For the second weekend in a row the weather played a significant part in the lives of some Long Eaton runners. Four hardy souls set out to tackle the Rowbotham Round Rotherham, a combined walking and running event of 50 miles over footpaths, canal towpaths and minor roads roughly following the boundary of the borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire.
Ian Wallis set off in the walking event at 6am while Phil Walters, Colin Bostock and Eddie Mathieson took part in the running event setting off at 7am. Eddie soon left Colin and Phil behind and set a blistering pace in his first ultra race, while Colin and Phil started steadily sticking together until the first checkpoint at 10 miles. Suitably refreshed Phil pushed on ahead keeping his 8 1/2 hour target on track.
After 4 hours the pleasant weather was replaced by strong, biting cold winds and rain making the going difficult. Eddie started to suffer and Phil caught him by the half way point at Treeton having passed Ian before Rother Valley Country Park. After a quick pit stop the pair set off together but Eddie soon realised he couldn't continue and Phil accompanied him back to the checkpoint suspecting the onset of hyperthermia. Shortly afterwards, Ian arrived at Treeton and stopped for a 10 minute break to refuel and don extra warm kit for the next stretch. Colin arrived shivering from the cold and, having slid on the mud agravating his back injury (which had confined him to bed only 2 weeks before) made the sensible decision to retire there also.
The second half of the race started with slippy, muddy field after slippy, muddy field in driving rain and freezing temperatures and for the next 15 miles or so the underfoot conditions were very difficult. Phil pressed on with a small group of runners for company and his long distance experience stood him in good stead as he completed the course in just under 10 hours, a fantastic time in those circumstances. Unfortunately Ian joined the ever increasing number of retirements as hamstring cramps forced him out at 38 miles.
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