IT WAS on your marks, get wet, go… on Sunday for more than 150 runners who defied the torrential rain to pound the ground in the third Fairoaks Five Woking Hospice fundraiser.
Despite the weather the event, starting and finishing at Fairoaks Airport in Chobham, was more popular than ever.
Getting down and dirty in the mud-laced race, the off-road route took competitors on a five-mile run past Horsell Common, McLaren’s Formula 1 HQ, and the site of the martians’ landing in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds.
Leading the field home through the pouring rain and mud was Datchet Dashers’ Alexander Miller, who took more than two minutes off the course record to cross the line in a rapid 26 minutes and 47 seconds.
Coming in second was Horsell’s Simon Egan (below) of JP Morgan RC in 30min 27sec and behind him in 31min 35sec was Mizazaki Koji in the over-50 category. It was a photo finish between the first two women, with Purple Patch Runners’ Julie Fastiggi just two tenths of a second ahead of Sharon Fawcett. Third was Karen Higham.
The first over-40 female prize went to Katie Coyle, while Lynn Howard of Elmbridge Road Runners was first in the over-50s, and Datchet Dashers’ Barbara Allen took the over-60 prize.
The over-40 male prizewinner was Simon Rolfe, while James Forrester clinched top spot in the over-50s.
The first over-60 across the line was Mike Guess, and the leading over-70 entrant was Paul Westbrook.
For some, Sunday’s race was their debut, including the last to cross the line, Jennifer Maddock, a newcomer to running who said the tough conditions had not put her off and she would definitely race again.
Organiser Ellie Barnes (left), of Reading-based Barnes Fitness, paid tribute to the runners.
She said: “We were delighted with the turnout, especially as around 30 people signed up after we closed online, opting to enter on race day despite the weather. It was really tough going and not just underfoot – the heavens opened and it just kept tipping it down. But everyone came over the finish line with a big smile, despite being soaked to the skin and covered in mud, and it’s clear this race will keep growing in popularity.”
A total of 154 finished, 14 more than at the second staging of the race in April. The first one was a year ago.
Ellie added: “It’s a great route that offers a taste of off-road racing in a fabulous setting, and is for all abilities. We focus on making sure everyone enjoys themselves while raising funds for a worthwhile cause.”
The race was chip-timed by Rogue Racer, and Keith Rimmer Massage and Real Touch Massage offered sessions in return for donations. Sweatshop, The Running School, Pepperfit, and Co-op Horsell provided support.
All finishers received a medal, and more than £400 went to the hospice.
The next Fairoaks Five will be run on Sunday, April 27 2014.