Members of our club attended the Swainby Sweep Trail Race on Sunday. After months of cancelled events, it was fantastic for athletes to experience the return to a race atmosphere. Eight runners, including some of our Stokesley based members, braved the snow and wind to tackle the challenging trail event, taking in views of the Yorkshire Moors and across to the Dales.

Sunshine prevailed, despite the early snowfall that led to the rerouting of the 16 mile race. Runners who had entered that distance were instead asked to complete two laps of the seven mile course – two miles shorter, yes, but with the added psychological hurdle of passing the finish line to continue for a second lap!

In the seven mile race, Head Coach Chris Lees came 6th in his category (25th overall) with a time of 58:23, and Kay Kelly crossed the finish line in 1:13:16 to take 7th in her group. Anna Bonner (1:31:57) and Sara Sherwood (1:31:58) completed their first ever trail event, with support from Gemma Birtles (1:32:00).

Anna said, “Despite all my nerves, the experience was fantastic. Everything was really well organised and even though the route was hard, the scenery more than made up for it. The feeling as we crossed the finish line was amazing and I’m still smiling now – can’t wait for the next race!”

Three athletes took on the gruelling longer route: Hannah Gawthorpe (2:32:25 and 6th place in her category), Will Horner (2:30:31), and Alasdair McWilliam (3:49:25).

Although not running, Jane Wilkinson made her contribution to the event by marshalling. The whole event was very well organised to ensure that runners and the local community were kept safe under the current government restrictions. Many thanks to the event organisers, MaD Races, and to the residents of Swainby. If you would like to find out more about our friendly, inclusive, coaching-led club, please get in touch.

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