Christina Wiejak and Ben Thomas took superb elite wins in the inaugural British Marathon Cross-country Series round at Pippingford.
Pippingford played host to the first-ever British Marathon Cross-country Series round, with over 200 riders of all abilities racing across the different categories.
The 18km lap included a bridge, tunnel, and a unique figure of eight pattern, with plenty of climbs mixed in with some fast-flowing fun singletrack for the riders to enjoy.
170 men took to the line to race for the four lap Monster Marathon, which played out over 72km. Ben Thomas (Ben Thomas Coaching Club) proved victorious despite brilliant chasing efforts from Joe Griffiths (SCOTT Racing). Thomas led from the first lap, with Griffiths closing the gap on the final two laps, but Thomas was strong enough to hold onto the win. Tom Stephenson (Lakes RC) followed in third, just 26 seconds ahead of Robert Wardell.
The women raced over the same distance, with the Saint Piran WRT rider Christina Wiejak building on her form from the National Cross-country series and took the win in her first-ever Marathon Cross-country race. Wiejak crossed the line just under five minutes ahead of second placed Eilish Gilbert, while Elise Sherwell (Blazing Saddles RT) finished third, and was first in the 40-49 age category. It was a fantastic feat by the podium riders, with all three clocking under 4:20.
Outside the National Series Monster Marathons, many other riders raced in classes ranging from 18km to 54km, with both male and female categories in each distance. The 54km Super race was won by David Bone (Racing Club Ravenna) while Dani Humphrey took the women’s victory, and Matthew Webber (Maison Du Velo/In-Gear) won the 36km Lung Buster event. Olaf Christiansen (Wilderness Riders) was victorious in the 18km Challenge.
Alongside the individual racing, there was also a relay pairs race with the riders racing across 72 km, with each rider in the pair able to ride two laps each.