Claremont @ Weetslade, 28th June 2023

Having had an excellent response for the need to supply volunteers to marshal and generally help out at Weetslade, we had enough spare to fill our quota of 4 teams on the night. They didn’t let us down!

I felt good lining up at the start for my first Weetslade race, despite knowing that being on first leg meant I would be trailing in the slipstream of some seriously fast speed-demons. The near-constant Wednesday rain had at least stopped for us.

8 out of 12 of us were running the race for the first time, some of whom hadn’t even joined the club when the last Weetslade event took place a year prior, giving the teams a fresh Nu-Claremont look.

A quick briefing from Rose, including a tantalising tease about the fabulous prizes on offer, and we were off. Surging across the damp and slightly uneven playing field, we were thankfully soon onto the path, and the torrent of runners poured either side of Alex Harding as he stood shielding a bollard, arms raised above his head in an almost biblical pose.

Funneling down the farm track towards the base of the hill, Jarrow-clad Jonathan Gilroy started to disappear from view. My plan to try and follow Sarah wasn’t really working, as she was unexpectedly behind me, but the odd grunt let me know she was in close attendance.

Slogging up the dreaded hill, it wasn’t actually all that bad. Get your head down, try to maintain a decent pace and power through, it was over quickly enough. Past the watching spectators at the top, we were rewarded with a long downhill stretch, with views across the fields, winding around to the base of the far side of the hill.

Trying to make use of gravity and keep the speed up, I was eventually passed by Sarah, a bit later than expected, as we hit the flat section at the bottom. After that it was a case of hanging on, and trying not to lose sight of the pack pushing on ahead.

The encouragement from all the Claremont marshals was fantastic, as were Dave Nolans screams of “keep left!” as he implored finishing runners to avoid colliding with those just setting out for the hill.

Arriving back on the grass, the finish line seemed miles away, the long straight not shortening quickly enough, but eventually it arrived. Once breathing had returned to normal, it was great to revel in the atmosphere, cheering on our teammates and other runners as they hared towards the finish in various states of exhausted determination.

Everyone from Claremont put in a fantastic performance, doing the blue vest proud. Special mention for Anneliza, who only 4 hours before the race was expecting to be out marshaling, but stepped in as a last minute replacement.

It was then time for Jamie to come to the fore as grand prize-giver, with the recipients no doubt thrilled with the eclectic assortment provided by our members. Amazing work from everyone involved in bringing a brilliant event to fruition. Looking forward to next year already.

22Sarah Kerr
Paul Robinson
Mark Anderson
Team Time
49Laurie Johnson
Nicki O’Brien
Kimberley Metson
Team Time
100Lucy Keating
Anneliza Andreadi
Ken McCormick
Team Time
103José Gallego
Shilpa Iyanna
Tara Hipwood
Team Time
Laurie Johnson -