Spring Handicap, 29th April 2024

Well done to Giovany Orozco on winning the handicap race this evening, and to Anton Mirafsari on retaining the quarterly knockout cup.

It hasn’t felt very spring-like in the build-up to our return to the Town Moor for this year’s Spring Handicap, and the very wet weather that we have had recently meant that there were some muddy patches adding a bit of interest to the course over the hills and on the path through the woods. At least it was fairly mild and dry on the night, and the stiff breeze had the good grace to be more or less at our backs for the uphill sections!

For 7 of the 41 starters, this was their first-ever Claremont Handicap race – 5 members and 2 who were running as guests. Also, for this race, we had taken a slightly different approach to normal, attempting to remove the subjective view of the handicapper as much as possible by using recent handicap or parkrun times wherever possible. In general, the new system worked well with just 80 seconds separating 7th from 27th place.

However, one of the debutants for whom no recent 5K time was available, Giovany Orozco, proved the handicappers wrong as he stormed home to victory by 36 seconds over 2nd placed Vasilisa Sidarava (a regular guest and friend of the club). Yue Zhao was next over the line, with Nina Jensen completing the Claremont podium.

With Laurie Johnson sidelined by an injury, the Spring final of the Knockout Cup was a straight shootout between Anton Mirafsari and Kenny McCormick. On the night, Anton proved too strong for Ken as he regained the trophy that he had only just returned! Anton will be going for his hat-trick in the summer final, when he will face competition from Cate Walker, Roberto Marzo and Jack Shawcross.

There were no surprises as to the fastest runners on the night – Jack Shawcross, Mark Anderson and Jonathan Gilroy being the first three. This despite Jack and Mark posting excellent times at the London Marathon just 8 days before. The fastest 3 women were Sarah Kerr, Izzy Neatrour and Holly Porter which, again, surprised no-one!

Full results can be found here.

Afterwards there was a good turnout for the social, pizza and presentation of prizes at The Carriage pub. As well as welcoming new members, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to Jose Gallego who is returning to live in his native Spain – it has been great having you, Jose, and we all wish you good luck, though we are sorry to see you leave.

It was also the time of year for the Team Captains to make their annual award to a member who has represented the club with distinction throughout the year. Their choice of Holly Porter proved to be a very popular one – Holly is a truly worthy winner!

Thanks to everybody who volunteered, particularly to Anna for organising the social and Alex for organising everything else and processing the results. Also, thanks to all the photographers for the hundreds of photos!

Tom Tinsley -