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1066 Way to Battle Cross Country Race

Well, after all the worries and hard work and preparation it was an unmitigated success!

The last minute panics spending Saturday putting up signs and making the final preparations, the heavy rain overnight and the overcast showery dawn made the early start on Sunday a concern and dubious. Were we wrong! When we arrived at Pevensy to set up the start at 7am there were already runners waiting for us! By the 9am start the weather was improving, indeed by halfway the sun have come out and the showers had stopped. Of the 1057 runners who had registered 818 ran through the start line after our local Olympic Bronze Medalist, Steve Scott fired the starting gun!

Pevensey High Street had never been so busy on a Sunday as the runners raced out of the castle grounds and up toward Rickney – then after 20 minutes it went back to sleep!! And the Lions team at the start rapidly packed everything and drove to Battle to set it all up for the finish.

The runners raced following the 1066 Country Walk route up lanes and across country through some of the most beautiful countryside in Sussex through Rickney, Hurstmonceux, Boreham Street, Brownbread Street, Stevens Couch and Catsfield Battle , passing four water points on the way. Muddy fields, steep hills, defective styles and even several runners doing an extra ½ mile where a comedian had removed direction signs overnight didn’t daunt them! And some ran in Saxon and Norman dress, including our honoured Norman Knight running with the number 1066, running this before he took place in the battle re-enactment in the afternoon!

At Battle the Lions had only just completed setting up the finish line when the first runners came in! And weren’t the results impressive!

Mens:
1. James Baker in 1:48.40
2. Jeff Pyrah in 1:50.26
3. Rhys Boorman in 1:53 57

Ladies:

1. Karen Murdock in 2:13.25
2. Jenna French in 2:20.03
3. Ali Farrall in 2.:0.18

And they were all smiling when they crossed the line, even the tail enders who took 5 and a quarter hours!  Mind you some needed some tlc from our medics for a while – and between then they downed so much water we ran out of 1200 bottles and had to resort to cupfuls!! Well think about it – what would you rather do on a damp, cool, overcast  Sunday morning than run 17.5 miles through lanes and fields, over tarmac, mud, dodgy styles and the odd shower!!!

All runners were presented with commemorative “1066 - Way to Battle” medals - well I call it a horse brass!! – and the winners were presented with silver cups by Battles Mayor, our Olympic medallist Steve Scott, and the Battle Lions President, Rod Eldridge.

Of course it puts Battle Lions in a fix!! The consensus of the runners comments were “the most beautiful course we’ve ever run,” “fantastic organisation,” “brilliant race,” and several “are you going to organise it again!” The current answer to the last one is wait till the 1000 year anniversary!! But you never know!!

And was it a success for Battle and Villages Lions Club? Well, firstly they are all exhausted and need a rest, but secondly it has enabled the smallest Lions club in the local Lions area to raise over £22,000 for their support of both local and international charities and needy people.

But most of the Lions thanks must go Eric Hardwick, our Race Manager, who came from our friends in Hastings Lions Club to help us (or was it drop us in it?), to the people of Battle and the immediate district and the suppliers and companies that sponsored everything from signs to water, the 1066 Country Organisation, English Heritage, and the people of Pevensey, battle and the farms, hamlets and villages on the route who not only turned out to cheer the runners, put up with the disturbance!

England and Wales charity no. 1080347
© 2011 Battle & Villages Lions Club

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