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Ranelagh Strava Rundown #199

If you don’t mind me, dear friends, starting this shortened missive with an overly grandiose statement: This is turning into a bit of golden summer for Ranelagh, especially for the women’s team this weekend. What a time to be part of the club!

Swiftly on the back of our famous victory in the Green Belt Relay, backed up with 3rd at the South Downs Way Relay last week, this weekend proved that as a club, we are far from a one or even a two trick pony, but indeed a whole field of horses… so with that in mind – let’s get the bit between our teeth and focus our blinkered attention on Wales, and the happenings of Saturday morning at Man vs Horse:

🔷 Man Vs Horse 🔷
The BBC published an article on this famed race, but it was pants. So here’s a proper report from James Riley who ran the race:

‘A tiger!’ ‘A lion!’ Were the guesses the children of Burdett Coutts school when asked what I was racing this weekend. When told it was a horse their immediate questions were ‘has anyone died?’ and ‘has anyone been seriously injured?’ Not as far as I know but it did make me think…

Man vs Horse was dreamed up, where else, but in a pub. In this case the Neuadd Arms Hotel in Llanwrtyd Wells (the UK’s smallest town and home to the bog snorkelling world championships), where the landlord heard two men arguing which was faster a man or a horse and decided to set up a race to find the answer. In 40 odd years man has beaten horse 4 times so the answer’s pretty unequivocal!

The circumstances that lead to a crack team of 8 Ranelites (Man vs Horse veteran Ross MacDonald, Mark Herbert, Nick Impey, Marc Leyshon, James Ritchie, James Riley, Jonathan Smith and Suzy Whatmough) and Bad Boy Dave Hellard toe the line are lost in the mists of time but here we were and it was going to be HOT! And the race started at 11 🥵

First things first, it’s the only race I know that provides free food the night before and it was quite a spread. We also found out the FT we’re writing an article – WTAF?

So to the race itself. After some pre race chat from news reader and runner extraordinaire Sophie Rayworth and Susie Chan (decked out on a puffer jacket to help heat acclimatise for the Badwater 135) we were off. Nick and Ross shot ahead and your author tucked into a group with Marc and Jonathan. There were a fair few SLH shirts on display and it looked like it might be a South London showdown for the team prize.

Caught behind a slower runner at about 5k, like a newb, I somehow got lost. Running along unmarked forest tracks I was massively relieved to find a water station and find my way back on course. By extraordinary coincidence Suzy and Dave were at the water station allowing me to work out I’d run an extra kilometre.

The next 20k were great fun chasing runners down across forest tracks, moors and fields. After 10k I passed the first women and realised that Suzy was in second place.

By about 25k the heat was beginning to tell. I’d caught up with Mark and we were running together. I was now in a fight for survival, I’d drunk plenty but had not managed my electrolytes well and was cramping on the downhills. Mark gallantly stuck with me and we finished in 3 hours 1 minute.

We were passed by the first three horses after about 30k. If it was bad for the humans in the heat, it was worse for the horses. There’s a vet check at halfway where they’re held until their heart rate drops to 60 and this took longer than usual.

Ahead of us Nick had come third human in 2:35 (beaten by the three horses that passed Mark and me), Ross was sixth (2:42), Jonathan tenth (in a redemptive 2:49, after last year’s trip to the medical tent) – sealing the team prize for Ranelagh – and Marc fifteenth in 2:55.

After 3 hours 8 minutes a huge cheer announced the arrival of the first woman. To our excitement who came around the corner but Ranelagh’s very own superstar Suzy Whatmough having taken the lead with 5k to go. Check out the BBC article here – why Suzy didn’t get a photo and why we care about last year’s winner, Ricky Lightfoot, we don’t know…

James rounded out the Ranelagh runners in 3:51, unsurprisingly feeling the Bob Graham in his legs.

After taking full advantage of the free runners‘ refreshments and the excellent pizza van, we finished off our recovery sitting in the river drinking beer and eating ice cream. The whole team were honoured to meet Jonathan’s parents and Ranelagh super fans Mr and Mrs Smith, who oversaw some awesome performances in an awesome race 😀

🔶 Turks Head 10 🔶

Back in South West London, the equally famed Turks head ten took place in the sweltering close city heat with a host of Ranelites taking part, some wearing the neon green of a local plumbing firm. Cantering in as first lady was Nic Douglas in 40 minutes dead. Mike Morris was 4th male and won himself a voucher to spend in his own shop. Fabulous piece of marketing that! They were followed by an absolute galloping stampede of Ranelagh and friends, of which there are too many to list, but the attached photo bears witness to.

🔷 Comrades 🔷

As if that’s not enough today was also the most famous and popular ultra marathon in the world – the Comrades Marathon in South Africa and this year was a down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban- which I’m reliably informed doesn’t make it any easier – trotting downhill can be a little difficult on the quads. Jarryd Hillhouse set out with what he refers to himself as the “very ambitious goal of going sub-8”. He went through half way in 4:11 and picked up the pace multiple times in the last half to claw the time back and finish in 7:59:20 – a 1:17 minute PB! Which is quite the largest PB I’ve ever reported on. Give me a carrot – congratulations Jarryd!

🔶 Fishbourne Flat Five 🔶

Down on the south coast and galloping in Chichester colours, but with Ranelagh firmly in her heart (first claim!) was Natalie Haarer, who took first lady in this 5 mile race to make it a fantastic treble for Ranelagh’s women this week.

🔷 Eastbourne Triathlon 🔷

Ruth Gledhill took on the Eastbourne Standard Triathlon and finished in 3:28:07. Great effort overcoming injury and sounds like it was a great day out with plenty of support and encouragement.

Don’t know about you, but with that, I’m off to my stable to bury my face in a nose bag. Giddy up!


📢 📢📢📢 NOTICES 📢📢📢📢

1. There’s still time to sign up for the Ranelagh 10k on 25 June @ 9am. 💙 Sign up here @ 👈

2. If you’re not running the 10k, we really need volunteers to help on the day. 💙 To volunteer, please email Gavin Hillhouse on 👈

3. Run Unbound coaching is running a free trail running workshop designed for beginner and intermediate trail runners at 10am on Saturday 17 June in Richmond Park. To find out more and register you can go to 👈


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Ranelagh / Bearcats / Pinnacle at the Turks Head 10

july, 2024

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In this section:

Surrey cross country league standings

LeagueTeam PositionFull details
Ladies Div 17/15league table
Men Div 18/9league table
Ladies Div U159/16league table
Men Div U15/U1716/18league table