STONE runners led the way in a charity race held on the hottest day of the year so far.
The annual JCB Lakeside Five and Fun Run was held yesterday at the firm’s Rocester headquarters, to pull in pounds for children’s charity NSPCC.
More than 400 runners had to overcome hot and humid conditions, with temperatures nudging 27 degrees Celsius on the day, to complete the five mile senior course or 2.3 mile fun run.
But the heat proved no match for Stone man Ben Gamble, who was first to the seniors’ finish line in a time of 25 mins and 38 seconds. It was the 8th consecutive win for the Staffordshire Police sergeant.
Rebecca Harrison, a Newcastle-under-Lyme College lecturer from Cheadle, was the first woman across the line.
The 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.”
Colleague Charles Bevan, a JCB Group electrical engineer from Abbots Bromley, has taken part in all 31 races and runs the course in fancy dress. This year he was dressed as the Tim Man from the Wizard of Oz.
The 67-year-old 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.”
Jack Hodkinson, 14, from Stafford, was one of the first to finish the race. The member of Stafford Harriers Running Club said: "When I finished I was knackered. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be especially as it didn't know the course. It was very hilly at times."