Ripley ladies steal the show in Lake District grueller

TOP TEAM -- Cathy Cresswell, Esther Broughton and Alison Butlin.
TOP TEAM -- Cathy Cresswell, Esther Broughton and Alison Butlin.

The ladies of Ripley Running Club stole the show when they tackled one of the toughest half-marathons in the UK amid the breathtaking scenery of the Langdale Valley in the Lake District.

For the trio of Esther Broughton, Cathy Cresswell and Alison Butlin landed the team event at the Great Langdale Half-Marathon with some fantastic performances.

The course for the event is exceptionally hilly, with gradients of 1:3 in places. But Broughton finished 97th of the 244 runners, clocking a time of one hour, 56 minutes, followed by Cresswell, who came home just after the two-hour mark, and Butlin, who recorded a time of two hours, eight minutes.

Teammate Karl Tietz also finished the race in two hours, while all four Ripley runners received superb support from other members of the club.

Three more dedicated runners from the club made the long journey to Fort William in Scotland to contest the Ben Nevis Mountain Race.

This is also one of the hardest races in the country, with competitors ascending and descending more than 4,000 feet to the top of the highest mountain in the UK. It is run on rocky tracks and shale and has a near-vertical descent!

Luke Beresford carried the Ripley flag with distinction, coming home in just under two hours to finish an impressive 52nd in the 466-strong field, which included some of the country’s best fell runners. He was followed by Simon English in 380th and Wayne Smithurst in 389th.

The Wilne 10K was also on the agenda for 13 Ripley members. Comprising two laps on the road near the River Derwent between Derby and Nottingham, it is one of the flattest local 10K races, with only five metres between the highest and lowest points.

Richard Kimber led the Ripley contingent home, finishing 125th of nearly 1,000 entries, in a terrific personal-best (PB) time of 38.12 minutes. He was cloely followed by Lucy Taylor, who was tenth lady overall in 38.47.

Richard Sims finished 159th, Joe Henstock 193rd and Dennis Holmes 237th, while Matt Baker smashed three minutes off his previous PB in 263rd.