Photos: Thousands tackle Burghley House Rat Race

Rat Race at Burghley House, Stamford.'Photo: MSMP110513-016ow
Rat Race at Burghley House, Stamford.'Photo: MSMP110513-016ow
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Thousands of runners battled tough obstacles and driving rain as they undertook one of the biggest challenges of their lives in Stamford on Saturday (11 May).

The grounds of Burghley House were transformed with 200 obstacles for the 5,500 participants to tackle as part of Rat Race Dirty Weekend.

Billed as the world’s toughest obstacle course, people could choose to take part in a 13-mile route or a 20-mile route.

Event director Jim Mee said he was pleased with how the event went.

He said: “The atmosphere of the event was just excellent and although, there were a few teething problems it went very well for a first event.

“There were far fewer hospitalisations than we were expecting. There were a couple of fractured ankles and a few people got very cold, so much so that we took the decision to cut the Water Wipe Out Zone about a third of the way through.

“On the whole Burghley was an excellent venue and we had a fantastic response from volunteers who really helped to make it a great day.”

A highlight of the rat race was the 360ft long monkey bars with organisers setting the Guinness World Record for the longest monkey bars constructed.

Three people managed to complete the monkey bars in full with the first - Michael Cartwright - winning a trophy and having a monkey adopted in his honour at Monkey World in Wareham, Dorset.

The Rat Race closed with a festival and Mr Mee said the headlining act Ocean Colour Scene were very well received. About 1,000 people also camped at Burghley House and Mr Mee said organisers would be looking to build on the entertainment for next year’s event.

Among the competitors was Mercury reporter Alex Moore, 25. He completed the 13-mile route in 3hr 53min. He was raising funds for the Histiocytosis Research Trust.

Afterwards he said: “It was hard work but good fun as well. I’m pleased to have raised so much money for a good cause.”

Paul Scholes, 29, of Kesteven Road, Stamford, was also running for the Histiocytosis Research Trust in memory of his two-year-old son Oliver, who died of haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis in June last year.

He ran the 20 mile route in 4hr 38min and raised more than £1,500.

Paul said: “It was such a tough event but the camaraderie amongst everyone really helped to keep me going the full distance.

“To have so many friends and family supporting really made the difference and was one reason for doing the full 20 mile course. Knowing I was doing it in memory of our son Oliver really gave me the extra boost I needed when the going got tough.

“For me it was the constant in and out of cold water which really took its toll, I was cold through to the bone after the Water Wipe Out Zone.”

He thanked everyone who ran the Rat Race for the HR Trust or sponsored them.

Did you take part in the Rat Race? E-mail details and photographs to Mercury reporter Kerry Coupe