Good Friday Relays, 29th March 2024

The Good Friday Relays returned to their ‘home’ at Newburn for the first time in a few years, following last year’s relocation and a couple of covid-enforced virtual affairs.

After a very changeable week (indeed, thunder and lightning were kicking off while I was writing this), the weather was almost too good, with the temperature sneaking into double figures, and the near constant sunshine heating up runners a little more than they might have liked.

We managed 8 teams in 2023, and our troops really rallied this year, 37 Claremonters raising that number to a massive 11.

Our super-sized compliment was bolstered by six runners making their competitive club debut in a Claremont vest/t-shirt: Anna Harvey Bluemel, Lucy Ward, Connor Bluemel, Daniel Orlopp, Jim Crinnion and Paul Bastow (Connor and Daniel only claiming theirs less than an hour before the race!), with Sonja Fenske also taking part in her first relay. Special mentions to both Joyce Zhao and David Devennie, stepping into the breach with less than 24 hours notice after others withdrew due to injury. In a pleasing symmetry, Catherine Young was back, post-pregnancy, for her first race since last year’s Good Friday Relays.

In brief: the course set off down a closed road, over a couple of roundabouts, before looping back towards the start, and off-road into a wooded out-and-back section, which contained at least 3 large, unavoidable puddles (thankfully not deep at all). There was the usual scrum in the holding pen as we craned our necks, trying to spot our incoming colleagues in advance of our number being yelled out.

The atmosphere around the start and entrance to the woods was thick and fierce, with our runners getting plenty of roars and applause from their teammates, both as they thundered confidently towards the trees, and upon re-emerging, a little more breathless, straining for the finish line.

Fairly predictably, the lead-off runners for our first teams were the fastest Claremont man & woman on the day: Mark Anderson and Sarah Kerr (her team finishing an impressive 18th from around 117 total), but many of us had superb runs, with Strava showing a deluge of 2 mile PR’s (the course measuring at 2.2 approx) across the board. A couple of our women were momentarily held up during their run by an ambulance crossing the course, coming to the aid of a stricken runner from one of the earlier junior races.

The club flag planted kerbside, there was the usual smorgasbord of homemade cakes and other assorted goodies laid out for us post-run. Thank you to all who contributed, took photos (especially Tom), and to all the runners who did themselves and the club proud.

Women
Position RunnersTime
18Sarah Kerr
Nikoletta Szlovák
Izzy Neatrour
Team Time
13:37
14:23
13:58
41:58
40Nicki O’Brien
Heather Steel
Holly Porter
Team Time
16:14
14:44
15:06
46:04
47Catherine Young
Sonja Fenske
Aoífe Monaghan
Team Time
15:36
15:43
15:45
47:04
88Jenny Roberts
Anna Harvey Bluemel
Lucy Ward
Team Time
17:00
19:45
16:58
53:43
92Nina Jensen
Rose Hawkswood
Niamh Garratt
Team Time
16:51
18:43
19:10
54:44
102Anneliza Andreadi
Ann Smith
Sophie Richardson
Team Time
17:38
21:18
18:24
57:20
105Lynne Cornell
Lena Lou
Joyce Zhao
Team Time
16:09
22:05
20:07
58:21
Men
PositionRunnerTime
32Mark Anderson
Laurie Johnson
Roberto Marzo
Paul Robinson
Team Time
12:05
12:34
13:49
13:37
52:05
85Paul Bastow
Jim Crinnion
Eddie Smith
Howard Maclennan
Team Time
13:57
14:03
17:10
16:46
61:56
90Tom Tinsley
Chris Jones
Luke Woodend
Jamie Harding
Team Time
14:01
14:51
17:41
16:22
62:55
99Daniel Orlopp
José Gallego Parilla
Connor Bluemel
David Devennie
Team Time
14:42
16:50
19:06
18:23
69:01

Laurie Johnson -
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