The week of UTMB, Comrades, speedy 5ks, summer holidays, and as always, weather!
🔹🔸🔹 The Highlights of the week 🔹🔸🔹
🔷 🌎 Ranelaghs were running all over the globe this week. We had Shaun Griffiths melting in the heat in Tunisia, Nick Impey running hot hilly miles in Phuket, Hadi Khatamizadeh in humid Hungary, Verka Leaf exploring and scrambling in Portugal, Amrut Sharma sampling all the dessert in Slovenia, Nick Drewitt, Felix Von Schubert, and Andy Starr in sunny France, Ed Forbes commando crawling up Montana Blanca in windy Lanzarote, John Tovell in beautiful Switzerland, Christie Hill running rainy hills in Toronto, Paul Murphy on the Giants Causeway in Ireland, and Sam Dalgleish, also in Ireland, noting his surprise at finding bigger hills than expected on the Dublin Mountain Way (the name might have been enough of a giveaway!).
🔶 Closer to home we had the self-confessed hill dodging Day clan, unsuccessfully avoiding hills in Devon, but being rewarded with beautiful views. Also venturing to the South West this week was Gary Amrstrong enjoying the Camel Trail, Toby Cooper on the Tamer Valley Discovery Trail, Mark Herbert and Eirin McDaid enjoying easy miles together in Devon, and the Fagan’s exploring around Bournemouth.
🔷 🌞 It wouldn’t be a complete rundown without mentioning the weather, and this week has certainly delivered! Tuesday was “clammy” and “humid 💦”. Wednesday had Clare Fowler wondering “why did no one mention it had got QUITE SO HOT AGAIN 🥵”. Thursday had Jimmy Whistler “moist 💦” – this time because of a very welcome downpour. By Friday, everyone was enjoying the fog, including Candice Goddard who was running off a birthday hangover (happy birthday Candice 🎂!).
🔶 🐦 This week’s earliest early bird was Jonathan Moore, out of the door on Wednesday at 5:18. But we had lots of competition from you dedicated bunch. Rebecca Bissell was out shortly after Jonathan at 5:49 for her easy (like) “Yo Mama” run, and then Sarah Palmer 10 minutes after that for her usual impressive Wednesday morning long run. Later in the week, James Ritchie, who had been glued to UTMB live for much of Friday night (more on that below) went for a 5:35am lap of the park on Saturday morning. Although for Bruce McLaren, Sally Minchella and Susan Ritchie, early morning running just meant a continuation from the preceding day and night, or in Bruce’s case, nights!
🔷 In parkrun this week, Marc Leyshon had a buggy debut at Hazelwood, noting a “solid performance by Thomas, asleep by the finish line!”, whilst Jim Graham was in Barnstaple running with 3 generations of family, including daughter Laura’s first ever 5k parkrun. Ruth Gledhill ran a PB at Old Deer Park for her 25th parkrun in 28:24, and both Ted Mockett and Rick Jenner ran their fastest times this year – Ted in 17:30 at Bushy Park, and Rick in 18:43 at Osterley. Great milestones and improvements. It was also lovely to see the gang back at Richmond Park parkrun 📷 – Carol Aikin, Sue Camp, Rebecca Bissell, Jo Marshall, Aoife Kilpatrick, Claire Warner, and Ann Kearey.
🔶 Cordy Parker and Sarah Palmer just keep getting faster, this week earning themselves 5k PBs in very impressive times. Cordy ran 17:10 at the Mid Cheshire 5k, and Sarah Palmer was first female at Bushy Park parkrun in a time of 17:59. Well done both 👏!
🔷 ⛰️ For those of you not glued to UTMB live this weekend (congrats, you lead a fuller life than your correspondent!), this was live coverage and tracking of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc races, and made for very exciting viewing. We tracked our Ranelagh runners, viewing them at aid stations en route, whilst watching the very best endurance trail runners competing, and enjoying magnificent views of the scenery in France, Italy and Switzerland.
First up were Sally Minchella and Susan Ritchie taking on the CCC, which is 98km from Courmayeur, to Champex-Lax to Chamonix, and 6,100m of elevation. To put this into local context, this is the equivalent height gain of 217 times up Nightingale Lane. But with really long climbs, in mountains, and running through 3 different countries. After setting off at 8.30am on Friday morning, Sally finished at 6.15am the next day, in a superb time of 21:45:23. Sally writes: “what I liked: Cowbells! Rung for the runners in villages and at checkpoints (so you could tell when you were near 😃, beautiful scenery, people out in villages cheering on runners. What I didn’t like: dodgy knee on downhills from 30k – ouch! Muchos queueing on single track – on and off throughout 😬”. Another brilliant run from Sally, who impresses us with her determination and ability to perform best in the hardest races.
Susan made it to 73km, and 4,973m of climb, before unfortunately having to call it a day in the early hours of Saturday morning having been struggling with stomach issues. A very impressive day in the Alps nonetheless, and we hope you recover well Susan!
Next up was Bruce McLaren who took on the UTMB race, which is 171km and 10,091m of climb. To put this into context, this is the height of Everest, plus an extra 44 times up Nightingale Lane, covering over 100 miles in a circuit around Mont Blanc. Basically, totally bonkers. Bruce started in Chamonix on Friday at 5pm, and finished at 11.13am on Sunday, completing the race in 42:13:59. Bruce writes: “Keeping things positive I can honestly say I will never forget these 42 hours. A race of three thirds: body refused to work at night but smashed it when the sun was out. Lovely for the kids to be allowed to join for the finish”. Perhaps one of the more unforgettable moments was when he fell 20ft down a cliff, luckily managing to grab some vegetation which slowed him enough for friction to do the rest. He says it cost him 2 minutes, but we’re just glad it didn’t cost him anything more! Well done Bruce, a huge achievement – you can wear that gilet with pride.
🔶 Next up for live tracking this weekend was Comrades, an iconic 90km road ultramarathon in South Africa. Each year it changes direction, and this year it was a “down” run, which means starting in Pietermaritzburg (approx. 700m above sea level) and finishing in Durban, on the coast. Despite it being net downhill, it still involves 1,150m of climb. That, combined with the distance, and the impact of the downhills on your quads, makes this a very challenging race. We had Jarryd Hillhouse and Ciaran O’Donnell racing this year, with Jarryd finishing in 9:16:08 (a 1h32 PB on the down run), and Ciaran in 11:24:37. Fantastic running both of you 👏
Jarryd writes: “Had a shocker today. My legs were wrecked before I got to halfway. From there, I couldn’t run the uphills, I had to walk them. I could manage a run/walk on the flats and I could run the downs. I walked it in from 84km as I couldn’t run. I knew going for silver, I was risking not getting the sub-9 medal. I was well and truly humbled today. And now I can’t walk 😂”.
There’s no race report from Ciaran yet on Strava, but we look forward to hearing about it soon.
🔹🔸🔹 Upcoming 🔹🔸🔹
Don’t forget to sign up NOW for the Thomas Cup Handicap taking place at 1.30pm on Saturday 3 September. Thank you to Inter 3’s, James Riley, and Ed Perry who have been helping to clear a path through the ferns!
Entry is free but you must register via the Eventbrite link to allow the handicapper time to allocate the handicaps.
Entries will close at 11pm on Wednesday 31 August so please don’t delay: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/thomas-cup-tickets-401167662277
Please arrive to collect your number at the clubhouse at 12.30pm. We will also be doing our annual club photo at 1pm. We also need marshals & volunteers for this event, so if you can’t run, please contact Andy Bickerstaff at email@example.com as soon as possible.
🔹🔸🔹 The Podiums for this week 🔹🔸🔹
🥇 Bruce McLaren 174.5km
🥈 James Riley 125.7km
🥉 Jonathan Moore 118.1km
🥇 Sally Minchella 102.2km
🥈 Amanda Munro 76.5km
🥉 Rebecca Bissell 66.0km
In total we ran a whopping 6,628km as a club.
🥇 Bruce McLaren 9,865m
🥈 Nick Impey 1,413m
🥉 Ian Kenton 1,245m
🥇 Sally Minchella 5,881m (🥈 overall)
🥈 Ria Woodfield 1,161m
🥉 Amanda Munro 1,019m
1. Join the Strava group: https://www.strava.com/clubs/ranelagh-harriers
2. Log your run and give it a catchy title
3. Set the privacy settings of your run to be seen by “Everyone”
4. Check back here every week for highlights