Kerry Marchant was on top of the world at last Sunday’s (11 Dec) Christmas Cracker 8-miler. The FV40 runner and member of host club Staffordshire Moorlands AC won the women’s race in festive style, crossing the line in 1:01:41. Michelle Willcocks of Sutton in Ashfield Harriers & AC followed her in 1:02:37 with Marchant's teammate Katie Southern coming third in 1:08:37.
Stoke AC and Coles sponsored runner William Neill was fastest in this year’s race in 51:34. Rob Grantham of Pensby Runners came second in 54:58 with David Hall taking third place in 56:09.
The runners set off at 11am across fields towards Upper Hulme before encountering a 1-mile section of road. This led to the start of a long, hard climb up The Roaches and along the 1,500ft gritstone ridge before heading back the same way towards the finish at Tittesworth Reservoir.
The Christmas Cracker race is usually held on the third Sunday in December although this year it was brought forward to the 11th. Entries are on the day or online in advance with profits from the race shared between Buxton Mountain Rescue, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Leek Scouts. If there are adverse weather conditions on the day, the organisers switch to a 5-mile route around Tittesworth Reservoir.
This race is a perennial favourite with runners; for the challenging route that boasts spectacular views across the Roaches and the Moorlands, and fancy dress. The majority of runners wear Christmas costumes or those based on a theme.
The legendary Ron Hill ran the 2007 Christmas Cracker race.