THE OFFA’S Dyke 15, which runs from Hay-on-Wye to Kington, is a 15-mile, off-road test of endurance and on Sunday was a test of coping in extreme heat.
With the race starting at 11am and the mercury touching 29C already, it was a run to test the hardiest of athletes.
Stratford AC took a small but merry band ready to take on the challenge.
The heat inevitably took its toll on the runners, with many sensibly running to the conditions of the day and making use of the water stations and pacing themselves carefully.
The race was won by Ben Reynolds who bagged his eighth win at the venue. This is impressive on its own, but even more so considering the race only restarted in 2015 after a gap of 14 years.
He beat London Marathon star Andrew Davies by four minutes.
First home for Stratford was Ivan Sarti (22nd, 2:19.11), closely followed by Malcolm Bowyer (24th, 2:21.57). This was a new race for the incredibly experienced distance runner Malcolm, who took the tough running conditions in his stride.
Ivan, who has been expanding his distances this year with a very strong Stratford Marathon race, was relishing the challenge as well as the debate over which shoes to wear on the day, but had a frustrating race with inexplicable lack of energy, finding his blistering downhill ability to catch Malcolm only in the last mile.
David Smyth (38th, 2:25.59) declared it the most unusual race he had competed in and the trio came a close second in the team competition to Worcester.
Hannah Osborne and Rebecca Pridham ‘swept’ on the day (running behind the last runners). Hannah took the runners from mile seven to mile ten, then carried on until the end, escorting a small band of runners who still wanted to finish the race.
Rebecca swept (unable to compete after a serious chest infection) from the start until seven miles and then carried on with a map and no marshals and got the whole route in the bag!
Both declared they would actually run the race next year.