It’s been over 2 years since Newport & District Running Club have hosted an in-person race. The 2019 Tibberton Trot took place in September of that year, and since then, flooding in the winter of 2019-20 and the pandemic have put paid to all non-virtual races. At 11:00am on December 27th 2021, the long wait was finally at an end, as the Wheaton Aston 10k got underway. The race took its usual spot on the calendar, two days after Christmas Day, and the weather was a bit bleak, with mizzly rain falling for most of the duration of the race. 

It’s not unknown for Lawley Running Club members to dress as smurfs for this particular race!

The race started and finished at Wheaton Aston Primary School, with the runners taking in a loop of the lanes surrounding the village, after a brief tour of the village to start with. The lanes were full of puddles, but the floods which caused the cancellation of the race in 2019 were thankfully absent, and this year, there were no reports of sheep blocking the road as there were in 2018!

Overall winner Lloyd Biddell

The battle for the win was very closely fought throughout, and the overall winner, Lloyd Biddell, crossed the finish line in a very quick time of 32 minutes, 45 seconds, just 3 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Craig Pilsbury (32:48). Christopher Ashford rounded out the podium, also under the 33 minute mark, clocking a time of 32:54. The ladies’ competition was also fairly close, with Kelly Butler of Birchfield Harriers taking the win, and 21st position overall, in a time of 37:21. Kelly’s clubmate Carli Baldwin was second in 38:02, and 24th overall, just ahead of third placed Olivia Harris of Royal Sutton Coldfield AC, who was 25th in 38:13.

Ladies winner Kelly Butler

Overall, 391 runners took part, and there were a wide range of participants, including club members and unaffiliated runners. Amongst others, some of the clubs in attendance were: Lawley RC, Aldridge RC, Telford Harriers, Sneyd Striders, The Yellow Army, Wrekin Road Runners, Dudley Kingswinford RC, Wolves & Bilston AC, and many more. Also in attendance were runners from organising club Newport & District RC, of which first to finish was Richard Bennett, who finished 81st overall in a time of 44:00. Not far behind in pursuit was Charlotte Chapman, who ran a time of 44:28 to take 84th place overall.

NDRC’s Richard Bennett
NDRC’s Charlotte Chapman chasing down Luke Phillips, with John Higgins and Jamie Grainger in pursuit

Other NDRC runners to compete included Jonathan Pierce, who was 113th with a time of 47:05, Oliver Stokes, who finished 126th in 48:17, and Vance Heath, who ran a PB time of 49:12 to take 130th spot. Matching Vance’s time was John Metzger, who was 131st overall, just ahead of Gary Mountford, whose time of 49:34 was enough to seal 133rd place. Philip Hardy was 193rd in 52:41, and Selwyn Plant was 22nd in a time of 55:01. Tracey Powell was 288th with her time of 1:00:56, whilst Husband and wife team Lisa (317th) and Simon (318th) Yap ran together for a time of 1:04:16, and Louise Patterson was pleased with her PB and first ever sub-65 minute time of 1:04:23 to finish 319th.

Simon and Lisa Yap strike a pose!

Mark and Liz McEvilly finished very close together, with Mark (335th, 1:05:35) finishing just ahead of Liz (338, 1:05:40). Anne Richards was 345th in 1:06:11, and Louise Heath was 358th in a time of 1:07:33. John Stokes clocked a time of 1:10:45 in 369th position. Huge thanks go to everyone who entered and took part on the day, and especially to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make the race happen – all the marshalls, officials, organisers, and of course Race Director Ian Vann! We hope to see you all next year for the 2022 edition!

The rain wasn’t going to get these runners’ spirits down!

Race results: https://www.stuweb.co.uk/race/2qY

Race photos (free download): https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y3AHFFxw1rsD3V3j8

Race photos (paid download): https://www.stuweb.co.uk/…/12/27/3696/9360/photos_01.html