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Pattingham Bells 2015: Success rings out for runners

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Hundreds turned out for the seven-mile Pattingham Bells off road race, with competitors off all ages taking the course on.

Over 500 people took part in this year's 26th running of the Pattingham Bells and Simon Kristic, a 59-year-old aerospace engineer from Knowle near Solihull has taken part in 22 of them.

He said before the start: "I recently broke my toe, have pulled a muscle in my back and have got a cold but would not miss this race for the world. I was immediately hooked by the event because it is a true cross country race. You go through farm yards and mixed terrain. It is 45 miles from my home to get here but it is always well worth the trip."

Fleet footed Ross Jones won the seven mile Pattingham Bells off road race for the four time yesterday(sun) - and was chased all the way by the police.

The 35-year-old Wolverhampton and Bilston runner from Fordhouses was followed over the finishing line by club mate and training partner Martin Williams, 38, who lives in Sedgley and is a CID officer based at Wednesfield.

Ross said: "There is no secret to winning. It is just a matter of training hard. I enjoy this event because it is a good start to the cross country season."

Incredibly Martin had run 10 miles from his home to the start and then got on his bike - brought in his wife's car - to cycle to work after completing the course. But he is used to distance running having finished 14th in the Commonwealth Games marathon in Delhi in 2010.

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The two men will line up against each other again in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country event in Dublin on November 14 when Ross will be representing England while Martin will be wearing a Scottish vest.

Others came from as far afield as North Wales to take part but none had the beating of Hugh Turner when it came to age. The remarkable former soldier is 87 and travelled from Nuttall in Nottinghamshire to take part.

"I did a 10k race in Glasgow last week," said the man who served for 15 years in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. I have run here seven times before and really enjoy it. I will keep running as long as I can. I don't want to become an old foggy."

At the other end of the age scale was 17 year old Tony Dainty from Newport, Shropshire and a member of Newport and District Running Club. He said: "I started running in primary school and sincerely hope I am still able to compete when I am 87."

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Up to 100 people from the village helped stage and marshal the race that raised money for St Chad's Church, Pattingham, the Midlands Air Ambulance, St Chad's School and other local good causes.

Race director Tony Ainsworth said: "It went superbly well. We had really good weather and everybody who took part gave very good reports on the standard of both the marshalling and the event itself."

It was first run in 1990 to collect cash to replace the old wooden bell frame in the belfry of St. Chad's before being transformed into an annual event by its popularity.

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