Claremont in Lockdown 2021

Now that we are gradually coming out of lockdown and can start running again in groups of 6 for the first time since before Christmas, I thought it time to look back at what we had done to keep ourselves fit and amused.

We started the year by running from Land’s End to John O’Groats – not literally but as a virtual Lads v Lasses challenge. Each team progressed up the country by the collective number of miles run (or walked) that day. It was a close run thing, but the Lasses reached the end on the 9th day to claim victory with the Lads just a few miles short.

Then there was the England Athletics Virtual Relay, though the prospect of running a fast 5 miles in the icy conditions prevalent at the time reduced the number of participants. We did manage to have a full team of 4 men and 4 women – and it is the taking part that counts!

At the end of January, we had the Winter Handicap, which, of course, was a virtual affair over 4 miles. Some ran the actual course from the Copthorne through the Business Park, but most chose their own 4 mile circuit. This completed a full year of virtual handicaps as our last “real” one was in January 2020. Once again we had a Zoom social with a quiz based on running and the North East – the running themed music round did show the age of the quiz master, but I think most enjoyed it.

Members were encouraged to set their own targets for February, and track them using a thermometer, but not many did! We have also been encouraged to look for signs of spring, which was challenging given the amount of ice and snow about.

As the Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge had made it 5-0 to the Lasses in the battle of the sexes, we thought that a game of chance might give the Lads a chance. So we started what turned out to be the longest game of Snakes and Ladders ever. This time the average miles run by each team became the roll of the die for that day, and the respective team counters were moved along the snakes and ladders board. There was very little evidence of tactical running, but despite avoiding most ladders and sliding down a couple of snakes, the Lads did make it home with the Lasses a long way back.

Finally we are trying our hands at speed dating. Couples were drawn at random to go on a blind date – this is turned into a version of speed dating by each member of the pair running 2 miles as fast as they can. The couple with the fastest combined time will win the prize.

Throughout, Kenny has continued to act as club DJ and comedian, and Janet as our nature expert.

We have had some fun, but let us hope that this is the last lockdown!