Rejoice, for the cross-country season is upon us. There is nothing like an excursion into nature to lift the spirits. The club has greeted the season with such enthusiasm that this letter may require endurance worthy of its own mention, but I hope that you may persist on the written page as you did on the trails.
In the wilds of Devon on Monday some of our dear Ranelites pre-empted the first club engagement of the season with Keeley Phillips, Mike Peace, Mark Herbert and Eirin McDaid finishing as 2nd team in the hilly Lustleigh 10k.
The venerable Thomas Cup was the first official club fixture of the season, a short romp around Ranelagh’s traditional hunting grounds. This writer has often thought the handicaps the most curious of races, heeding neither reason nor rank. They say the brighter a runner shines the faster they may burn, and this is never proven more true than on the mob course where an overly exerting start can have severe consequences, as this writer and a parade of slow-moving Ranelites heading uphill to Sidmouth Wood would no doubt concur.
A full report will follow in the next day or so but suffice to say the handicap was won handsomely by Will Cavendish, while the fastest finishers were Wiebke Kortum, Carol Aikin and Sally Bamford and Mark Leyshon, Gareth Williams and James Riley.
In the heart of London Ranelites were to be seen competing in the self-aggrandisingly named Big Half. Your writer is delighted to see Ed Perry back to fitness finishing in 1.18.39, Jonathan Moore with a self-described mediocre 1.20, Tony Borreda in 1.21, Paul Doyle in 1.27, Adam Heetun in 1.39, Melanie Thomas in 1.48, Richard Pender in 1.50, Andy Griffin in 1.54, Mark Russell in 2.00 and Fiona Pugh in 2.08, along with race glutton Sean Griffith in 1.29. Rumours of a required extension to Sean’s estate to house his burgeoning collection of finisher’s medals are not able to be confirmed by this writer.
Closer to home Henry Fagan achieved a spectacular 20th overall and 1st junior in the London Duathlon. Many congratulations to this fine young athlete of Ranelagh.
In the outer reaches of the city Sarah Palmer was 1st in category and 2nd overall in the Hillingdon 20 in 2.14 and David Ready was 13th in 2.19. Also competing were Thomas Williams in 2.37 and Neha Rani in 3.04. Even further out Aoife Kilpatrick and Liam Griffin completed the far from flat Pilgrims Way half in 2.03 and 1.54 respectively.
A large Ranelagh contingent were to be found on the banks of the Thames this morning competing in the River Relay. A dedicated write up of this event will be forthcoming but the event, finishing with well-earned refreshments at the Anglers, sounded like a great success, and featured Robbie Hillhouse, Michelle Hillhouse, Marcus Atkins, Izzy Atkins, Fiona Jones, Archie Jones, Mike Morris, Sue Camp, Ann Kearey, Maia Rushby, Sally Bamford, Alex Ring, Tom Cameron & Hadi Khatamazideh. They were ably supported by drivers Gavin Hillhouse, Claire Warner and Ciaran O’Donnell (taking a well-deserved rest after his Comrades marathon last week).
The Parkrun highlights for the week were an impressive 16.39 and 3rd place at Bushy by Joe Gomes and James Whistler running a course PB for second place at Old Deer Park as part of a large Ranelagh contingent including the whole Minchella/Riley clan.
Daniel Chiechi dabbled in some far-flung Parkrun tourism in Tucson, Arizona and talking of matters further afield, a new generation of Ranelites down under are being prepared for their future debuts. David Criniti and Simon Wolziner completing 10k strider races in times which most of us could not aspire to unencumbered.
Also in the farthest reaches of the world, Nick Impey finished third in the Singapore Meta 10k, the 5am start seemingly neither having much impact on the humidity nor on his performance, finishing in 33.15.
While the new season brings a fresh start, your writer notes that there are constants across the seasons which are due acknowledgment. Regardless of the time of year it is comforting to know that by the time you rise from your slumber, Jonathan Moore will have churned out a metronomic threshold session at an indecently early time, James Riley will have already run, possibly twice and Rebecca Bissell will be either in preparation for or the throws of running something challenging and often exotic.
Last but by no means least in those matters constant across the seasons, Suzy Whatmough and James Ritchie will doubtless be found in a far flung part of Britain running scarcely plausible distances in the pouring rain. This week was the Ring of Fire, a three day test of stamina and sanity around the North West coast of Wales and Anglesey. Their final placings of 2nd and 18th confirm they both amply endowed with the former but I will leave judgement on the latter to the reader’s discretion. Their endeavours also prompted an unorthodox debate in the comments as various Ranelites posited answers to the fundamental question – how much is too much lasagne?
In even more challenging terrain Thomas Lahille was 11th in the Swiss Peaks 170km, in 36h33m, a race with the small matter of 11,500m of ascent. Chapeau Thomas.
While there were many admirable performances, the unquestioned diamond of this week is Inter 3’s Jon Holloway. Huge kudos for his completion of the Man Vs Mountain race in Llanberis, inspirational on every level.
So, congratulations to all those whose seasons are already blossoming with early promise. To those of you who find themselves out of fitness, fear not. For who knows when and where one’s fortunes may change.
🔹🔸🔹 The Podiums for this week 🔹🔸🔹
In total we ran a whopping 7,393km as a club across 829 activities.
🥇 James Ritchie 135miles
🥈 James Riley 78miles
🥉 Gareth Williams 63miles
🥇 Suzy Whatmough 143miles (!)
🥈 Sarah Palmer 62 miles
🥉 Neha Rani 54 miles
🥇 James Ritchie 12,369ft
🥈 Ralph Street 11,007ft
🥉 Jon Holloway 5,338ft
🥇 Suzy Whatmough 12,293ft
🥈 Rebecca Bissell 7,910ft
🥉 Keeley Phillips 3,796ft
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