72 year old Kenwynne Barber was the oldest of over 70 finishers at the two day ultra marathon double header that is the Extreme Energy Pony Express; the veteran showing great stamina to finish the 60 mile distance in 18 hours 46 mins. The May Bank Holiday weekend event in the New Forest packages two 30-mile ultras, run back-to-back. Completing even one day of the multi-terrain course is an achievement; completing both days is enough to earn you two qualifying points for the mighty Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
Participants enjoyed perfect conditions with clear skies and sunshine throughout the weekend of the third annual Pony Express. And those conditions suited Justin Montague who produced a combined two day time of 8:07:01, just three minutes behind Mark Ford's 2012 course record.
Jennifer Bradley finished top lady in 9:03:35, putting her in third place overall. Jennifer improved on her 2011 and 2012 Pony Express second places. She also made the after-dinner presentation at the overnight stop between days one and two, recounting the story of a 3300 miles coast-to-coast adventure in the USA last year.
The Pony Express challenge once again brought some impressive achievements from runners and walkers throughout the field, with nearly nine hours separating the first and last finishers, and more than 40 years of age between the youngest and oldest. One first-time ultra runner, Rochelle Williams, clocked up the first- and second-ever ultras of her running career on days one and two of the race to finish in 11:29.
Next up in the Extreme Energy event calendar is the Fan Dance Challenge, 18 May, followed by the Round the Island Ultra Challenge on 1/2 June. Details of forthcoming events are available at the Extreme Energy website.
Check out Jennifer Bradley's race report at her Running and Baking blog.