Matt Hall took on Mad Jack and came out on top at Saturday’s (11 November) 5-mile race at Attingham Park near Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury AC runner managed to stay upright as he plunged through the infamous pond to win the event.
The intensely cold water didn’t stop him from crossing the line in 28:00. Teammate Paul Jones was runner-up in 28:49, making this a good one/two for the host club Shrewsbury AC. Daniel Connolly was third in 29:18.
There was another cause for celebration at Shrewsbury AC with Sara Willhoit winning the women’s race in 32:22. Amanda Wright-Smith of Birchfield Harriers was second in 32:58 followed by Clare Thurgood of Orion Harriers third in 33:22.
This correspondent took part and managed not to fall over in the pond, finishing in 53:21.
The last runner, Kathy Ling of Wrekin Road Runners, crossed the finish line in 1:26:32. She was singled out for a special mention at the pre-race briefing as she has completed every Mad Jack’s 5 since its launch 10 years ago. The organisers expect Kathy to return next year.
A two minute silence beforehand to mark Armistice Day preceded the start of the race. All the runners headed off from the front of the National Trust property to follow an off-road course around the grounds that included a few obstacles to climb over and the pond to look forward to. Runners splashed, dashed or waded through this on their way to the finish where they received appropriately enough, a water bottle along with a banana.
Who is Mad Jack? He is John ‘Mad Jack’ Mytton, an eccentric 19th century figure from Shropshire who more than lived up to his name.