Fifty-two runners took to the start line for the return of the Blackdown Hill Challenge.

The five-mile trail run from Fernhurst Recreation Ground to the summit of the highest hill in Sussex, and back, is a fundraiser for the village’s ‘Pavilion2022’ campaign.

Tim Short from Shillinglee smashed the course record by five minutes with a time of 30min 53secs. The fastest woman was Caroline Whelan of Dorking and Mole Valley Athletics Club, who crossed the line in a time of 43min 52secs.

Tim and Caroline also both qualified for the veterans’ awards.

Blackdown Hill Challenge organiser Mike Boyce said: “We were all very pleased to see 52 runners take on the Blackdown Hill Challenge and the children’s run around the Rec.

“Despite an absence of two years because of Covid-19 we had runners travelling from as far as London and Dorking.

“I think it’s fair to say it’s a tough race, but the positive feedback from the runners is fantastic.

“The intention is to make this an annual event in the local running calendar and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

The fastest runners from Fernhurst parish were Shiobhaun Watt in 54min 29secs and Rob Unwin in 40min 41secs.

Construction of a new pavilion is proceeding but so is the fundraising because of escalating costs in the building trade.

The main part of the build is assured, but there are extras which Fernhurst Recreation Ground Trust is also keen to provide.