The sun shone and temperatures soared for the 57th running of the Chevy Chase in the Cheviot Hills around Wooler at the weekend.
As always the event drew a large entry of competitors, both runners and walkers, but conditions meant that many found the going tough.
In all, 14 competitors retired from the event, caused mainly by heat exhaustion.
This was in stark contrast to 12 months earlier when the 2012 event was held in equally difficult conditions – mainly due to an amber weather warning – when the course had to be shortened to around 15 miles.
The Chevy Chase is a 20-mile trek through the rugged countryside around Glendale, including ascents of both Cheviot and Hedgehope.
All entrants must carry basic survival equipment, which in conditions like Saturday were obviously necessary.
This year, 85 walkers and 147 runners started the event from Wooler Hostel, with competitors from Northumberland joined by those from across the UK, Holland, Canada and the US.
A statement issued by organisers after the event said: “Temperatures exceeded those forecast.
“There was a cooling breeze on the higher slopes, but the enclosed valleys became stifling as the day progressed.
“The rugged path along the Carey Burn towards the end of the route proved a real challenge.
“Although there were no official water stations on the course we provided extra water where possible which was welcomed.
“In view of the high temperatures it was pleasing to see so many excellent performances and fast times.
“Cramp was a feature for many competitors and for a few the heat was just too much.
“At the finish the weary racers were cheered home.
“Wet cloths, foot-baths and a hose down helped everyone cool off.
“Split times and T-shirts were collected before the plentiful tea, buns and cake could be enjoyed on the lawn.
“Unfortunately this year we had one casualty; Paul Doxford from South Shields Harriers fell when descending Hedgehope and broke his ankle.
“Thank you to all those who rallied round to assist and to those were so patient when their race was interrupted by the helicopter evacuation.
“Paul was airlifted to hospital, his leg is now in plaster and he promises to be back next year!
“Josh, representing our main sponsor Salomon, presented the trophies and prizes. He described the efforts of all the competitors as heroic.”
Event winner was Charles Hutchinson, of Hunters Bog Trotters in Edinburgh, who won the first male category and first overall after completing the course in a time of 03:06:04. He finished a full four-and-a-half minutes ahead of second-placed Simon Johnson, of South Shields Harriers & AC, who clocked 03:10:30.
Bruce Crombie, of Alnwick Harriers, was fourth-fastest and he also took the prize for first MV40 in a time of 03:15:51.
Peter Reed, of Northumberland Fell Runners, successfully defended his V60 title for the third successive year.
Victoria Broadbent, of Bearbrook Joggers, won the ladies race in a time of 3:30:56. Henrietta Bolton Carter of Wooler Running Club was cheered home in third place. Shirley Cassidy had a great run to place fourth and win the first local lady trophy in 4:03:10.
The walk was fiercely contested, but Len Glen Davison, of Breamish Wanderers, was the overall winner, and first V50, with a time of 4:38:35.
A trio of gallant men, Terry Carr, Ian Robinson and Rob Shepherd, shared the first local trophy.
The Ladies’ Cup was this year won by Fiona Mckenzie, also first V50, in 4:59:47.
Angela Huddleston was second in 5:19:11, Angela also won the local lady trophy. In third place and first LV40 was Sarah Robson, of Wooler Running Club.
The Cheviot Foxes team of Fiona, Peter and Glenn Cartner took the team prize with 10 points.