Hardley Runners dominate first Exbury Gardens 10k since 2016
THE Exbury Gardens 10k returned for the first time since 2016, with more than 800 runners completing the race in sunny but windy conditions.
First held in March 2008, the race was the brainchild of Hardley Runners’ Martin Loveless, and fittingly, race winner Mike Cummings led the Hardley men to the first team prize.
Mirroring Hardley’s success in the inaugural race, this year’s men’s overall winner Tim Annets (34:15) led the men’s team of Dan Latham (37:27) and M50 Carl Hall (40:28) to first prize.
Hardley Runners were contacted by Eastleigh 10k race director Steve Collins in 2021, who told the club that he wanted to resurrect the Exbury 10k event.
With free entry into Exbury Gardens for runners and half-price for supporters, the race was a sell-out, and there were an impressive 862 finishers.
It wasn’t without teething issues, however, with the start delayed for 15 minutes due to parking problems. But overall the race was a great success, and Exbury Gardens has already agreed to a date for 2023.
The course started with a scenic loop through the gardens before heading out through Exbury village, mostly downhill to a U-turn before Lepe Country Park. Runners ran in both directions until a left-turn back into Inchmery Lane. There was a supportive atmosphere throughout.
The leading runner after the turn was Thomas Stevens with Hardley Runners’ Anetts on his shoulder. The uphill return leg was tougher with a blustery wind, where Anetts took the lead to win by 10 seconds in 34:15.
The women’s race was won in 38:32 by Holly Newton of Ryde Harriers, with Alice Rudd of Hardley in second overall and first in the F35 category in 39:24, and New Forest Runners’ Valeria Sesto (40:07) second overall and first F45.
As well as winning the men’s team prize, the women’s team also secured first place, with Rudd leading Laura Porter (46:11) and Hannah Cockle (47:04) home.
Hardley had further age category success, with Mick Anglim winning the M70 prize in 48:50.
After the race, there were many grateful words to Steve Collins for bringing the race back to life, to Sarah Fitton and her team of volunteers.
Men’s Senior: 1, Tim Anetts (Hardley Runners), 34:15; 2, Tom Stevens, 34:24; 3, Dave Hunt (Ryde Harriers), 35:08.
Women’s Senior: 1, Holly Newton (Ryde Harriers), 38:31; 2, Alice Rudd (Hardley Runners), 39:33; 3, Valeria Sesto (New Forest Runners), 40:07.
Women’s Vet 35-44: 1, Alice Rudd (Hardley Runners), 39:33.
Women’s Vet 45-54: 1, Valeria Sesto (New Forest Runners), 40:07.
Women’s Vet 55-64: 1, Sue Sleath (Romsey Road Runners), 45.15.
Women’s Vet 65+: 1, Annie Jones, 51.38.
Men’s Vet 40-49: 1, David Comb (Winchester & District AC), 35.45.
Men’s Vet 50-59: 1, Alan Graham (Lorsdhill Road Runners), 38.03.
Men’s Vet 60-69: 1, David Moss (New Forest Runners), 44.00.
Men’s Vet 70+: 1, Mick Anglim (Hardley Runners), 48.50.
Men’s Team: Hardley Runners.
Women’s Team: Hardley Runners.