Fireplace seen running on Weston beach

PUBLISHED: 13:48 20 December 2017

Runners in fancy dress gather for Weston Athletic Club's 10K Christmas Cracker race.

Runners in fancy dress gather for Weston Athletic Club's 10K Christmas Cracker race.

Archant

Two thousand runners took part in this year’s Christmas Cracker, the 30th event organised by Weston Athletic Club.

Two thousand Santas, elves, reindeer, snowmen and even a festive fireplace all lined up to take on the 30th Christmas Cracker 10k, organised by Weston Athletic Club.

Starting and finishing on the beach by the pier, the runners created an amazing Christmas scene as they hurtled off down Weston beach towards Uphill.

The race supports Weston Hospicecare, and this year Weston Athletic Club donated £5,000 to the charity. As well as this, the Robins in Training group who followed an 11-week training programme, organised by the club to prepare for the event, also donated more than £2,000.

The race leaders from the start were Alastair Campbell from Stroud Athletic Club and Tom Lander from BAD Tri. They established a sizeable gap between them and the rest of the field, and managed to maintain it throughout the race.

They remained neck and neck right up to the final few metres when Alastair edged in front to beat Tom by just two seconds in 34.47. Keith Shapland from Bideford was third to finish over a minute later in 36.10.

Once again, Annabel Granger from Bristol and West AC outstripped all the competition to claim another convincing win in the women’s race, finishing in 38.33. This was her fifth consecutive victory at the Cracker. Jenny McNamara from Cheddar was second female in 41.22, followed by Victoria Ratcliffe in 42.12.

The main race was preceded by a junior 2k version which saw Eolin O’Hallara win the boy’s race in 7.45 and Stephanie Brooks win the girls’ race in 7.56. Oliver Chilean was second boy in 8.05 closely followed by Thomas Darton in 8.07. Keira Devereux claimed second girls’ spot in 8.15, followed by Poppy Burton-Dickie in 8.23.

Cracker race director Malcolm Gammon said: “It’s very fitting that for our 30th anniversary race we had more finishers in the 10k than ever before. And I have to say that this year, the standard was very high in the fancy dress competition with some extremely inventive costumes. Hats off to anyone who can run 10k dressed as a fireplace.

“Our winner completed the race in under 35 minutes, and we still had a steady stream of runners crossing the line over an hour later. The Cracker really is a race that everyone can enjoy, with a festive atmosphere that’s hard to beat.”

For more information about the race, including results in full, go to www.westonac.co.uk which also has information about all of the club’s 13 races throughout the year.

Anyone who missed out on the Christmas Cracker might be interested in the club’s next 10k race which takes place on New Year’s Day in Kewstoke. “The Hangover” follows an on-road course around Kewstoke and Sand Bay and is the perfect antidote to the excesses of the night before. Runners can enter online at www.westonac.co.uk/hangover by December 29 or on the day at Kewstoke Village Hall.

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