The Sandy 10 road race was first run 40 years ago in 1983 and was the brainchild of Paul Tomlin. The race was organised by Paul with help from the Sandy Scouts, and the scout hut on Sunderland Road acted as the race HQ. Paul continued to organise the race throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, and the local running community owe him a great deal of gratitude for the tireless work that he put into the event.
In 1996, Paul retired from his organising duties 13 years after he started the event. No one stepped forward to fill his shoes and the race did not take place in 1997. Up until 1996, the 10-mile race followed a route though Sandy town centre, up the hill past the RSPB’s headquarters, The Lodge, and on through Deepdale to Potton. At Potton, by the Royal Oak pub, the route turned right along Biggleswade Road as far as Sutton crossroads. Here it turned right again into Carthagena Road back to Deepdale. At Deepdale the runners retraced their steps back to the RSPB, where the route turned right along a Bridleway to Everton Road. At the road the route turned back towards Sandy and the downhill finish through the Sand Hills to the finish line at the scout hut.
In 1998 Biggleswade Athletic Club stepped forward to take over the responsibility for organising the race, with help from Sandy Scouts. By this time, new race regulations and the increased danger from traffic meant that a new course had to be found. Maurice Taylor, a member of Biggleswade AC at the time, planned the current route that runs out through the village of Everton and Gamlingay Heath. Since 1998, the race has grown in stature and has been the Bedfordshire AAA county championship race on several occasions.
Race HQ was moved to Sandy Sports Centre in 2003, which has been the “home” of Biggleswade AC following their move from Stratton School in Biggleswade in 2004. In September 2005 the new all-weather athletic track was opened – this is now available as a warm-up and cool-down area for runners on race day.
In the run-up to the planned 2020 race, the Covid-19 pandemic struck worldwide, and though the April 2020 race was initially postponed with view to hopefully taking place later in the year, it soon became clear that this was impossible. A revival was tentatively planned in 2021 before being aborted due to ongoing fears over the virus and our ability to hold the race safely. Happily the race returned in September 2022 after an enforced absence of two and a half years.
2023 sees the race to its beloved spring slot, just in time for its 40th anniversary. It’s good to be back!