February 18, 2007
Peter Rigler 48:55
Heidi Viles 59:27
No. of finishers
For the majority of runners, taking part in a race is a great way to raise money for charity. You tell your friends about the challenge and hope that they dig deep and reward you – and your chosen charity – for your efforts.
Teenager Sarah Cullen decided to go one better though, by organising her own race to raise money to rebuild a Peruvian orphanage. She’s not just putting her efforts into the fundraising side of things, but will be helping with the practicalities too.
“I am going to Peru for a month to help rebuild the orphanage, in the Andean mountains,” she says. Negotiating the Somerset version of the Inca Trail was a very different proposition to the vast stone slabs that pave the trail in Peru though.
The flattish seven-mile multi-terrain course followed the droveways of King’s Sedgemoor across the Somerset levels from Ilchester to Knole and back again.
Cullen came up with a great way to encourage runners over the only tough hill at the halfway point: she invited them to help themselves from a very large jar of Inca Worry Dolls – also known as Jelly Babies – to keep energy levels high. The breathtaking views from the top helped too.
Despite fine weather on race day, rain beforehand meant there was plenty of mud to plough through, and puddles to splash in, but everyone relished the challenging conditions, including Cullen’s granddad, Martin Kennedy, who took the race in his stride, coming third in the over-60s vets category.
With the organisation of the race supported by Yeovil Town Road Runners Club, the Inca Trail is set to become an annual event. Cullen could have a modern classic on her hands – and both her fundraising efforts and the running calendar will be richer for it.