[A] local running team has taken finished second overall on a tough national ultra marathon – on their very first attempt at a major running event.
The four-person Josh’s Joggers team tackled the relay section of Rat Race The Wall last weekend, a 69-mile multi-terrain event which took runners over a gruelling course following Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle Castle to the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle.
Personal trainer Josh Dowson from Penrith was joined by Dick Cormack, Dave Ferguson and Caroline Martin from Carlisle, with the new partnership formed just two weeks before the race.
Running individual sections of around 15-17 miles each, and handing the baton over at pit-stops along the route, all four completed the last seven-mile stretch together to cross the finish line 10 hours 49 minutes after starting from Carlisle Castle at 7am on Saturday morning. It was an incredible achievement as none had competed on a long-distance running event before.
Glenn Patterson from Carlisle took on the main solo event, with a finish time of 15 hours 33 minutes placing him 138th overall.
The route took in some historic Roman landmarks including Lanercost Priory, Birdoswald and Vindolanda forts before visiting Hexham and following the River Tyne into Newcastle. It attracted entries from across Europe and, while nearly 700 people lined up at the start, only 450 made it to the finish within the 24-hour time limit.
Josh Dowson said: “Finishing second overall was something we never imagined was possible. We are just a group of friends who randomly came together a few weeks ago as we were all attracted by the challenge of The Wall and the relay seemed like the perfect option.
“It was a demanding event with lots of different terrain and weather to deal with and we all had our own individual challenging sections. We had no idea of our position until crossing the finish line so it was a huge surprise to have such a strong result on a demanding and notorious event.”