Race Report 22/06/21

Fathers’ Day may not be the optimum day, in the eyes of some families, to hold a running event, but nevertheless, 18 teams of at least 16 runners, including fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers, sons and daughters, entered the Cleveland Way Relay from Filey to Helmsley, about 110 miles, on June 20th.  Rain had been forecast for days, but in the event, it was only wet for the very early departure from Thirsk to be at Filey for a 5 am start, and the rest of the day was good for running.  There are 16 “legs” varying in length from just over 8 miles down to about 3.5 miles.  Each team must have at least one lady, and an all female team is allowed 1 man.  The changeover places are specified but you can choose your own route, with a few exceptions.
 Joe Poole was the first runner for the club’s “Compete” A team standing in at the last minute and valiantly swapping his 4 pm start for the 5 am slot!  He ran a solid leg, handing over to Matt Jones in Scarbrough with TSH in 5th place.  Matt managed to gain a place before handing over to Paul Peacock at Cloughton Wyke, who headed for Ravenscar to pass the “baton” to Sarah Fairhurst.  Sarah’s leg was to Robin Hood’s Bay, handing on to Ken Wood to continue to Whitby.  Next up was Adam Leigh, who ran a strong leg with arguably one of the toughest finishes – 300 feet descent down slippery steps to the beach at Runswick Bay, across the beach as the tide was coming in, then up a near-vertical sandy, ie slippery, road to hand over to Mile Lowther waiting 300 ft up at the top.  The team were in 5th place at this point.  
Mike made good progress over to Skinningrove to find Andrew Price waiting to begin his journey of about 8.5 miles and 1000 feet of climb on one of the most difficult legs to Slapewath.  Next up was Joe Lofthouse, who really did have the toughest leg of the day with 1400 feet of climb, some of it straight up Roseberry Topping and back down again and back up Little Roseberry.  A small navigational error added even more climbing and meant the club were now in 6th place as Brett Edgeworth and Gemma Tutty set off on their leg from Gribdale to Battersby Moor, the last part of “first part” of the relays, and Josh Cooper took the baton on to Clay Bank with the team still in 6th place and 3 minutes behind 5th paced NYMAC.
At 2 pm there was another mass start to make sure even the slowest teams were in Helmsley in time for the all important fish and chip supper!  Gary Bastow took up this leg, only 3.5 miles but with a very steep climb, 1100 feet. over the Three Sisters – perfect terrain for fell runner, Gary, and he arrived at Carlton Bank to hand over to Chloe Rome, who’s destination was Osmotherly.  She ran fantastically well, considering, in her own words, she hasn’t run many hills and gave the team a fighting chance to improver their position.  It was on to Trudy Morrice and Alan Simpson – who had done a support leg earlier in the day – to run the team on to Sneck Yate.  Trudy arrived looking strong handing over to talisman Rob Burn and Adrian Elsworth for the penultimate leg.  Knowing there was a place in the offing, Rob ran a blinder to the Hambleton Inn, by way of the White Horse, with David Fawkes covering the home run in to Helmsley.  Dave knew the route well and ran a solid time to finish there at 6.23 pm, leaving the team in 5th place overall.
Congratulations to everyone on a superb effort, in what was a thoroughly team bonding exercise after all the months of lockdown.  Runners’ comments on the club’s chat page were full of enthusiastic comments and may have inspired some non-participants to put their names for ward for next year’s race.  
A big thank you to Mark Brown for organising this marvellous event with no entry fee, but £500 was donated to Clevelenand Mountain Rescue, which, like all charities, has had severely reduced funding this year.
The find out how the “Complete” B team got on, look out for next week’s thrilling instalment!

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