Hardy runners defy the rain

Runners battle their way through the rain in the Christmas Pudding Dash at Ashburnham Place on Saturday. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (eh52013f)
Runners battle their way through the rain in the Christmas Pudding Dash at Ashburnham Place on Saturday. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (eh52013f)

Almost 300 runners tackled the eighth annual Christmas Pudding Dash at Ashburnham Place on Saturday morning.

Despite appalling wet and windy conditions, the five- mile two-lap race - which took in the unique 220 acre location near Battle designed and constructed in its present form in the mid-18th century by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown - attracted a bumper field.

A total 287 people completed the course, an improvement on the 233 recorded last December, with Rye Runners ace Jeff Pyrah taking the overall victory by more than a minute in a time of 27:15.

Junior male Philip Huleatt, of Beech Grove Academy, came second in 28:56, with third claimed by Stuart Piper in 29:33. Tina Wren, of Hastings Athletic Club, was the first woman across the finish line in a time of 36:02.

Competitors in the Nice Work-organised event fully embraced the festive theme, with large numbers dressed in Christmas attire in eager anticipation for the pudding, mulled wine and medal awaiting them at the finish line.