Belvoir Tri takes on the Belvoir Challenge

Belvoir Challenge 

Last weekend, the famous Belvoir Challenge was back with a bang, with over 1000 entrants registering to take on either the 15 or 26 mile routes. Participants follow footpaths, byways, tracks and minor roads throughout the beautiful Vale of Belvoir and with the permission of the Duke of Rutland, the course goes through the Belvoir Estate. Both routes start and finish at Harby Village Hall, but each year they are varied in order to keep it fresh and interesting for entrants. The 2022 route saw the runners and walkers leave Harby and head through Stathern and Branston. 15.2 mile entrants then turned right to head through Eastwell and Goadby Marwood, whereas the 26.4 mile competitors headed out through Belvoir, Woolsthorpe and Croxton Kerrial before meeting up with their 15.2 mile counterparts and heading back to Harby. 

The race is organised by the Friends of Harby School, who work hard all year round to support school activities and events. Their main fundraising event each year is the Belvoir Challenge, which takes an extraordinary amount of organisation, input and support from the local community. This allows Harby School to fund the library, museum loan books, music tuition, theatre trips and ICT resources, amongst many other endeavours. 

Ask any Belvoir Challenge alumni why they thought the race was so fantastic, and you’ll likely hear back “the food!” Due to the gruelling nature of the race they’ve submitted themselves to, entrants famously benefit from multiple ‘checkpoints’ along the way. Here they find an abundance of home-made cakes and refreshments, outdoing anything that can be found in any other race. All competitors receive a hot meal at the finish line to refuel, too. This has understandably made the race incredibly popular amongst local runners! Entrants this year were blessed with sunshine, with Claudette Joint saying “it could not have been a more perfect day for it. The course was slightly different to previous years - a little more road and hard path, but the same mud, undulating ups and downs and most amazing feed stations! I wish I could have packed a little take-away box at Goady Marwood! 

There was such a brilliant party atmosphere at the start and all the participants and marshals were so friendly - I spent much of the 15 miles chatting and laughing! The sunshine was an unexpected but very welcome addition this year!”

Belvoir Tri Club had 14 runners taking part across the two distances. Competing in the 26 mile race, Bohdan Dawyd was the first man home from BTC, completing the course in 04:05:45. This made Bohdan 26th man home! Next back was Nick Conboy (04:32:54), followed swiftly by Sophie Davies (04:32:55). This incredible time made Sophie 11th lady home overall. From the 15 mile entrants, Gerry Hyde came home in 02:14:46. Next back was Joe Hayes (02:24:10), followed by Anne Walton (02:30:17) who was 8th lady home. Next was Chris Masters (02:46:12), Claudette Joint achieved a personal best and was 23rd lady home in 02:46:26. Stephen Gabbutt (02:49:44) was then followed by Claire Armstrong (02:56:24), Mark Berry (02:57:41), Chris Pugh (03:08:09), Louise Hyde (03:08:09) and Jo Grace (03:33:31). Jo said of the race “I walked the 15 mile route with my son Michael.

It was a fantastic event, very well signposted and great cake stops. We were so lucky with the weather and the route took as across so beautiful countryside.”

All of the Belvoir Tri Club competitors had nothing but positive feedback, with Claire Armstrong commenting that the course was “muddy and a real challenge. There were lots of lovely people, awesome feed stations and awesome marshals. That’s the reason why you keep going back each year.” Chairman Chris Pugh is looking forward to 2023, saying “The Belvoir Challenge. It was a race I said I'd never do ... but I decided to book on. The race was great, although not as muddy as previous years it still had it's fair share which was what it is all about. The stunning countryside, the fully stocked food stops, and running with my fellow club members made it a memorable day. I may even enter next year!”

Group shot photo L-R is Gerry Hyde, Claire Armstrong, Sophie Davies, Chris Masters, Claudette Joint, Jo Grace, Michael Grace, Chris Pugh, Louise Hyde, Joe Hayes, Neil Hayes