Magic Mike shows plenty of grit to complete Grand adventure

Kenilworth Runners’ Mike Scandrett survived one of the UK’s toughest races at the weekend, coming home 29th in the Grand Union Canal Race.

Mike Scandrett enjoys a well-earned sit-down after completing the Grand Union Canal Race. Picture submitted
Mike Scandrett enjoys a well-earned sit-down after completing the Grand Union Canal Race. Picture submitted

The 145-mile ultra headed off from Gas Street, Birmingham, at 6am on Saturday and saw runners follow the canal all the way through to Little Venice in London.

The race averages a 50 per cent drop-out rate and despite near-perfect conditions, of the 100 that started out, only 63 completed the race.

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Clubmates from Kenilworth Runners provided food, water and encouragement along the course, with buddy runners allowed to run alongside Scandrett after 65 miles.

At around 60 miles, Scandrett slipped and tweaked an old hip injury and, by the end, he was suffering severely from shin splints and blisters

But despite a diversion taking his final distance covered to more than 148 miles, he said there was never any danger of him dropping out.

“I had an amazing team of people around me who kept me fed, watered and motivated to get to the finish line,” said Scandrett, who crossed the line in 36hr 10min.

“I was also so overwhelmed with the support I got from friends who had come out to see me as I came through Warwick and Leamington.

“There was never any doubt in my mind that I could do it, it was just a matter of when I’d finish.

“Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be back to see if I can do better next time.”

The race was won by Dan Lawson in a record time of 22:16, taking more than three hours off the previous record.

Meanwhile, Kenilworth clubmate Rich Broadbent was forced into a diversion of his own when tackling the Shindig in the Shire on Saturday.

A roughly 13.1-mile jaunt through the country lanes, open farmland, grassy tracks and ancient woodland around Corfton in Shropshire was given an additional 0.6 miles when the lead group, including Broadbent, made a navigational error.

They rejoined the correct route which featured a climb so steep it was almost impossible to walk up, but struggled to regain their original positions, with Broadbent settling for 13th in 2:09:00.

Clubmates Stef Lunn (2:17:35) and Simon Mottershead (2:25:18) were 29th and 40th, respectively, and there were 99 finishers.