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102nd Annual Mob Match v Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC

In Richmond Park, such a sight to behold,
Against Blackheath & Bromley did unfold,
Versus Ranelagh Harriers, so loud & bold.

All runners gathered, ready to run,
Continuing a tradition, under the winter sun,
Both sides ready, for some cross-country fun.

The mob match began, the pace was fast,
Through the park they went, running past,
One other, desperately trying to outlast.

The hills were tough, but they pushed on,
Sweating, panting, and huffing, past some swans,
To Sidmouth Woods, where the finish line was drawn.

Ranelagh Harriers cheered with pride,
Having won this year’s challenge, side by side,
As Blackheath & Bromley, were forced to abide.

Next year they’ll meet, yet again,
In Norman Park, a new battle will begin,
The 103rd mob match, an age-old tradition.

With some help from ChatGPT, the outcome of Ranelagh’s 102nd annual mob match vs Blackheath and Bromley Harriers AC could be neatly and simply encapsulated in the above limerick. However, modern technology can only do so much to summarise the drama of what was a cracking day of cross-country.

From the fact that Blackheath thought the event was on the Sunday until just a week before, to the 11th hour course diversion to avoid path repairs, to the threat of imminent rain and Richmond town centre traffic – there was much to suggest that the event might (shock-horror) not go ahead.

But go ahead it did. 7 stalwart ‘Heathens’ (and easily twice as many spectators) made the journey from Bromley to join 39 Ranelagh Harriers for a ‘good run in the countryside’ aka two laps of the traditional mob match route; a distance of approximately 12.2km.

In the spirit of competition, RD Andy Bickerstaff decided to forgo the intricacies of mob match scoring; making it 7 to score.

After photos, club cries and some timely messages, the runners set off, thundering down towards Queen’s Ride, to be greeted and supported by the marshals out on course. As they crossed the line to begin their second lap, two Blackheath’s were interspersed between Ranelagh front runners: Ian Scott and Jessica Keene, both running strongly.

Despite their efforts however, it was clearly very much a numbers game; and at the end of the 2nd lap, our likely lads in blue & yellow confidently crossed the finish one after another – scoring a perfect 7 for an indisputable Ranelagh win.

First was ‘Win-Everything’ Marc Leyshon (44:30), followed by ‘Always-Second’ Jonny Smith (45:15), and then ‘Ever-Third-or-Fourth’ Ted Mockett (46:20) in 3rd. In 4th place was ‘Ever-Fourth-or-Third’ Dave Lawley (46:37), followed by ‘Steadfast’ Philip Collins (47:09), ‘Set-Off-Too-Fast’ Tom Cameron (47:14) in 6th and ‘I-Love-Hills’ James Riley (48:57) in 7th place. Well done all!

Blackheath’s Ian Scott (50:44) took 8th place, while Jessica Keene (52:30) claimed 1st lady (12th overall) but it was all for naught. The final score was Ranelagh 28 and Blackheath 192. Kudos to Molly Riglin (54:49), running in her first mob match and coming in as 1stRanelagh lady (17th overall)!

A convivial prize-giving then followed at the clubhouse, supplemented by Carol’s much appreciated tea & sandwiches. The award ceremony featured the Pelling-Ratcliff Cup (which, like many of Blackheath runners, didn’t make it to mob match) awarded in absentia back to Ranelagh.

Win-Everything’ Marc Leyshon was also awarded the FB Thompson Medal (1st finisher at a Blackheath mob) and the Wynne Cup (club champion), while ‘Lord-Admiral-Professor-Sir’ Dr Peter Haarer won the Harry Sheer trophy (1st over 50 at a Blackheath mob).

Shout out to all the brilliant volunteers & marshals who stayed out on course until every runner came home. And a huge thank you to everyone who turned out to make the day a wonderful success.

💛 Results (PDF): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uq0RvwfjqNE23orUJQR_AWlImtPRmZF2/view?usp=sharing >
💙 Official times: (PDF): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rfT7-2Lwf5VIcpDLkDeXRjohgDGfSgni/view?usp=sharing >
📸 Photos (by Blackheath): http://bandbhac.org.uk/ranelagh11-03-23.html >

february, 2024

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Surrey cross country league standings

LeagueTeam PositionFull details
Ladies Div 17/15league table
Men Div 18/9league table
Ladies Div U159/16league table
Men Div U15/U1716/18league table

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