Spring Handicap, 25th April 2022

The morning rain and cold had been replaced by a fairly pleasant evening, though there was still a bit of a chilly breeze – this is the Town Moor after all! So conditions were good for running with the paths over the hills nice and dry and just a little bit of mud in the woods. We were once again joined by a number of guests, including three ladies from Active Newcastle’s Monday night Civic Centre group.

It was one of the guests, Sophie Douglas, who romped home miles ahead of the field to win by nearly 3 minutes! Though technically a guest, Sophie has run with us on numerous occasions now and is a Claremonter in all but name. She is also known to us as a Leazes parkrun regular. I now realise that she treats parkrun as a nice sociable jog with her friends (and why not?). So well done, Sophie, but beware, the handicapper now knows your true ability and will get you next time!

With Sophie being a guest, the race for the handicap shield was a straight fight between Alistair Cargill and Lucas de Rosa who were both making their debuts on the Town Moor course. Alistair held off Lucas to win by 2 seconds. Next home was another guest, Andy Lie from the NE Marathon Club, who pipped Jose Gallego by a second. So Jose was 3rd Claremont Road Runner on his handicap debut, and the next two Sky Blues were also running this course for the first time – Naomi Rose and Martin Jobling.

With the Active Newcastle ladies and their guide (me) occupying the places from 10 to 13, it was, as often, guests and newer members who beat the handicapper. As such it was difficult for the faster runners to make it through the field to finish anywhere near the top – even though there were some very fast times indeed. In fact, Kris Axon has now made it onto the handicap honours board with the 3rd fastest time ever on the Town Moor course, 16:21. Two other runners, Jack Shawcross and Jonathan Gilroy, both ran under 18 minutes

Fastest lady on the night, Sarah Kerr, went one better and clocked a time (20:05) that places her 2nd on the all-time leaderboard. Maddie Day was 2nd fastest in 20:53 and guest Nikoletta Szolvak 3rd fastest lady in 21:31, just pipping Vicky Moore’s 21:33.

[Handicapper’s note: Guests and newer, improving runners, often claim the top spots as they are difficult to handicap. However it does look as though I was harsh on the “fasties” and I will bear it in mind for July.]

As ever, a big thank you to all the volunteer marshals and helpers. It was a new start and finish team and they did an admirable job on the night. Thanks to Anna for organising the social afterwards at the North Terrace, which everybody seemed to enjoy.

Results are here.

Tom Tinsley -