The Leaden Boot Challenge 2012

Leaden Boot Challenge 2012 Results

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).

But, it was also a huge challenge for the organisers and some 50 helpers and marshals. 300 entrants needed to be registered, marshalled, breakfasted, feet blessed, kept safe, timed, fed and watered at 6 checkpoints, administered first aid to, retirees transported, and fed a hot pie dinner and cake at the end. Logistically it was huge. The exhausted Leaden Boot Committee can’t thank you all enough for absolutely everything you did. Somehow, we coped with over 30 retirees, and managed to support the 257 successful finishers throughout the day. And each one was cheered in at the end.
We are starting to put together some of the stories. Country Walking Magazine were intrigued by the Blessing of the Feet Service held in the Old School Gardens at 8:30am. Some 70 people attended and sang with as much gusto as a Welsh choir. Hopefully it helped them keep blister free!
The walkers all left the Village Hall at 9am. Many villagers popped heads over dry-stone walls to see them go past. The runners left at 10am. We even managed to fit in a Family Communion Service between the two times, so families and visitors could wave them off. Checkpoint marshals headed off to their various positions, armed with chairs, tables, sun-shades, various tasty snacks, squash, hundreds of cups and litre upon litre of water. Their buckets and sponges were well used to cool baking heads. The grateful walkers and runners all commented on just how helpful and friendly they were. One checkpoint was open for 7 hours!
When the first runner came in at about 2.45pm in an amazing time of 4 hours 41mins, the kitchen army were ready with home-made hot meat and potato pies, vegetarian Red Dragon pie, a mile of home-made cakes, tea, coffee, squash and even cold beer. The last walker hobbled in over 6 hours later, supported by two of our marshals.  It was a long, but truly amazing day in Alstonefield. And the best news is that we raised a staggering amount of money for the Village Hall and the Church. Cheques will be handed over to both at the Jubilee Street Party at 6pm. To find out how much was raised, be there for one last cheer, for yourselves, for the entrants and for all the helpers who made it all possible.

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