Twenty Biggleswade Athletic Club members braved searing hot weather to compete in the Run Bedford 10k on Sunday.
With the temperature already ticking upwards from 25C on the start line, things heated up considerably both in terms of conditions and competition out on the course.
First home for BAC was Richard Bevan, who was 31st home overall of 987 finishers on the day, in 37min 6sec.
Next up came John Stott, dipping inside the top 100 as he came 99th in 42:58.
Well inside the 50 minute mark came Philip Housden, who crossed the line 247th in 49:34, while Malcolm Steward came creditably close to a personal best time over the distance, but just missed out by 12 seconds with 50:25 to finish 266th.
Stuart Goodwin (468th, 56:13) paid for an ambitiously fast start and wilted in the last 5km. Vicky Berry finished around the same point - with GPS technology tracking her in a time of 56:08 - but technical gremlins mean she is currently cruelly denied a listing in the official results.
Simon Strong’s travails were more impressive than most, coming off the back of a string of injuries that forced him out of the London Marathon.
He completed his third race in three days – following on from participation in a 5k race and the Greensand Ridge Relay on the Friday and Saturday – to come in 543rd, well under the hour mark in 58:38.
With the temperature flirting with 30C around the hour mark, runners were thankful for a makeshift extra water station set up a mile from the finish by local residents.
“That was a lovely gesture,” said BAC’s Jules Mackay. “It was a nice tour of Bedford and there were surprisingly a lot of supporters along the route considering the temperatures and early start.”
With many planned PBs going out of the window in the conditions, and several competitors dropping out – some even requiring medical attention – it became impressive simply to keep on going and get round in one piece.
Huge credit then to Sally Jones (606th, 1:00.27), Julian Brunt (607th, 1:01.20) and Amy Stamp (611th, 1:01.25) who conceded: “It was too hot - I think that sums it up! A well-organised race though, and a good course.” Rachel Hallam Stott was 644th in 1:01.35, followed by Corinne Calligan (673rd, 1:03.32), Louise Pike (806th, 1:08.09), Rosalyn Bodi (847th, 1:10.38), Helen Steward and Vikki Vowles (876th and 877th, both given 1:12.34) and Mackay and Roo Goodwin (881st and 882nd, both given 1:13.02).
Tim Gardiner was 924th in 1:16.16 while Shani Giddings fought to the line in 949th place, in 1:19.43.
Two days earlier at the Marston Forest 5k, a 7.30pm start saw kinder conditions, but with no breeze and dust kicked up from the forest trails, it still posed a significant task to those present.
Sarah Geeson-Osgood was 132nd in 24:01, Clark Skerratt 160th in 25:15, Stuart Goodwin 167th in 25:33, Strong began his busy weekend in 27:02 for 186th, and Roo Goodwin battled against an thigh injury to take 281st in 31:33.
Meanwhile, at the England Athletics Under 23 Championships at Bedford International Stadium on Sunday, Alex Ingham took eighth place in the javelin, in an impressively tight and competitive field where positions three to eight were separated by less than seven metres - considerably less than the length of three javelins.