Sunday’s Cross Bay Challenge lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest events in the country with competitors facing gale force winds and waist-deep channels of icy water as they made their way from Hest Bank to the Flookburgh foreshore.
The 11th annual edition of the event encompassed three separate races – half marathon, a family friendly walk and a ‘Fat Bike’ cycle race – and attracted over 500 participants. The only tidal race in the world, the half marathon’s course is said to date back to the 13th century when local abbotts served as guides to travellers.
Departing from Silverdale in Lancashire, over 200 runners successfully made the pilgrimage to Cumbria in the most challenging conditions the race has witnessed. Lewis Banton headed the field in an impressive time of 1:37:17, with Paul Singleton second. Vikki Murphy, 46, was top in the female competition in 2:06:31 with Louise Nash, 46, taking the second place spot in 2:15:15.
While the weather may have added to what was already a tough ask, it enhanced the sense of occasion, as competitor Ian Waddingham commented: “It was a great but tough run. The wind was determined to blow us back to the shore. Thanks for putting on such a brilliant event. I will remember it for a long time!”
CancerCare's Christine Wardle reflected on the day: “We don't call it a challenge for nothing! Without doubt our hardest and windiest Cross Bay Challenge to date.
“A huge thank you to all the brave runners, walkers and cyclists who battled the conditions for CancerCare - we were literally blown away by their efforts! Sponsor money is still coming in but we hope to smash our fundraising target of £15,000.”