Farringdon XC Relays, 2nd September 2023
After a year off, Claremont returned to the Farringdon relays. Described by many as a nice ease into the cross-country season, it’s generally dry, mostly on grass, with a couple of modest hills, so it’s a gentle move away from road-running, but a far cry from the mud-baths to come in the dead of winter.
Everyone made it to the start on time, despite some logistical nightmares finding both the parking and the course itself, and one case of almost-forgotten shoes.
An overcast, still morning gave way to brilliant sunshine as the senior races got underway, making for a more summery experience, but perhaps hotter than ideal running conditions.
Sarah Kerr ran her usual storming first leg, handing over in 5th place to Holly Porter. Holly graduated from the Couch to 5k only 6 short months ago, and was already running in her second relay for the club. She’d also run a parkrun PB just 3 hours before! Maria Dueñas reliably brought the team home. A run tinged with melancholy, as should her Australian emigration go according to plan, this would likely be her last competition in a Claremont vest.
Tara Hipwood was the sole survivor from the Farringdon Class of 2021, and solid runs from her and Cath Robson left Jenny Roberts to take the anchor leg for the other ladies team, another member running in her second relay and getting a real taste for cross-country.
Mark Anderson started off the men’s team at blistering pace, and could be glimpsed leading Jonathan Gilroy down the hill about halfway round, but was pipped by a matter of metres at the finish by the Jarrovian. Chris Jones maintained a good pace, handing over to me on 3rd.
I had been looking forward to leaping the infamous ditch, but rumours of further erosion seemed to have been accurate, and I lost my nerve on the approach, opting to drop down and back up out of the muddy crevasse. David Lydall completed the fourth leg, expressing satisfaction with his time, despite Anton Mirafsari (another Claremont second claim masquerading in Jarrow-yellow) overhauling him in the last 40 metres.
No prizes for our teams on this occasion, but Cath’s delicious flapjacks felt reward enough for everyone’s commendable efforts!