Olympian Eilish McColgan smashed the course record at the Percy Pud 10k race in Sheffield yesterday, where a new men’s mark was also set.
The Rio 2016 5,000m finalist crossed the line in Loxley in 32 minutes 32 seconds, knocking more than 80 seconds off the previous women’s best.
Mohammad Abu-Rezeq became the first man to break the 30 minute barrier as the 31-year-old father-of-two from Manchester scorched home in 29m 57s.
More than 2,000 runners completed the scenic route and, while some had their eyes on a trophy or new personal best, for many the atmosphere and, of course, the Christmas puddings handed out to all finishers were ample reward.
Now in its 24th year, the race has become South Yorkshire’s most popular 10k, according to organisers Steel City Running Club, with places snapped up within hours of becoming available.
The puddings are handed out in memory of the ‘legendary northern comic runner’ who lends the race its name, as a Christmas pudding and custard was apparently his main energy source for races.
This year, the traditional luxury 2lb Christmas pudding was accompanied by a packet of custard powder, to mark 70 years since Percy won his first race.
While the elite runners tussled for the top spots, and the £1,000 prize for a new course record, an unofficial side contest for the fastest finisher dressed as a pudding proved nearly as competitive.
Tom Russell, from Nether Edge, took the honours, ahead of his old friends from Sheffield’s All Saints Catholic High School, David Jones and Carl Mullooly.
“It’s a tremendous honour, but mostly dressing up is just a good excuse for not running that fast,” he joked.
Their costumes were put in the shade somewhat on a glorious morning by Travis Hallam, from Dungworth, who dressed as a Christmas tree in aid of the Sheffield Hospitals Charity, and still made it round in a respectable 1hr 5m.
Peter Knight, a Tata Steel worker from Stocksbridge, also caught the eye by dressing as his favourite tipple - a bottle of Farmers Blonde from the Bradfield Brewery – and clocking an impressive 47m.
Although he got plenty of support from spectators, it seems not all his fellow runners were so impressed.
“When you pass someone you can hear them groan because no one wants to finish behind someone dressed as a bottle. Everyone’s trying to beat you,” he said.