2023's Ham & Lyme was possibly the best Albion Running event yet - the atmosphere was just incredible; various running clubs well represented, a great blend of previous and first-time runners, several previous winners on the start line along with winners and podium finishers of other Albion events.
The 50k race we knew was going to be fast and whoever held on most successfully would take the victory. Ash Mansfield was right in the mix from the start and he started to pull away from the other leaders from around half way. Last year's winner Matt Clist was 2nd for quite some time but severe cramp meant he was overtaken by Richard Hardy and a very excited Rob Collier, who made up the rest of the podium. Ash's victory was his second in an Albion event - he was the first winner of Conquest of Avalon 30 Miler alongside Charles Crooks in 2017. 1st female was Sarah Trim, who ran strong from the start and actually took the lead when another runner took a wrong turning but powered to the finish to take a deserved victory. Mairi Davies was 2nd for the second year running with Anna Ridewood taking 3rd.
The 100k race was a masterclass from the Bovey brothers from start to finish. Rob Spence was giving them a run for their money early on but sadly had to DNF around half way. The only question was would it be Jan or Jody who reached Lyme first? Well Jan took a relatively early lead and held onto it for hours, slowly pulling away as the day went on. These two lads are hugely popular with the other runners due to their encouraging approach and positive attitude; this year after a couple of podium finishes they showed that all of their training this year had really paid off. Jan took the victory with Jody 20 minutes behind him. 3rd was Craig Foley, who had put some serious time into recceing the course and reaped the rewards. There were no less than 4 runners who had completed the 100 miler jus six weeks previously. One was prolific ultra racer Emma Challis, who completed yet another tough race here. Sadly Simon Clayson had to DNF, but Matt Constance and Pawel Baranowski recorded their finishes and in good time - Matt was the first of the four to make it to Lyme. Jessica Stuber was victorious in the womens' race, saying that she'd got lost a few times because she'd been too busy enjoying the scenery to look at the gpx file on her watch! A very strong run, and she said she may well be back next year so is likely to do even better :)
As always, Ham & Lyme is not just about the winners and it was fantastic to see several multiple time finishers claim another medal. Nick Sale, who has won the 50k previously, was this time running with his son and daughter Rich and Eve - they showed fantastic determination to get to the end having not run anything of this distance previously. Several runners finally got their hands on that famous ammonite medal after being injured a couple of years running at the time of the race. Some of the final finishers in the 50k reacted with pure emotion at reaching the end, which is always inspiring to see. Too many special mentions to list them all but kudos to Alan Hornibrook who finished in the top third of the field as a V65 runner!
SOME FEEDBACK FROM THIS YEAR's RACE: -
"Just a brief note to say thank you for a fantastic event on Saturday. To call it a race doesn't seem to cover all the bases!
From a fantastic route, the gpx, course marking, aid stations, it was all great.
The course was amazing, a little bit of everything the English countryside has to offer all in one day, and a fabulous finish on the front at Lyme. I won't forget the run down from Ham Hill, it was like running through the jungle."
"Thank you for putting on such a great event on Saturday. This was my first 50k ultra and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The course was well marked out ( even I didn’t get lost! ), the marshalls and checkpoints were all so welcoming, friendly and supportive.
The scenery from the course was stunning and in particular when the coast line came into view.
And the fellow runners were all, without exception, so cheerful, supportive and helpful. Particularly aiding me over some of those stiles which my aged legs struggled with!"
The Ham & Lyme races take in the stunning Liberty Trail, which runs from Ham Hill Country Park in Somerset to Lyme Regis in Dorset, taking in some fabulous locations along the way, including the enchanting Wayford Woods, the breathtaking panoramas from Lambert's Castle (if the mist stays away!) and a number of pretty villages, before descending to wonderful Lyme Regis with its famous Cobb
This is a cracking route; really showcases rural Somerset/Dorset at their best, and although the route is hilly in places and the ground occasionally uneven you will be running through such quaint landscapes that it won't matter so much! The route is based on one taken by six villagers who went to join the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, so you will literally be running through history
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE 50k STARTS AT HAM HILL COUNTRY PARK, THE 100k STARTS IN LYME REGIS
Cut-off times - 8 hours for 50k, 17 hours for 100k (please note, cut-off times are a guide and we will normally allow a little leeway on the shorter race but have to be strict on the 100k cut-off because of licensing/volunteers etc.)
2023 PRICES: -
100k - £65
50k - £35
ENTRIES AVAILABLE VIA OUR ONLINE STORE. ENTRIES ONLY REFUNDABLE IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THAT THE RACE HAS TO BE CANCELLED, BUT IF YOU ARE NO LONGER WISHING TO TAKE PART OR ARE UNABLE TO THEN IF THE RACE IS FULL WE WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO FIND SOMEONE TO TAKE YOUR PLACE, AND THEIR ENTRY FEE WILL GO TO YOU. IF THE RACE HAS NOT REACHED CAPACITY THEN YOU ARE WELCOME TO TRANSFER YOUR PLACE TO SOMEBODY ELSE AS LONG AS YOU MAKE US FULLY AWARE BEFORE THE DAY.
New Course (featuring off road section around Forde Abbey):-
50k - Ash Mansfield - 4:09:20 (2023)
100k - Jan Bovey - 10:39:20 (2023)
Fastest Females: -
50k - Sarah Trim - 5:11:02 (2023)
100k - Jessica Stuber - 13:10:17 (2023)
50k - Chris Southern - 4:07:41 (2018)
100k - Spencer Bun - 9:55:18 (2018)
Fastest Females: -
50k - Helen Wright - 4:59:37 (2017)
100k - Holly Stables - 10:14:10 (2021)
WHAT DO YOU GET?: -
Medal for all finishers
Aid Stations - 3 fully stocked aid stations during 50k (plus one at finish) with a good range of the usual food you might expect at an ultra race along with water, 6 fully stocked aid stations during 100k. A couple of additional stations with water plus a very small amount of food
Marshalls for the point at which a busy road is to be crossed
Well marked course
Trophies for first man and first woman
Coach transport back to the start for those doing 50k who require it
A race on a stunning trail that passes by or through a number of popular locations
Free car parking at start (limited - please arrange lift-sharing or to get dropped off and picked up where possible; we can help with this if necessary)
AID STATIONS 50k (for 100k each of these will be in reverse for the first half and there will be an aid station at the half way point at Ham Hill Country Park in addition)
CP1 - OLD STAGECOACH INN, MISTERTON (Station Road, Crewkerne, Somerset, TA18 8AL)
This aid station will be in front of the Old Stagecoach Inn, which is just as you emerge from a footpath close to Crewkerne Train Station
CP2 – POOLE’S LANE, ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH, WINSHAM (Poole’s Lane, Winsham, Somerset, TA20 4JB)
This aid station will not be AT the church this year due to a wedding taking place on the day but will be at Poole’s Lane alongside the church
CP3 - below LAMBERT'S CASTLE, NR. MARSHWOOD (Nr. Marshwood, Dorset, DT6 region)
The aid station is not at the top of Lambert’s Castle but will be on the approach; you will see it as you emerge at the top of the hill where you begin to head up (other side on the way back of course!)
CP4 - A35 ROAD CROSSING nr. PENN FARM (Penn Farm, Axminster Road, DT6 6BZ)
There is a small parking area on either side of the road. The volunteers will make sure you cross the road safely and will provide some basic refreshments if you need them (water and some basic foodstuffs) – on the way out to Ham Hill on 100k there will be no aid station there as it is so early in the route