Muddy Meon Valley Plod provides epic endurance test

Patrick Stephenson, of Denmead Striders, in action in the Meon Valley Plod. Picture: James Sharman
Patrick Stephenson, of Denmead Striders, in action in the Meon Valley Plod. Picture: James Sharman
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The Meon Valley Plod lived up to its reputation as a brutal test on Sunday.

Race director Phil Hoy, of host club Portsmouth Joggers, and his team delivered an extremely challenging and rewarding event.

David Harvey. Picture: James Sharman

David Harvey. Picture: James Sharman

Guildford & Godalming’s Adam Stirk finished first as he completed the gruelling 21-mile course in a time of 2hr 52min 09sec.

Patrick Stephenson, who runs for Denmead Striders, took second place in 2.54.30, while Tom Bertram crossed the line third in 2.55.45.

Daisy Hall was first lady as she finished in 3.11.20, with her Stubbington Green Runners club-mate Vicky Shaw second (3.18.12).

It was a great race for Stubbington Green who won the team prizes for the men and ladies.

Meanwhile, David Harvey won the prize for first male finisher from host club Portsmouth Joggers (PJC) as he finished in 3.27.26. Rachael Eddershaw was first PJC lady (3.42.57).

Denmead’s Stephenson was pleased to secure second place.

He said: ‘It was really tough, probably the hardest race I have done.

‘Near the end there was a long stretch of mud that was between ankle and knee deep. It was nasty.

‘The mud made it feel like your feet were being glued to the floor.

‘I was in first until about 15 to 16 miles.

‘When we came to that long muddy stretch it really slowed me down. My energy had been sapped pretty badly.

‘The guy who won looked strong. He finished really well.

‘Then I just collapsed at the finish, I was looking forward to that moment for quite a while during the race.

‘I would have liked to win but I’m really happy with second place.’

Stephenson is training for his first full Ironman triathlon race in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August.

A total of 203 hardy runners completed the Meon Valley Plod.

Gemma Green who will be lining up in the famous six-day Marathon des Sables race, in the Sahara Desert, in April, found the plod a perfect test.

She is raising money for PARCS (Portsmouth abuse and rape counselling service) and has been helped in her preparation by Tony Conway, vice chairman of the Portsmouth Joggers.

‘I like hills so I was pleased to see many of those,’ Green said.

‘The plod mud was perfect training for me for the sand of the Sahara.

‘I am very grateful to Phil, the organisers, the marshals and all the runners of the Plod, who were all incredibly friendly and supportive.

‘At the end, I slipped into the fence and gave myself a shock which woke me up. I think the marshal even managed not to laugh which must have been hard.’

Rob Byrne, of Gosport Road Runners, finished 14th in 3.11.49 as he prepares for his big challenge of 10 marathons in 10 days in May for the The Brathay Trust charity.