second year running as Juliet Doyle romped home to take the female title in a new course record.

Christmas Pudding Run Race director Rob Rainsford is delighted with the response to the event this year and promises a nice surprise or two for this year’s runners, weather permitting.

“We’re really excited the race is full and continues to prove popular. It’s growing year-on-year and the support from race sponsors Matthew Walker’s and our own army of helpers is invaluable.

“We hope one or both of the course records get beaten this year, especially with current holder Neil Renault returning, and, fingers-crossed and weather-permitting, we hope to have Heanor Gate Science College Steel Band enhancing the race day atmosphere at the start and finish with a tune or two”.

The course is set to follow the same established route, starting and finishing at Shipley Park Visitor Centre before heading out for a loop around the Heanor Gate Industrial Estate and onto the A610 towards Smalley. Runners then cut back down Bell Lane at the halfway point and down into the park by Osbourne’s Pond before sweeping back up to the finish.

Challenges to the current course record-holder for the rather hefty hampers put together by club member Lizzie Poole are likely to come from number one Derbyshire athlete Rich Weir and Heanor RC’s Dale Annable, who both ran personal bests over 10k at the Leeds Abbey Dash last weekend.

The race kicks off at 10am and will be supported once more by local running specialists Derby Runner and the Derby-based East Midlands Physiotherapy Training College, providing a free pre and post-race massage service.