Athletics: Dursley trio take on La Santa Lanzarote Challenge

FOR the seventh year in a row, a team of Dursley runners travelled to the La Santa Lanzarote Challenge.

The annual challenge, faced by the Dursley team of Ray Williams, Mel Williams and Fred Yearsley, consists of four races in four days.

The first race was a 10k road race around club La-Santa, in very warm and windy conditions.

The Dursley trio all had a good steady start, with Yearsley first home, Ray Williams some 43 seconds behind him, and Mel Williams just two minutes behind him.

The second challenge is a 13k ridge run. This is a multi-terrain race on road, volcanic rock and sand.

Ray Williams started in the lead, but Yearsley soon passed him as they closed in on the ridge.

Yearsley maintained his lead and finished with a 32-second advantage on Ray Williams.

Mel Williams was in a battle with the top four in her age group and had a good run to finish in third place.

The third race is the shortest, but 5k over soft sand makes it one of the toughest.

The 5k equates to two laps of a Lanzarote beach.

After a slow half lap as a warm-up, Yearsley pulled out as an old injury flared up.

The Williams pair pushed slowly through the sand to finish just two minutes apart.

However, this event saw Mel Williams slip to fourth place in her category.

The last race, a half marathon, made the challenge complete.

With the wind blowing a gale, Yearsley decided to race.

Mel Williams had her eye on the third woman in her age group, who had a 22-second advantage on her in the overall standings.

Yearsley’s day off paid dividends as he had a flier.

The wind blew to the runners’ advantage for three quarters of the race.

Yearsley finished in a great time of 1:38:45.

Ray Williams, who played safe, still had a good run, finishing in sub 1:45.

When her challenger went off like a bullet, Mel Williams wisely bided her time, and at nine kilometres she caught and passed her rival.

She eventually took a minute out of her lead, giving her third place overall in a very competitive age group.

Results: Fred Yearsley 48:13 (10k), 1:03:00 (13k), DNS (5k), 1:38:45 (21k); Ray Williams 48:56, 1:03:32, 27:49, 1:44:22; 4:04:39 (challenge); Mel Williams, 3rd v50, 51:08, 1:07:14, 29:51, 1:46:12, 4:14:21.

Chris Gaze was the only representative from Dursley Running Club at the November Weston Prom Run.

He did not match his October performance, finishing just nine seconds under the 30 minute mark, as he placed 28th overall in a field of 295 runners.

The club is offering a chance for people to try running in order to get fit in the New Year.

A structured programme of walking and running will start on January 7 at the Dursley Rugby Club. More details www.dursleyac.org.uk

The club runs from Dursley Rugby Club on Tuesday nights. Meet 6.15pm for 6.30pm. They also organise runs on Sunday and Friday mornings.

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