Record number of runners complete epic Spitfire Scramble challenge in Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 10:11 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:11 20 July 2017

Runners took part in the annual Spitfire Scramble challenge. Picture: Danny Coyle/Spitfire Scramble

Runners took part in the annual Spitfire Scramble challenge. Picture: Danny Coyle/Spitfire Scramble

Danny Coyle/Spitfire Scramble

Members of an athletics club who ran for 24 hours were rewarded for their heroic efforts by winning the top title.

Runners took part in the annual Spitfire Scramble challenge. Picture: Danny Coyle/Spitfire Scramble Runners took part in the annual Spitfire Scramble challenge. Picture: Danny Coyle/Spitfire Scramble

On Saturday, July 15, hundreds of solo runners took part in the annual Spitfire Scramble which took place at Hornchurch Country Park and fields near Ingrebourne Hill.

More than 700 competitors took part in the epic challenge.

Race director Danny Coyle said: “The runners were incredible this year and the effort they put in was phenomenal to see.

“The support for this event from local clubs and runners is immense, and we are now starting to see teams from further afield also enter.”

The event puts endurance, speed, teamwork and torch batteries to the test in what is described as a unique race.

In total around 100km is covered with each lap consisting of 5.9 miles.

Soloists, or pairs or “squadrons” must have one runner on the course at all times. They must complete a full circuit before handing over to a team mate.

Spinning instructor Paul Smailes took part to raise money for Saint Francis Hospice, Broxhill Road, Havering-atte-Bower.

He has so far raised £1,250.

“The race went great,” he said.

“I got to 100k in about 17 and a half-hours and had time to spare.”

According to Danny, Havering Athletics claimed the men’s team of eight crown with a total of 36 laps in just over 24 hours.

Havering Joggers runners Ron Dobie and Denis Mole took first place in the pairs category with 18 laps.

Erika Nagy won the women’s solo category by completing 17 laps in nearly 24 hours and Nate Filer won the men’s solo title with 19 laps in just over 22 hours.

This year the event relocated from its original field near the Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre to the larger fields near Ingrebourne Hill, which Coyle says was a big success.

Danny thanked park ranger Mick Greenslade and parks manager Richard Cottam and an army of volunteers for their help with the race.

The 2018 Spitfire Scramble will take place on July 14-15 in Hornchurch Country Park.

Visit for more information.

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