The Leaden Boot Challenge was a sell-out. In only the second year, all 300 places were taken. Was it that this event has been described as one of the toughest marathons in the country? Or perhaps they had heard of the delicious food on offer at the checkpoints and the home-made pie supper, at the finish? Or perhaps it was just down to the expert organisation? – Compliments heard several times during the day. 285 starters battled, not only with the 26.2 miles and the 5,800 feet of ascent (over one mile up!), but also with the weather. Uninterrupted sunshine throughout the day and temperatures in the mid 20’s meant there were many retirements with over-heating. All the more surprising then, that two paratroupers – a local lad, Alex Lilburn and brother-in-arms, Oliver Corentin, completed the entire course in just 6 hours 27 minutes, complete with a 37 lb back-pack each and full military combat gear! The picture was taken immediately after finishing. The following morning Alex said that they would be up at 5am to fly out of the country – destination unknown.
The first person home was runner Jonathan Pitts in a time of 4 hours 41 minutes. an amazing time, considering the heat and height gain. The first female runner was Tracey Hayward in 5 hours 26. After Alex, the next local participants were Tyler Frampton (7:30) and Rob Wood (8:13).
Back by popular demand was our very own “Vicar of Dibley”, Annie Ballard, who blessed the feet of 70 walkers at a short service in the Old School Garden just before the start. The “holy water” sprinkled onto their boots is thought to have anti-blistering properties. As far as we know, she didn’t receive any complaints!
listen to vicar Annie Ballard during her blessing of the feet service……Leadenboot_Blessing (recording by Dom Boucher)
The Leaden Boot Challenge was the inspiration of Noel Peat of Milldale. He came up with the idea after lead was stolen from St Peter’s Church roof (hence, The Leaden Boot). The proceeds this year will be split equally between the church and Alstonefield Memorial Hall Building Project. Accounts have yet to be finalised, but it is hoped that the net profit will exceed £4,000.
Here are some interesting comments from participants: One runner who doesn’t usually stop en-route, on reaching top of Ecton Hill was so stunned by the 360 degree views, he had to stop to take pictures. An Olympic silver medallist pronounced it very tough and demanding. Maybe that is why one walker, on leaving the village hall said, “this is the first time I have felt proud to have received a certificate!”
See the photos of the day HERE
Thanks to your support in 2012, The Leaden Boot has been able to donate £2250 each to Alstonefield Village Hall and to St. Peter’s Church. Leaden Boot Organiser, Noel Peat, is pictured here at the presentation in the Church during our Jubilee celebrations on 3rd June with Dorothy Critchlow (Village Hall) and John Reavy (Churchwarden – righ