Runners spoilt for choice at Ely Run Fest 2019

PUBLISHED: 15:13 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:22 01 October 2019

Ashleigh Blackman-Doyle (centre), running leader of Let's Run Girls Club, pictured with Ely Tri Run Fest competitors. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.

Ashleigh Blackman-Doyle (centre), running leader of Let's Run Girls Club, pictured with Ely Tri Run Fest competitors. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.

Archant

Running enthusiasts were spoilt for choice when it came to this year's Ely Run Fest, which was held on Sunday September 29.

Justin Smith, Martin Lewis and Lisa Long after their 42-mile Ely Tri Fest Ultra Marathon. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.Justin Smith, Martin Lewis and Lisa Long after their 42-mile Ely Tri Fest Ultra Marathon. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.

The intermittent wet and windy weather conditions didn't deter top athletes or club runners from taking part in one of the four events: Let's Get Moving 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon or the Ultra Marathon - a 42 mile/68km slog which attracted 400 participants that included the women only initiative Lets Run Girls Ely.

Peter Vasey, a keen triathlete with the Ely Tri Club, said: "The Run Fest was gifted to Ely Tri Club by local event organisers Paul and Liz Heselwood so the club could develop further and extend its involvement into the local sporting community."

There are many personal achievement over adversity stories behind the list of entrants; like local runner Lisa Long (Redman) who has been a member of Ely Runners since 2007.

Don Abeysekera with the rest of his Ely Run Fest Marathon running buddies. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.Don Abeysekera with the rest of his Ely Run Fest Marathon running buddies. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.

She was accompanied in the 42-mile Ultra Marathon by this year's Ely Award winning sporting hero Justin Smith, as well as Ely Runners colleague Martin Lewis. Lisa didn't take up running until he was 32.

Having undergone many operations as a child and suffering a broken back at 21, it was the last big op when he was 29 and the need to exercise after it that started her running career.

A dental nurse for 31 years, she has now competed in 36 marathons, ultras and a 100km run, but is always happy to regularly participate in her local Littleport Parkrun.

Togetherness is running in last Sunday's Ely Run Fest Half Marathon. Pictured are Nicola Knott, Jane Hill and Clare Dell. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.Togetherness is running in last Sunday's Ely Run Fest Half Marathon. Pictured are Nicola Knott, Jane Hill and Clare Dell. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.

Lisa's husband Justin who is also a runner himself, representing Newmarket Joggers, is in awe of his wife's achievements.

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He said: "On June 22, Lisa became the only lady to complete the Norfolk 100km having previously run the Kings Forest 50k and the Peddlars Way Ultra to achieve the positive steps 'Grand Slam'. Well done Redman, I am just so proud of you."

Picture taken by Ely Runner and Ely  Tri Fest Marathon competitor Don Abeysekera enjoying the event with his  fellow runners. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.Picture taken by Ely Runner and Ely Tri Fest Marathon competitor Don Abeysekera enjoying the event with his fellow runners. Picture: CATHY GIBB-DE SWARTE.

And having challenged herself to compete in 30 events in her 30th year, Ashleigh Blackman-Doyle, who is the running leader of the Let's Run Girls Club, has now collected an amazing tally of 30 medals.

She said: "I am super proud of so many of my lovely friends running the Ely Half Marathon and 10k. Everyone was truly amazing including Mandy Hilditch, Clare Dell, Diane Graven, Emma Briggs, Elizabeth Carter, Amanda Beavis, Beth Spalding, Jane Hill and Nicola Peck."

This year's Littleport 10k MS charity team runner Amanda Beavis said afterwards: "This was my fifth half marathon, but I was only too happy to accompany first timer Liz Carter, who I have trained with Ely Runners, and the Let's Run Girls Running Club.

"I am so delighted that she smashed her target time by 16 minutes."

The Ely Run Fest in partnership with East Cambridgeshire District Council's Let's Get Moving Project was designed to encourage people to challenge themselves and set a new goal in getting active.

Ely Tri Club thanks all the marshals, the support of ECDC, Ely Cathedral, Wicken Fen, King's Ely, and the sponsors, RMS Horizon, Fortis Fitness and Sutton Soft Tissue Therapy.

The general opinion of all who took part is they are looking forward to next year's event being even bigger.

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