Front-runners at this year’s JCB Lakeside Five and Fun Run had a mouth-watering prospect to look forward to as they raced towards the finish line in aid of the NSPCC.
Veteran participant and keen baker Mick Grindey baked a batch of his favourite raspberry filled cupcakes to hand out to the first 31 runners across the line – one for every year the race has been run.
For the lucky fast finishers they helped energy levels recover after overcoming hot and humid conditions to complete the course on what turned out to be the warmest day of the year so far, with temperatures nudging 27˚C
Race organiser and JCB Engineer Mick, 52, of Uttoxeter said: “I’m a keen baker and thought it would be a great way to help the runners celebrate success. The incentive seemed to work because despite the conditions we witnessed some fantastic times and performances.”
More than 400 took part in the five-mile senior race and 2.3 mile fun run, which takes place on a scenic course around JCB World Headquarters in Rocester, Staffs.
In the process they raised around £3,500 for the NSPCC in Staffordshire. Earlier this month the popular JCB Mud Run also raised more than £50,000 for the NSPCC.
Everyone completing the race, which was sponsored by JCB Agriculture, was given a special commemorative bronze medal featuring one of the company’s distinctive machines.
Among those taking part was retired JCB Group Electrical Engineer Charles Bevan, who along with Mick Grindey, has taken part in all 31 races.
Charles, 67, of Abbots Bromley, always runs the race in fancy dress and this year came as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. He said: “If I’d known how warm it would be I would have never chosen this costume! Having said that I recorded one of my best times – I think I was driven on by the cheering crowds. It was a great atmosphere.”
First over the line was Staffordshire Police Sergeant Ben Gamble in a time of 25 mins and 38 seconds – notching up his 8th consecutive win. While the first woman to complete the course was Rebecca Harrison, a Newcastle-under-Lyme College lecturer from Cheadle.
Also running was a team of design engineers from JCB India’s factory in Pune, who are in the UK on a year-long secondment. One of the team, Abhijit Hodage, 36, said: “We have been in training by walking in the Peak District and climbing Snowdon. But this was still very difficult because of the hot conditions. It was very enjoyable though and I’m glad we had the opportunity to take part.”
Almost 30 per cent of the field was made up by JCB employees with the others being mainly keen or club runners. First JCB man over the line was JCB Group Digital Manager Craig Jeffery in a time of 29 minutes and 21 seconds – hotly pursued by his running partner JCB World Parts Sales Manager Dave Allen.
Craig, 40, of Rocester, said: “This was another great event. Extremely hot conditions make it difficult but Dave pushed me all the way and it is real motivation to know he is there on my shoulder.”
Dave, 49, of Tean, added: “I love the competitive edge of running in this race and especially against Craig. I’m very tired but it was great fun.”
First JCB woman home was Carolyn Gilligan, of Stone, who works for JCB Dealer Development. She notched up a time of 36 minutes and 32 seconds. She said: “I managed to do it about a minute and a half faster than last year, which is great given the conditions. As always, it was really well supported and great to see so much raised for charity.”
Emma Addy, 27, a JCB Industrial Marketing Manager took part for the first time. She said: “I did better than I thought I would and really enjoyed the experience – I will definitely be back next year. What’s more I got to sample one of Mick’s cupcakes and it was delicious.”