Wimborne Athletic Club

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 RIDGEWAY 100km RELAY 20 May 2007

We fielded three teams (18 runners) in the epic challenge that is the Wessex Ridgeway 100k Relay. This event really drew the best out of all those involved. Our two men’s team finished in the top 10, Mark Hitchcott, Tim Harris, Steve Guy, Craig Dixon, Graham Whiffen and Daryl Davies – fourth in 8:48:31, and Jeff Hinsley, Tim Box, Peter Wood, Richard Davies, Jon Braund and Phil Burgess – tenth in 10:08:40. Speed alone will not bring you success here. So much of it is about good preparation and teamwork and there were some tremendous performances from WACers.

Jon storms into Up Cerne

WAC ladies' team
- mission accomplished

Jools 'in the zone' at Up Cerne

The girls’ team was made up of the experienced trio of Cathy Hartle, Sue Harrogate and Debbie Whittle with three newer runners – Jools Maskell, Claire Newby and Kelly Nugent. There were a few setbacks along the way, but the team spirit was immense, this was reinforced as the day progressed. The course has no marshals (except at the start, halfway and finish), and it is so easy to take a wrong turn, especially when you have been on the go since 7am. The girls’ first Legs went according to plan, the weather was good, dry and a little sunny but not too warm and the conditions were perfect. By the second or third leg they had bonded and a good team spirit was developing, with everyone meeting up at the changeovers to see the runner in and set the next leg off and then travel on to the next point.  Despite being near the back of the field the team kept their spirits up and it was looking like the race was going to be completed with the minimum of mishaps until Jools managed to get slightly ‘lost’ on Leg 11. Cathy – having done two legs already, and in borrowed trainers – finished off Jools’ Leg and passed the baton onto Kelly to complete the race. She set off like the wind, by the time she appeared at the end she had made up some time, and also done several miles on a sprained ankle. It is the third time that WAC have fielded a Women’s team for the Ridgeway and this was our best WAC Ladies performance so far. The team finished 20th with a time of 12h11m09s, a healthy improvement on WAC’s previous best girls’ time of 13h18m59s. Everyone in the team learnt an awful lot about the event, and about themselves on the day.

Craig arrives at
Venn Chapel

Graham at
Coney's Castle

Jon & Phil - a perfect handover for the final leg

Kelly scorches away
from Coney's Castle

The days after this race produced a flurry of e-mails. Here are a few thoughts from our team members:

‘I have one fat and bruised ankle! Was very much worth it though, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I think everyone did really well – bring on next year.’ Kelly.

‘We are all pretty excited about doing it again but I can’t say I plan to have a reunion with Leg 2’.  Claire

 ‘Got to be the event of the year! Worldwide!’  Phil

Just possibly Phil might be exaggerating.

Jools Maskell & Ian Kennedy

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