300 runners contest popular Pudding Dash

The field sets off at the start of the Christmas Pudding Dash in Pett on Saturday morning. Pictures by Justin Lycett
The field sets off at the start of the Christmas Pudding Dash in Pett on Saturday morning. Pictures by Justin Lycett

A cracking field of runners took part in the Christmas Pudding Dash at Pett Village Hall on Saturday morning.

Some 299 runners, many of whom donned seasonal attire, completed the multi-terrain five-mile race on the undulating fields and trails surrounding the village.

Competitors make their way downhill at the start of the undulating five-mile course.

Competitors make their way downhill at the start of the undulating five-mile course.

They overcame plenty of mud and hills to earn their Christmas puddings and other festive goodies, plus a special commemorative festive medal, at the finish line.

In bright but chilly conditions, the first five finishers were all junior men from Beech Grove Academy. Caleb Meier was the winner in 28 minutes and 30 seconds, with Jaeden Kleinsasser second in 29:08 and Thomas Hine third in 29:45.

Ben McCallion (Hastings AC) and David Brightling (Rye Runners) were the leading local competitors in sixth and seventh. They were also the first senior man and male vet 45 respectively.

Lorna Watts (Hastings AC) was the first lady in 37:00, with Nina Ridge (Tonbridge AC) second and Kirstie Ingram (Paul McCleery Personal Training) third.

Race winner Caleb Meier displays his medal.

Race winner Caleb Meier displays his medal.

Beech Grove Academy won the men’s team prize and Hastings AC claimed the women’s equivalent.

Leading finishers (gun times): 1 Caleb Meier (Beech Grove Academy) 28:30, 2 Jaeden Kleinsasser (Beech Grove Academy) 29:08, 3 Thomas Hine (Beech Grove Academy) 29:45, 4 Lester Hine (Beech Grove Academy) 30:05, 5 Gareth Koppschall (Beech Grove Academy) 31:05, 6 Ben McCallion (Hastings AC) 31:43, 7 David Brightling (Rye Runners) 31:44, 8 Paul McCleery (Paul McCleery Personal Training) 31:55, 9 Russ Keen (Paul McCleery Personal Training) 32:32, 10 Alec Koppschall (Beech Grove Academy) 32:52, 11 Martin Watts (Hastings AC) 33:09, 12 Chris Brandt 33:46, 13 Andrew Watson (Hastings Runners) 34:41, 14 Andy Lee (Hastings Runners) 34:43, 15 Anthony Bahadur (Paul McCleery Personal Training) 35:24, 16 Terence Puxty (Hastings AC) 35:43, 17 Robert Lay 36:45, 18 Lorna Watts (Hastings AC) 37:00, 19 Sam McMillan (Rye Runners) 37:06, 20 Chris Hawkes 37:33, 21 Stephen Guerin 37:51, 22 Nina Ridge (Tonbridge AC) 37:52, 23 John Ridge (Tonbridge AC) 37:53, 24 John Orden 37:53, 25 Tom Mann (Hastings Runners) 38:07.

Organised by professional events management company Nice Work, the popular annual event was being held for the 12th time and the second in Pett having moved there last year. There was also a children’s race and a two-mile fun run.