Marathon runners conquer Festival of Two Feet

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13 August 2017 6:58PM

MARATHON runners young and old laced up their shoes and hit the Ulverston streets this weekend.

The weekend-long Festival of Two Feet saw runners, strollers and walkers come together to conquer Ulverston's Hoad.

Following an array of events on Saturday, the Hoad Hill marathon and half marathon returned to the streets today.

Wayne Singleton, said: "It's been brilliant. The marathon and half marathon both went off without any issues at all and it's a beautiful, sunny day. It's starting to cloud over a little but it's better than yesterday and it'll help the marathon runners especially because they'll get quite warm to say the least. "The marathon course is quite a tough test today, and the half marathon isn't so bad apart from the final stretch up Hoad with a few lumps and bumps."

Saturday's action saw a festival goers take part in the 5km, 10km and King and Queen of Hoad events.

Gaynor Prior, event director at Pure Outdoor Events who is running the festival, said: "It's all gone really well today. The King and Queen of Hoad was brilliant.

"I think it was really good and the people who took part seemed to enjoy it a lot.

"We had a lot of people last year asking if we'd run some smaller distance events so that's why wanted to do these events today.

"And the sun came out for the afternoon. We had a few showers this morning but I can't be disappointed, this is the Lake District."

The first day of action saw the inaugural King and Queen of Hoad event, which challenged runners to run, or walk, up to the Sir John Barrow Monument and back down as many times as possible in one hour.

Mark Bonner took the crown after maintaining a five-minute rep throughout the hour, completing 12 laps in that time, while Davina Harrison was crowned queen after chalking up eight laps.

She said: "It's tough because it's so steep, especially coming down.

"I was trying to do as many laps as the men and I nearly did, even though I was only expecting to do four.

"The encouragement from everyone at the bottom was good.

"Next year I'm going to train and try to do 10. As soon as I entered it I thought I'd better do some training but I didn't manage to do a lot, and now I'm doing the half marathon tomorrow."

Mr Bonner said: "It was really good and enjoyable. It's about as steep as you'd expect.

"It started to get really tough. You set off quickly but you've got to pace yourself.

"I'm really pleased with my 12. I do like getting out running and going up and down hills so I thought I'd give this a go."

As well as the royal challenge, Ford Park also held a 5k and 10k race around Ulverston.

Both races were won, in record time, by Nathanael-Jon Ingram, who is also set to take part in the marathon tomorrow morning.

He said: "It was amazing and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"I'm training for the Grand Tour of Skiddaw, which is a 44-mile race.

"I'm trying to do as much as I can so I'm really pleased to have won both these today. I don't care where I finish in that as long as I do."

There was also a chance for runners and well-wishers on the sidelines to enjoy a free taster session of Nordic walking.

Nicola Sproson, of Nic's Nordic Walks, said: "I've introduced a few people to it, and even someone who is thinking about becoming an instructor.

"I try to raise awareness of Nordic walking as something that's not just for sedentary people to get going, although it's great for that. We're trying to inspire people to get out in the fells.

"It's an alternative exercise and involves using 90 per cent of your muscles, so there's no need to go to the gym.

"We teach running with poles too. I teach a broad spectrum of people of all ages, disabilities and fitness levels. I've inspired a few people today so I'm happy with that."

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