THE Stockbridge fun run made a return at the weekend, after a break last year due to Covid-19.

Entrants geared up ready to take on the 34th George Skeates Cross-Country.

Entries came from far afield with the usual good turnout from Romsey Road Runners, despite a clash of dates with a league event.

Derek Kelly of Romsey Road Runners, celebrated his 77th birthday running the long course including the notorious Gum Boot Gully in one hour and 31 minutes.

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His teammates were on the finish line to sing Happy Birthday to him as he crossed the line and others joined in.

Alan and Kevin, both in their late 60s rode the long cycle course. Kevin had been intending to participate in a road race but it was cancelled due to black ice on the route and decided to keep Alan company instead and the organisers said they are very glad he did.

Zodwa Chosokela, who was previously a member of a club but has been running on her own for last couple of years due to Covid, ran the event for the first time. She intended to do the short run but was swept along by other runners and ran the whole 7.75 miles in the respectable time of one hour and 53 minutes.

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An event spokesperson said: “Congratulations to her. We hope everyone enjoyed the event; the 35th iteration is tentatively set for 8 January 2023.”

First in the Long Run (eight miles) was Justin Cooper with a time of 53 minutes, followed by Lee Syrett, Matt Hersby and James Blyth. The first woman home was Fay Bromilow in one hour and 15 minutes, second place Agata McGarry with a similar time, and Sue Sylvester and Liz Slade of Romsey Road Runners who ran together in 3rd and 4th with just over one hour and 22 minutes.

Ross Wayne came first in the Short Run (just over three miles) with a time of 25 minutes and 35 seconds, followed home by ladies B Thompson (31 minutes) and Caroline Lucas (32.35). Cationa/Katrina James. Eleven-year-old Bella James and David James also ran the short course in a very respectable 38 minutes.

Long cross-country cycle: Colin Ings in first place (37 minutes) followed by James Dance and Tim Ponting in second and third. Jo Ponting was first placed lady (time not recorded) followed by Julia Downs in (one hour and two minutes).

The E-bikes were first home with Brett Wilkinson, Rob Wilkinson and Jamie Wilkinson in 27 minutes.

The short cycle ride was completed in 48 minutes by Laura Turner, three-year-old Charlie Green and Dean Turner. The spot prize was won by number 69, David Cox.

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Kimberley Barber