The mince pies will taste all the sweeter for Diane Roy this Christmas after her excellent performance in the Harbour 50k Challenge.
The athlete, based in Cornwall, finished first lady in the maiden Portsmouth ultra race hosted by Believe & Achieve.
It’s a good one to do before Christmas because you get to have guilt-free wine and guilt-free mince piesDiane Roy
She originally entered the marathon.
But after discovering the 50k (31 miles) race was also taking place on Sunday there was no hesitation in upgrading for the 100 Marathon Club member.
That proved a wise move as she finished with a time of 4hr 9min 21sec.
Louise Ferriman, of Cookham, was second lady in 4.19.18.
Third place went to Rebecca Stark, of Reading Roadrunners who clocked 4.22.14.
While Roy has regularly competed in the marathons, hosted each year by Rob Piggott in Portsmouth, she was delighted to see the ultra added to the schedule.
She said: ‘I only realised last week the ultra was on.
‘I was in the marathon for ages and then I upgraded to the ultra so it was a good decision in the end.
‘It was the first time the ultra was on so I decided to do that. I do quite like ultras.’
‘This was my 101st race of marathon distance or more.
‘I got my 100 marathon t-shirt a few weeks ago so this was the first journey it has made.
‘It was the fourth time I have turned up in Portsmouth for these events in December.
‘I’m from Liverpool but I live in Cornwall and I come along every year. This is so popular.
‘Every year I have done it there are thousands of runners.
‘Now they have got the half marathon and the ultra they cater for an even bigger spectrum of runners.
‘It’s a good atmosphere and it’s a good one to do before Christmas because you get to have guilt-free wine and guilt-free mince pies.’
As is tradition with races that finish along the seafront in Southsea, the wind was present to batter the runners on the final section of the course.
Some heavy rain and lots of mud also made it a difficult course overall.
Roy enjoyed the challenge even though she could understand why some might have looked at their finishing times and hoped for better.
She added: ‘Because it’s flat you think you can do quite a good speed.
‘But you can’t because the mud is so slippery and it’s quite treacherous.
‘Then you’ve got beachy bits when you are running on pebbles.
‘The weather was a bit unkind at times.
‘Every year I do it that promenade gets longer.
‘It was good fun. You get lots of familiar faces out there.
‘You’ve got two lanes of running traffic, people going out and people coming back.
‘It’s nice to see everyone.’
Don’t miss The News on Wednesday for a full list of finishers from the marathon, half marathon and ultra races.
Click below for more race reports from the great Believe & Achieve event