Geoff Newton in The Stickler

Geoff Newton can’t resist a testing trail race and The Stickler certainly fell into that category

As Dorset’s answer to the 3-Peaks Challenge, The Stickler comes with a set of gruelling climbs that will test the metal of the very best out there who dare to take it on.
Most years this race is blessed with fine weather in which to appreciate the panoramic views and glorious autumn colours. This year was an exception. For the first km of the race, along a country lane, the runners were subjected to torrential rain. They then hit The Stickler a steep path which gives its name to the race. This goes straight up in a seemingly endless climb up to the summit of Okeford Beacon, the highest of the three peaks.
The Stickler is well sheltered by trees which shielded the runners from the worst of the weather. Fortunately by the time the runners had reached the summit the worst of the rain was over. They were unable to appreciate the fine views over Hod Hill and Hambledon Hill as it was usually necessary to have full attention on where you put your feet.
Geoff Newton giving his all in The Stickler

Torrential rain made the race even tougher than usua

There was a sting in the tail. In normal years runners cross the River Stour by a slippery footbridge less than a km from the finish. This year The Stour had overflowed its normal channel. To gain access to the footbridge one had to wade knee deep.
Having crossed the footbridge runners had a much longer wade in deeper, treacherous conditions. Shorter runners went in up to the crotch. Crossings were supervised which lost them some time but kept everyone safe. At least they finished with clean, newly washed shoes.
Chris Peck arriving at the finish line

The finish was on the station platform of an old railway line

The race was won by Chris Peck of Egdon Heath Harriers in 1:10.04 from Chris Wright of host club Dorset Doddlers who finished in 1:11.25.
Chris Peck after winning The Stickler

Chris Peck was victorious and received a plant as his prize

The top three men at The Stickler

The top three men (Chris Wright, Chris Peck and Matt Underhill)

Chris’s Egdon Heath Harriers teammate Matt Underhill, who is currently training for the Arc 100 in January came 3rd in 1:11:22. He’s been hitting some big weekly mileages of late.
Geoff Newton in action at The Stickler

Geoff finished 2nd M70 in 1:43.58

Geoff Newton was 190th of 451 finishers in 1:44.14 (1:43.58 chip). He was 2nd M70 behind the much younger Nick Brooke of the Doddlers who finished in 1:37.17 (1:37.04).
Bournemouth AC member Graeme Miller (running under Canicross New Forest colours) and his dog Chester finished 28th in 1:21.37 (1:16.21 chip time).
The canicross runners were forced to wait five minutes after everyone else had started before they were let loose and they weren’t eligible for any of the main prizes, even though they were put into the same set of results as everyone else. Graeme’s chip time would have put him 8th place.
Graeme Miller and his dog Chester in The Stickler

Graeme Miller was running with his dog Chester but was held back for five minutes at the start