Warm weather, the glow of victory, stunning sunsets and a heroic effort from a club stalwart. I think I could have spared myself the effort and just planted a giant 😊 in place of the rundown.
It was a quiet start to the week with a lot of tired legs and fuzzy heads from GBR festivities on Sunday. Ian Kenton got us rolling at 5.50am but the Ranelagh Strava stream was more of a trickle. A beautiful evening on Tuesday inspired bumper attendance at training though. After a jubilant recap of Sunday and some accusations of falsely impersonating a GBR stage winner aimed at a certain yellow clad member, the club happily spread out across Sidmouth Wood, Sheen Triangle and that back bit of the Clutton Cup course where everyone gets lost.
The victorious men’s GBR team decided to channel Sunday-lunch-at-the-pub-the-day-after-a-good-wedding energy, keeping the vibes going with a communal lap of the park, Eirin McDaid joining them in spirit with a matching distance run in Devon. There also seemed to be as much photography as running going on with some great shots taken (some of them below), followed by more reminiscing at the Roebuck.
Advanced 1 welcomed back the Australia based good egg Pete Smith for a guest return appearance, but sadly Tuesday saw the last Richmond based run for Liam Joyce who is also emigrating to the Eastern Hemisphere (Hackney).
Mark Herbert, for reasons he kept to himself decided to run 35 miles along the North Downs Way on Wednesday. Ross Macdonald was forced to divert his run around an “evil cow”. Eyes then turned North on Thursday where James Riley (JR2) and Suzy Whatmough tuned up for Saturday’s support duty with a casual 15 mile/1500m amble round Coledale.
Many Parks were run on Saturday with the usual Kingston Kelissa double act, Ric Motti having a NOT having it run at Wimbledon, a blazing PB of 17.45 by Matt Hirschler at Dulwich, ANOTHER PB for Amrut Sharma at Osterley and first finishes for David Ready (Hazlewood), Lucy Urbas & Ed Perry (Richmond). Sunday then saw a busy day of racing with Sally Bamford, Carol Aikin, Dave Kew and Ted Mockett at the Sutton 10k, Ed Smith at the Great Manchester 10k and Lauren Warner and Jarryd Hillhouse at the Hackney Half.
So finally to the event of the week. The Bob Graham round is a 66 mile, 8500m elevation challenge across 42 peaks in the Lake District. Completing within 24 hours is the most iconic of Britain’s ultra challenges, being both tantilisingly in reach for people not born half gazelle, but tough enough that any error, bad luck or temporary loss of momentum results in failure. Our men’s captain James Riley (JR2) became FKR (first known Ranelite) to complete it in June and this year the club’s leading type II fun exponent James Ritchie (JR1) sought to emulate. His preparation has been thorough, establishing a Cumbria branch of Skylight for the last few weeks. He also had the support of a large number of Ranelites and other ultra buddies (forming a Mob Bob you might say) including Sally Minchella, Clare Fowler, Suzy Whatmough, Jonny Smith, Mike Thomas and JR2, returning the favour from last year.
A late substitution of navigators bringing Suzy in for the night legs could have been disruptive but from the moment he sprinted down the Moot Hall steps there was never any doubt. Suzy led a flawless leg 1 before tactically conserving energy along the tops of leg 2, bringing him into Dunmail well ahead of schedule. JR2 took over on leg 3 and the only question became whether the nominative determinism from the numbering of the JRs would hold true and whether his road crew support could make it to the next checkpoint before him! Legs 4 and 5 saw Rick Jenner take over pacing before most of the team accompanied the glory leg into Keswick as James stormed home a final time of just over 20 hours. Completing would be enough of an achievement but that is a seriously fast time for a veteran – massive kudos to him and the team.
Running is seen as a solitary sport but the last week has demonstrated why we love being part of this club. When we compete and put on races together we enjoy a communal experience you just don’t get often in today’s world. Helping others achieve their goals from extreme ultra challenges to completing a first half marathon or running a 5k PB brings us all together in a way that feels truly special.
🥈🥇🥉 The Leaderboards:
🥇 James Riley 101 miles
🥈 James Ritchie 74 miles
🥉 Ralph Street 62 miles
🥇 Suzy Whatmough 59 miles
🥈 Sally Minchella 43 miles
🥉 Ria Woodfield 40 miles
🥇 James Ritchie 26,404ft
🥈 James Riley 18,990ft
🥉 Rick Jenner 9,009ft
🥇 Suzy Whatmough 18,281ft
🥈 Clare Fowler 5,840ft
🥉 Ria Woodfield 5,036ft
📢 📢📢📢 NOTICES 📢📢📢📢
1. There’s still time to sign up for the Ranelagh 10k on 25 June @ 9am. 💙 Sign up here @ https://www.ranelagh-harriers.co.uk/10k 👈
2. If you’re not running the 10k, we really need volunteers to help on the day. 💙 To volunteer, please email Gavin Hillhouse on firstname.lastname@example.org 👈
3. A reminder that RunAlive Podcast has a new episode out this week. Join hosts Ed Perry and Gary Armstrong as they talk to our men’s captain James Riley; about what it’s taken to leave his former career behind, to pursue his passion for coaching and running. 🎙️ Listen @ https://open.spotify.com/show/2sVes1jFMwSvFe8SfI5Sj0 👈
4. SAVE THE DATE: (Mini) Mob Match vs The Stragglers @ Bushy parkrun on Saturday 3 June @ 9am. It’s all about numbers so it’d be great if as many of us can turn up as possible to run the 5km course. 💙 All members welcome to run but for it to count, you’ll need to have registered with parkrun as being a Ranelagh Harriers member. If you haven’t already, all you have to do is sign into your parkrun profile, and under Groups in My Links, add Ranelagh Harriers as your club. 💛 If you have more than one club, please make Ranelagh your primary club for it to count. Then turn up at Bushy parkrun on 3 June at 9am and RUN!
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