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Race Report & Results : 2024 Ranelagh Vs Stragglers (mini) mob

A trawl through the Ranelagh annals reveal that the first ever ‘mini-mob’ against our friendly rivals The Stragglers came into being on Sunday March 28th 2009. In the Ranelagh Harrier’s E-News #301, club member Marc Snaith writes:

We are adding a new mob match to our fixture list for this year. It is against The Stragglers and will take place on Saturday March 28th at the Richmond Parkrun so will be 5k and on trails ….. Full rules are yet to be agreed so keep watching this space. It should be good fun and a great chance for everyone to experience a mob match without having to run 7.5 miles!

The ensuing race report also stated, ‘Someone evidently tipped off the weather gods that an unofficial mob match was planned. And mob matches take place in winter, don’t they? After the previous week’s early glimpse of spring, the gods sent Arctic winds to sweep across the Park, accompanied by chilling showers.

15 years later, we’re still at it and by all accounts, we’re still agreeing the full rules, especially as it was only a week before this year’s event that the trophy was identified and located. And the weather too was similarly atrocious, as Gareth Williams, our Fixtures Secretary, reported:

On a dank summer’s day the mighty blue and gold hosted our noisy neighbours Stragglers at Crane Parkrun for the annual mini-mob match, hoping to bring the Rothwell-Wright shield back home to the clubhouse. A great turnout from both sides saw 55 Ranelites take on 64 Stragglers, so it would be 52 from each side to score.

Conditions were a little slippy underfoot but that didn’t stop Nick Twomey from speeding away from the line fn what used to be his regular parkrun, and opening up a 10 metre gap on the field. He was followed by a lead pack of what seemed to be 10 or so Ranelagh alongside a sole yellow Straggler vest.

Things seemed to be looking good, although as always in a mob, the real battle would be won or lost in the main field. So would Stragglers’ greater numbers win through in the end? We’d know a lap and two thirds later by the shot tower where Hadi and family had set up a feast of croissants, jam doughnuts and other delectables for the runners.

Sure enough the blue wave at the front came storming through, and although Nick’s earlier exuberance off the line had caught up with him a little, Ranelagh got the top 2 finishers courtesy of Joe Killip and our outgoing president, Ted Mockett. Their cracking performance was followed by 9 Ranelaghs finishing within the top 10, before we started to see more yellow appear among the blue vests.

We saw our first lady, Sarah Palmer, cross the line in 16th place overall, narrowly behind Emma Henshaw of Stragglers in 15th. But as time went on and with ever more yellow vests popping up, things suddenly started to look closer, with 26 of the first 50 finishers being Ranelagh against 24 from Stragglers. Was the tide turning?

Another wave of blue vests crossing the line with gritted teeth valiantly stopped that tide with some brilliant performances all round, from across all our ability groups. Ranelagh runners bagged 6 PBs alongside 11 first timers at Crane in what were far from ideal conditions.

Some personal favourites were Kevin Kearey crossing with his glasses fogged-up followed not long after by Josie Kearey looking, I think it’s fair to say, a little more composed. A great family showing although questions were asked about where Ann was. It turns out she was enjoying the Curly Wurly parkrun down in Somerset alongside an obligatory Curly Wurly – delicious!

And talking of delicious, it was brilliant to catch up with everyone over the pastries at the end and lovely to see so much mingling between the clubs. We even saw the Rothwell-Wright shield come out of a Straggler backpack to show us what we’ve missed for quite a few years now.

I think they were pretty confident when they said that, if we won, we’d be welcome to come over to run with them at one of their Thursday sessions and pick it up. Either that or an official handover at one of the Snaith’s or Killip’s houses where there are runners from both clubs…

So, what was the final position?

Ranelagh: 2,387
Stragglers: 3,087

Under the (bizarre to some) vagaries of mob match scoring (lowest score wins); this meant a resounding win for Ranelagh! There was only the remaining question of how many of us want to go to Stragglers one Thursday to collect that shield?

Thanks to everyone who ran and, more importantly, to those who volunteered and made it possible. And finally a huge thanks to the team at Crane who accommodated an extra 100 or so runners so well.

Race report by Gareth Williams
📸 Julia Snaith


july, 2024

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