RAF Halton rises to the Halton Hills Challenge For 34th year

Fifty two runners recently took on the challenge of running 7.5 miles around the picturesque Wendover Woods, tackling 7 big hills and an overall ascent of approx 1200 feet.

One of the hills is called ‘Cobley’s Rise’, named after the founder of the race, Warrant Officer Don Cobley, who represented Great Britain in Pentathlon during the 1956 and 1960 Olympics.  He first staged the race in 1979 using a route he regularly trained on in preparation for the Olympics. Sadly, Don passed away but his wife, Pat, donated the ‘Cobley Trophy’ in his memory, and this is awarded to the first Halton runner over the finish line.

With temperature close to 25 degrees, Sqn Ldr Lee Cobley (Don’s son) started the race and the runners headed off. A rapid pace at the front as the runners approached the first and probably hardest hill on the course was an immediate introduction to what they were facing. The route took them through dense woodland paths and with the help of the course marker, Marcus Maxwell, and Halton’s Servicemen Awaiting Training (SATT) as marshals, all the runners safely navigated their way to the finish.

The winner of the race was Sgt Richie Bateman from RAF High Wycombe in an excellent time of 48 minutes 46 seconds. This was just rewards for him after missing his chance last year when he unfortunately went the wrong way. Not too far behind in second place was Mr Bampton from Shrivenham, the first Vet to finish, in 49 minutes 20 seconds, and Sgt Frear from RAF Halton in third place with a time of 50 minutes 10 seconds and winner of the legendary ‘Cobley Trophy’.

In the Ladies’ Race SAC Penrose from Brize Norton was a clear winner by nearly 4 minutes with a time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 23 seconds. Wg Cdr Griffin, High Wycombe, was second with a time of 1 hour 14 minutes and 23 seconds, and Flt Lt Nixon, Halton, came in third place with 1 hour 16 minutes 11 seconds, and to her surprise, Flt Lt Dunn, High Wycombe, was the first female Vet over the line.

Physical Training Instructor, Cpl Kieran White, who organised the event, said: “Many runners crossed the line worse for wear, with one runner shouting ‘Well that was fun!’ No matter what they looked like or how they felt, all the runners finished with a massive sense of achievement for having completing the arduous 7.5 mile course. As the runners recovered and refuelled in the Burnett Gym, Station Commander Group Captain Simon Harper presented the trophy. Overall, it had been a successful day’s running and many thanks must be given to the Burnett Gym staff, the SATTs, and for the financial assistance given by the RAF Sport Lottery.

The last people to thank are the runners, who are the life blood of this event and help to keep the memory of WO Don Cobley alive.”