Matlock AC braves conquer 24-hour ‘Glastonbury for runners’

The two Matlock AC teams who competed in the Endure24 Leeds Relays.
The two Matlock AC teams who competed in the Endure24 Leeds Relays.

Epic, brutal, relentless, and even ‘Glastonbury for runners’. They were just some of the descriptions afforded the Endure24 Relays in Leeds, which runners from Matlock Athletics Club dared to tackle at the weekend.

The round-the-clock, 24-hour event comprised a five-mile loop in the grounds of Bramham Park from 12 noon on the Saturday to 12 noon on the Sunday, and Matlock entered two teams.

One of the teams, in the men’s small section for three to five runners, consisted of Jack Cummins, John Thorpe, Simon Flitter and Zak Hodgkinson.

The other team, in the mixed section, was made up of Dennis Belbin, Peter Wilmot, Kelly Lynn, Shelley Fairey, Alaina Bond and Ben Fairey, with a guest appearance on the first lap by Dennis Holmes.

The small-section quartet performed amazingly well to finish fourth in their category and ninth overall, despite lacking time to recover between runs and visiting “some very dark places in their minds during the night”.

The larger team completed 39 laps, with each runner covering ten laps, or 50 miles, and they finished a fine ninth out of 100 teams in their category, despite an injury, and were as high as fourth at one stage. In a show of terrific club unity. Hodgkinson and Cummins ran the penultimate lap together before handing over to captain Thorpe.

Less strenuous was the Inter Inns 5K Road Race at Tideswell, for which 13 runners from the Matlock club turned out, including the winner, Mike Blair, who clocked a time of 17.49 minutes.

Blair was pushed all the way by teammate Oliver Brocklehurst, while Bob Foreman was eighth and the first male veteran over the age of 60 and Mark Elwis 11th and the first male veteran over 50. Amelia Corke was 21st and the first junior female runner to finish.