Congratulations to the 70+ runners who joined us in the New Forest on May Bank Holiday weekend for the third annual Pony Express. As ever, we were impressed by the sheer determination and stamina of everyone who took part, from the racers at the front of the pack, to the last walkers to make it through the finish line.
Our Pony Express Challenge is more than just an ultra-marathon: it’s two 30-mile ultras, run back-to-back over the two days on the May bank holiday weekend. Completing even one day of the multi-terrain course is an achievement; completing both days is enough to earn you two qualifying points for the mighty UTMB.
Nearly nine hours separated the first and last finishers in this year’s Pony, and an astonishing 46 years of age separated the oldest and youngest. Special mentions go to all our first-time ultra runners, who clocked up the first- and second-ever ultras of their running careers on days one and two of the race; to all our sponsored runners, who put in such amazing efforts to support some great causes; and to our sprightly veterans including Kenwynne Barber, 72, and Malcolm Parker, 71, who completed the course in 18h 46 and 12h 53 respectively. Kenwynne described the race as ‘another “F” week-end, as in Fabulous!!!’, and again we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve read and heard from all of you.
Podium places this year went to Justin Montague, who won the men’s race with an impressive combined 2-day time of 8:07:01, just three minutes behind Mark Ford’s 2012 course record; Austin Jarrett, second place, and George Knights, third in the men’s race. The women’s title went to Jennifer Bradley, our after-dinner speaker and second-placed lady in the 2011 and 2012 Pony Express, who finished in third place overall in 9:03:35. Second lady was Paula Hewitt, followed by Extreme Energy Envoy Michelle Double who was also placed third in the Pilgrim Challenge back in February.
“a new forest pony queues for an ice cream!”
Jennifer has already blogged about her race at Running and Baking. If you took part in the Pony Express (or any of our races) this year, and you’ve blogged about it – or if you’d like to write a race report for our blog – we’d love to hear from you.
Next up in the our event calendar is next weekend’s Fan Dance Challenge followed by the Round the Island Ultra Challenge on 1st/2nd June, and it’s great to see so many familiar names on the entry list. If yours isn’t there yet, it’s not too late to sign up and join us on the Isle of Wight!