‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
Admittedly it’s a couple of days early but given Ranelagh Harriers’ proclivity for fast times, PBs and best efforts; we reckon we’d be forgiven. Just a few festive related things to share – hopefully guaranteed to bring a smile to all our faces.
Last Tuesday saw some 60+ Rane-lights, both young and young-at-heart, gather at Richmond Green like the proverbial gaggle of; for the annual Christmas Cracker Relay. For those unfamiliar with the format, teams of 4 (ish) dash round, handing off their baton (read Christmas cracker) to their teammates. The duration of the relay goes on for a period determined mainly by the whims and fancies of RD Simon Martin. Upon his final whistle blow, the winning team is the one judged to have the most intact cracker.
The night was cool, dry but dark. Visibility was not ideal, but spirits were high, with much laughter and joviality. As the whistle blew, everyone sprang into action, the first runners sprinting across the green to their teammates on the other side. As runners came round to the start/finish, to hand off and begin the loop again, it became clear that a variety of tactics were in play.
There was the ‘cutting-the-corner’ tactic; the ‘run-with-a-young-child’ ploy; the ‘run-fast-cracker-be-damned’ plan, the ‘skip-past-your-teammate’ strategy, the ‘steady-as-she-goes-it’s-dark-out-there’ policy and many more. RD Simon eventually drew breath, loudly whistled, and everyone gathered to present their crackers for club president Ted Mockett’s perusal.
It quickly became clear that a few more than expected crackers had survived the flailing arm swings and speedy efforts of all. Although Lloyd Camp’s team seemed to have missed the memo regarding keeping their cracker intact: his presentation showcased a measly end of the cracker and not much more; the rest seemingly strewn across the green.
After some deliberation, it came down to two teams: Team Maisy (Maisy Fowler, Clare Fowler, James Ritchie & Suzy Whatmough) and Team Rory (Rory Griffith, Shaun Griffith, Bruce McLaren, Mike Morris & Obi Morris). Under the shine of many head torches, young Maisy and the even-younger Rory, steadfastly presented their practically identical (and very intact) cracker. A battle of trembling bottom lips commenced.
After some deliberation, Ted decided that it most certainly had to be a TIE! A huge huzzah ensued and after some genial chatter, everyone headed over to the Cricketers for some festive libations. Thanks to the organisers – including Deborah Blakemore – and all the participants.
A gentle reminder that there is a festive Strava challenge for those feeling the need for… not sure what.. over the holidays. The 12 Days of Christmas Challenge starts 25th December and all you need to do is get out there and clock as many festive themed runs as you can until 5th January inclusive.
You can read more about it here https://www.strava.com/clubs/32034/posts/22778058 > (Strava) or here https://www.facebook.com/groups/2371472447/posts/10161329879902448/ > (Facebook)
In closing, our illustrious Honorary Secretary Trevor Maguire shares a lovely picture and writes:
‘Myself and Andy (Bickerstaff) joined the tail end of the Ranelagh “Last of the Summer Wine” (as they call themselves) Christmas meal a week or so ago at the Rose of York.
Always good to catch up with some Ranelagh legends – Alan Howard, Alan Hedger, John Hanscomb, Ken Powley and Ivan Boggis. In total, there’s some 260 mob matches run between them and numerous more in terms of marshalling mobs, and goodness knows what else they’ve done for the club over the years!!
There are a few others who join occasionally during the year including Martin Clark and Peter Fordham who weren’t there on the night; with myself and Andy being honorary members.’
Given the thousands of kudos given across Strava, and the many shout outs and commendations earned (and returned) by our members throughout the year; it’s only right that we end this year, with a nod, a thought and a HUGE thank you to the aforementioned – and additionally Steve & Sonia Rowland – for blazing the trails before us. They’ve all been – and continue to be – inspirational in every way.
In closing, we’d like to wish all our members the warmest of wishes for the happiest of holidays – stay warm, healthy and safe everyone!