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2023 Ratchford Relay: Race Report & Results

Devised in 1998 by former club president Frances Ratchford as a ‘summer event for women’, the Ratchford Relay is one of the much loved social highlights of our club’s event calendar. Traditionally signalling an end to the season’s fixtures, this relay features teams of three: a ‘fast’, ‘medium’ and an ‘improving’ runner, respectively running three, two & one lap of approx. 1km each, with great emphasis on it being a fun, rather than competitive, event.

Open to all women as well as juniors, this year’s course featured a slight detour to accommodate park works; yet still incorporating that deceptively challenging uphill climb both at the start and the end.

Event handicappers Suzy Whatmough, Carol Aikin & Deborah Blakemore, pulled together 7 teams to ensure a more-or-less even spread of talent across the field. Once the teams had been assigned and numbers allocated, Frances explained the rules, and everyone was ready to go.

All chose to field their fastest runner for the first loop and on a ‘ready, GO!’, off they went – with Elizabeth Bailey setting the pace, followed by Rebecca Bissell, Marianne Malam, Rachel Smith, Maia Rushby, Victoria Martin and Rachel Revett.

At the end of Lap 1, Elizabeth (03:47) stormed through to hand over to Candice Goddard, giving her a respectful lead over the field. Marianne (04:22) came through to handover to Sally Bamford, who gave chase. Within seconds of each other, Rachel Smith (04:26), Rebecca (04:33), Maia (04:34), Victoria (04:34) and Rachel Revett (04:48) handed over to their respective teammates: Steph Neville, Colette Doran, Carol Aikin, Clare Fowler and Claire Warner.

At the end of Lap 2, Clare Fowler (04:27), clearly not suffering AT ALL from her Lakeland Ultra at the weekend, handed back to teammate Victoria. Mere seconds later, Carol (04:30) also handed back to Maia, followed by Candice (05:26) handing back to Elizabeth. Sally (05:01), Claire Warner (04:41), Steph (05:05) and Colette (05:05) also swiftly came through to hand back to Marianne, Rachel Revett, Rachel Smith and Rebecca. So far, all the teams were pursuing the same strategy.

Elizabeth (03:48) monstered her Lap 3, handing over to Anja Singer. Victoria Martin (04:23) was second, handing over to Victoria Orme, followed not long after by Maia (04:23), Marianne (04:34), Rachel Smith (04:29), Rachel Revett (04:50) and Rebecca (04:36), who handed over to their respective teammates: Jackie Dunkley, Fiona Jones, Deborah Blakemore, Magnus (led by Suzy Whatmough) and Wendy Fisher. At this stage, there was slightly over a minute between all the teams.

At the end of Lap 4, Jackie (06:17) held off a valiant attempt by Victoria Orme (06:35) to hand back to Carol and Clare Fowler respectively. Not long after, Magnus (05:43) trotted over in 3rd to hand back to Rachel Revett. There was less than 20 seconds between the 3 teams. Fiona (06:16), Wendy (06:13), Deborah (06:32) and Anja (07:46) came safely across, handing back to their respective teammates Sally, Colette, Steph and Candice.

At all times there was much clapping, cheering and words of support for everyone valiantly running, not just by their own teammates but by everyone present.

At the end of Lap 5, Carol (04:36) pipped Clare Fowler (04:22) to cross first by ONE WHOLE SECOND, before handing over to Maia for the glory leg. Clare handed over to Victoria Martin, who shot off like a bullet, giving chase. 20 seconds later, Rachel Revett (04:42) crossed in 3rd to hand over to Claire Warner. Meanwhile Sally (05:06), Colette (05:07), Steph (05:06) and Candice (05:33) crossed to hand over to Marianne, Rebecca, Rachel Smith and Elizabeth.

The teams were truly very closely matched, with no more than 2 minutes between everyone by the end of Lap 5. Would it be the same 1-2-3 that crossed the line at the end of Lap 6?

As the leaders came into view, Maia and Victoria Martin were neck and neck along the final straight. Turning up towards that final, oh-so-horrid climb to the finish, both started to pick up the pace. Victoria pushed hard but Maia clung on. Each gave it their all for what seemed like an eternity but in the end, Maia (04:17) surged ahead to take 1st place for her team, with Victoria Martin (04:22) taking 2nd for her team 6 seconds later. 3rd place went to Claire Warner’s (04:45) team and 4th place went to Marianne’s (04:35) team. Congratulations to our first 4 teams!

The remaining places featured a fabulous (friendly) battle between glory leg runners Rebecca, Elizabeth and Rachel Smith. As they approached the final climb to the finish, it quickly became a blistering 3-way sprint to the line. Amidst much cheering and encouragement, they ran their hearts out to the finish: Rebecca (04:30) and Elizabeth (03:44) tying for their teams and Rachel Smith (04:27) a second later for her team.

Well done to everyone who participated. As with every Ratchford Relay, any sense of competition was vastly overshadowed by the wonderful camaraderie, solidarity and fellowship amongst all present. As per convention, Frances awarded the winners – Maia Rushby, Carol Aikin & Jackie Dunkley – their well-deserved prizes of headbands, and farewells were said.

Kudos to Elizabeth Bailey who was the fastest overall; followed by Clare Fowler and Maia Rushby. In closing, a huge shout-out to the organisers and volunteers – Frances Ratchford, Suzy Whatmough, Carol Aikin, Deborah Blakemore, Kelly Thomas, Pete Vox, Phil Aiken & Narissa Vox – who were instrumental in making the event a huge success. Great work team!

2023 Ratchford Relay Winners: Maia Rushby, Carol Aikin & Jackie Dunkley


💙 Team Results:
💛 Lap Times:
💙 Individual Speed Order:

Ratchford Relay 2023 Team Results

PlaceRace TimeRunners
128.37Maia Rushby · Carol Aikin · Jackie Dunkley
228.43Victoria Martin · Clare Fowler · Victoria Orme
329.29Rachel Revett · Claire Warner · Magnus & Suzy Whatmough
429.54Marianne Malam · Sally Bamford · Fiona Jones
530.04Rebecca Bissell · Colette Doran · Wendy Fisher
630.04Elizabeth Bailey · Candice Goddard · Anja Singer
730.05Rachel Smith · Steph Neville · Deborah Blakemore

Ratchford Relay 2023 Lap Times

Lap 1Lap 2Lap 3Lap 4Lap 5Lap 6
Elizabeth Bailey03:47Clare Fowler04:27Elizabeth Bailey03:48Magnus & Suzy Whatmough05:43Clare Fowler04:22Elizabeth Bailey03:44
Marianne Malam04:22Carol Aikin04:30Victoria Martin04:23Wendy Fisher06:13Carol Aikin04:36Maia Rushby04:17
Rachel Smith04:26Claire Warner04:41Maia Rushby04:23Fiona Jones06:16Rachel Revett04:42Victoria Martin04:22
Rebecca Bissell04:33Sally Bamford05:01Rachel Smith04:29Jackie Dunkley06:17Sally Bamford05:06Rachel Smith04:27
Maia Rushby04:34Steph Neville05:05Marianne Malam04:34Deborah Blakemore06:32Steph Neville05:06Rebecca Bissell04:30
Victoria Martin04:34Colette Doran05:05Rebecca Bissell04:36Victoria Orme06:35Colette Doran05:07Marianne Malam04:35
Rachel Revett04:48Candice Goddard05:26Rachel Revett04:50Anja Singer07:46Candice Goddard05:33Claire Warner04:45

Ratchford Relay 2023 Speed Order

NameAverage per kmNameAverage per km
Elizabeth Bailey03:46Steph Neville05:06
Clare Fowler04:25Colette Doran05:06
Maia Rushby04:25Candice Goddard05:30
Victoria Martin04:26Magnus & Suzy Whatmough05:43
Rachel Smith04:27Wendy Fisher06:13
Marianne Malam04:30Fiona Jones06:16
Carol Aikin04:33Jackie Dunkley06:17
Rebecca Bissell04:33Deborah Blakemore06:32
Claire Warner04:43Victoria Orme06:35
Rachel Revett04:47Anja Singer07:46
Sally Bamford05:04
NOTE: Based on average time per km across all laps/distance run



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