One of the joys of rediscovering running for me has been reconnecting with the environment in a visceral way. I grew up in remote Staffordshire in a village of 60 souls where there was little but cows, ponies, sheep and fields for miles around. I learned to use guns and knives. Our telephone exchange was, literally, Field. We feral kids were not so much protective of wildlife as part of it. Arriving in London in the early 1980s, I vowed never again to live in a place where cow pats, dried and sloppy, coated narrow roads, horse manure was the pervasive aroma and where it was perfectly normal to eat animals you had helped raise.
Four decades later, then, what a joy to run with possibly one of the few, maybe the only club, in the country where training is preceded by a warning not to go into the local park if you don’t want to get shot in the latest cull. Sometimes I just like to take a moment to reflect that we run in a park with real live deer. And now one of the roads down which we train is closed currently to allow toads to migrate safely to Ham pond. (I’m writing this while watching David Attenborough’s latest on the British Isles so please forgive, but I do feel a bit emotional!) Ed Perry and James Riley were among those who reported on the toad patrol, the volunteers who step out to help transport the migrating toads to the pond.
So even the slightly grim weather we’ve been having cannot totally take the shine off our special location so close to Richmond Park. Lucy Urbas was among those who got soaked, out training at the start of the week. Andrew Kew managed to fit in a quick run between showers. Many Ranelaghs are entering the endurance phase of training for the London Marathon and Clare Fowler ticked off 30k in one go. Strava has obviously decided that this kind of thing is the norm among us, leaving Lauren Warner “mildly offended” when the app told her on Tuesday that the 8x400m club training session was a “low effort”. Calum Campbell took to the treadmill on Zwift driven indoors by weather. Jess Herbert did a “snow run”. And going slightly off piste, James Riley visited Kingston Gate to draw a Strava “heart” on the map, a new fun game perhaps to start playing in app. Henry Fagan also reported running a “cool shape”.
Suzy Whatmough has been in Australia visiting her brother Al, who was a Ranelagh member before moving out there four years ago. She “ran to walk to swim” in Clovelly on the hottest day in Sydney for the last last two years and took the opportunity to do the Six Foot Track marathon, a 45 km trail stretching across the Blue Mountains from the Explorer’s Marked Tree, near Katoomba, to the Jenolan Caves. This was after a quick run round the Olympic Park in Sydney. She managed to come in seventh lady in 4:53 despite “not feeling like a spritely Sheila”. Henry Fagan did a 5k time trial in 14:48. Claire Fowler ran the Surrey half in 1:29, making her an impressive fifth VW40. Liam Griffin also ran the Surrey half, in 1:37.
In parkrun on Saturday, Rue Turner clocked up his 250th in the Netherlands, at Amsterdamse Bos, in 23:56. Ranelagh’s Kris Davidson took pole position at Old Deer Park in 18:51 and Joanna Moore was first lady at 22:21. Benjamin Anderson won at Wanaka – on New Zealand’s South Island – in 16:38. Nick Wright was second at Kingston in 18:17. Niall O’Connor was second at Clonakilty in 20:23, Marianne Malam was 12th lady at Osterley in 24:55.
And yesterday, capping off what has been an energetic x-country season, was the Ranelagh Harriers Mob Match vs Blackheath and Bromley Harriers. It was a great turnout by Ranelagh members far and wide. With just seven from Blackheath, a decision was taken to allow all to score. Blackheath ran well but Ranelagh stormed home to score a perfect first to seventh place, ahead of Blackheath’s Ian Scott in eighth, giving Ranelagh 28 while Blackheath notched up 192, making Ranelagh the winners this year. Another great day’s running in our lovely setting. Watch out for the full race report soon.
🥈🥇🥉 The Leaderboards:
🥇James Riley 132.6km
🥈 Ralph Street 121.8km
🥉 Tony Borreda 109.5km
🥇 Suzy Whatmough 87.2km
🥈 Lucy Urbas 82.5km
🥉 Ria Woodfield 80.8km
🥇 James Ritchie 2788m
🥈 Ralph Street 1873m
🥉 Ryan Fisher 1659m
🥇 Suzy Whatmough 2355m (second overall)
🥈 Rebecca Bissell 1977m (third overall)
🥉 Ria Woodfield 1429m
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