Grantham Running Club's Matthew Kingston-Lee finally claimed his first ever road race victory on Sunday 16th October when he came home first at the fourth edition of the Stilton Stumble 24K.
Conditions were best described as 'appalling' at Cropwell Bishop for the runners lining up to take part in the rarely run 24K distance, with heavy rain sweeping through the area on the back of a steady breeze, leaving parts of the rural course flooded. The 24K race was run in conjunction with a 10K race, which was held in equally bad conditions.
From the off Matthew took his place at the front of the field and as they left the small village, famous for its Stilton cheese production, he took the lead and eased out a gap over his rivals. As the weather deteriorated on the run down to Long Clawson he set about increasing his lead with an even paced effort that saw him pass through 10k in 38:03.
Passing half way in 45:46 and with his fellow competitors nowhere to be seen, it was a long and lonely run back to the finish. Thanks to the rain relenting and the breeze now at his back, Matthew ran the second 10km in a slightly quicker 37:38. Although tiring in the final stages, his pace barely dropped as Matthew crossed the finish line in 1:31:35, over four minutes clear of second placed Alex Loach of Holme Pierrepoint Running Club.
"I've taken part in nearly 150 road races. It was a long time coming but I am very happy to have finally experienced the sweet smell of victory in a road race, even if it had a distinct whiff of blue cheese from the slab of Stilton I won!" joked Matthew after the race.
"The weather made it hard going, but once I established a lead I just focused on maintaining a good pace. I haven't run much in the past month because of injury and the last few miles felt really hard. I was relieved when I finally saw the finish line – I couldn't have run much further!"
Photo: Matthew collecting his prize