Ilfracombe runner takes ladies’ crown as Red Bull Steeplechase returns to Lynton and Lynmouth

PUBLISHED: 13:00 20 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:00 20 June 2017

Mary Menon with her Red Bull Steeplechase trophy. Picture: Mark Roe

Mary Menon with her Red Bull Steeplechase trophy. Picture: Mark Roe

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Success for Ilfracombe Running Club member in gruelling 23-mile Exmoor run

The Red Bull Steeplechase gets underway. Picture: Leo Francis The Red Bull Steeplechase gets underway. Picture: Leo Francis

There was a local winner as the gruelling Red Bull Steeplechase returned to North Devon for a second consecutive year on Sunday.

The unique knock-out 23.5 mile race started and finished in Lynmouth and saw 400 competitors take on the rugged Exmoor landscape in blistering heat.

Serpentine Running Club’s Andy Greenleaf crossed the line in first place with a time of 3hrs, 4mins and 57 secs – repeating the feat he achieved in the 2014 race.

The women’s race was won closer to home, with Ilfracombe Running Club’s Mary Menon the first female to cross the line, finishing in 3hrs, 35mins and 14secs.

Winners Mary Menon, Carla Molinaro and Victoria Crawford celebrate on the podium after Red Bull Steeple Chase, 24 mile race along the Exmoor coast line in the UK on 19th June 2017. Picture: Leo Francis Winners Mary Menon, Carla Molinaro and Victoria Crawford celebrate on the podium after Red Bull Steeple Chase, 24 mile race along the Exmoor coast line in the UK on 19th June 2017. Picture: Leo Francis

Mary Menon in the Red Bull Steeplechase 2017. Picture: Mark Roe Mary Menon in the Red Bull Steeplechase 2017. Picture: Mark Roe

Mary, who was the second fastest woman in 2016, said: “I wanted to come back this year and get the win. I feel fantastic now.

“It’s such a brilliant course – the views have been beautiful all the way around.

“My plan this year was to go out quick because I can stay for ages and then tried to hold the lead as much as I could.

“My advice for anyone running this race would be to do lots of hill practice – both up and down hill. Stay mentally tough and keep coaching yourself around.”

Mary Menon takes on the Red Bull Steeplechase. Picture: James Bannister Mary Menon takes on the Red Bull Steeplechase. Picture: James Bannister

Menon finished a whole 21 minutes ahead of the next fastest female, with Carla Molinaro crossing the line in 3hrs, 56 mins and 32secs.

The Red Bull Steeplechase 2017. Picture: Leo Francis. The Red Bull Steeplechase 2017. Picture: Leo Francis.

Victoria Crawford was the third fastest woman, clocking a time of 3hrs, 58mins and 20 secs.

The 400 runners passed through three checkpoints on the way to the finish line, with the slowest runners eliminated until just 20 men and 20 women remained.

Race winner Greenleaf beat Chris Oddy to the line. Oddy finished in 3hrs, 9mins and 28secs.

Winners Andy Greenleaf, Chris Oddy and Ross Mcdonald celebrate on the podium after Red Bull Steeple Chase, 24 mile race along the Exmoor coast line in the UK on 19th June 2017. Picture: Leo Francis Winners Andy Greenleaf, Chris Oddy and Ross Mcdonald celebrate on the podium after Red Bull Steeple Chase, 24 mile race along the Exmoor coast line in the UK on 19th June 2017. Picture: Leo Francis

Ross Macdonald finished third with a time of 3hrs, 13mins and 10secs.

Now in its fifth year, the steeplechase was first held in North Devon in October 2016.

That race was won by Cumbria’s Ricky Lightfoot.

Red Bull Steeplechase 2017. Picture: Leo Francis Red Bull Steeplechase 2017. Picture: Leo Francis

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