A RECORD number of finishers — 183 — crossed the line at Princetown on Saturday in the Dartmoor Discovery ultra marathon.
Among them were three runners who clocked up 100 marathons at this year's race.
The overall winner of this popular race was Robin Tuddenham, a fell runner from the Todmorden Harriers in Yorkshire, who conquered gusting winds and high temperatures to finish the 32-mile course across Dartmoor in 3 hours 57 minutes 42 seconds.
Bideford AC runner James Murray was second, in a time of 4.01.19; Milan Goc, of Sidmouth Running Club, came third, crossing the line in 4.09.32.
Among those competing were runners from Tavistock Athletic Club, Okehampton Running Club, East Cornwall Harriers, Bere Alston Trekkers and Tamar Trotters.
The difficult conditions prevented last year's lady winner, Isobel Wykes, from bettering her 2012 time. But the Mud Crew Trail Runners nevertheless turned in a gutsy performance to win the ladies' event in 4.21.53. Rebecca Mingo, of Bere Alston Trekkers, emerged from a strong ladies' field in her first attempt at the race to claim second place, with a time of 4.30.57. Wendy Webber, who runs for Marshall Milton Keynes AC, came third, posting 4.3509.
The DD, organised by running club, the Teignbridge Trotters, is the UK's longest single-lap road race. The event is now more popular than at any time in its history and a record 183 finishers crossed the line in Princetown.
This year's race was particularly special for three runners, who all used the 2013 DD as the event with which to mark a landmark achievement – the completion of 100 marathons. Teignbridge Trotter chairman Roger Hayes, fellow Trotter Roger Hales and Les Croupiers runner Alan Mann are all now members of the renowned 100 Marathon Club.
Roger Hayes, who is also the DD's race director, said: 'Once again, the Dartmoor Discovery has produced a great day of running and I'm thrilled that a record number of runners were able to take part in this unique event. I'm particularly pleased that we had such a strong ladies' field this year and it bodes well for the future of ultra distance running. On a personal note, I'm deeply grateful to Roger Biggs and Gina Little of the 100 Marathon Club for coming down to Princetown to present the prizes. It was a great honour for Roger Hales, Alan Mann and myself to be inaugurated into the 100 Marathon Club by two of the UK's leading marathon legends.'
Starting and finishing at Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor, the DD attracts some of the country's top ultra distance runners, as well as hardy enthusiasts of all ages. It combines stunning views with several tough hills and notoriously unpredictable weather, resulting in a true test of body and soul.
The Trotters emerged the top team with a great performance from Garry Smart (4.11.19), Lance Mason (4.19.15) and Allen Taylor (4.49.06).
The Mud Crew Trail Runners won the ladies' team event. Isobel Wykes was ably supported by East Cornwall Harrier Sharon Daw (5.03.18) and Sharon Sullivan (5.50.38).
An estimated 120 people took part in the large and complex logistical operation required to support the runners as they battled their way around the long course. Members of the Dartmoor Radio Club and St John Ambulance contributed their specialist skills, alongside a small army of volunteers in a variety of roles, from marshalling and timekeeping to staffing water stations and providing catering.
This year's race was sponsored by Ironbridge Runner, St Austell Brewery, Ashfords Solicitors, the Road Runners Club, South Dartmoor Community College and the Ilsington Hotel.