Wimborne Athletic Club

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Ridgeway 2008

Iíve been a member of WAC for a year and in April 2007, having only ever run 10K, Ian somehow roped me into the ladies Ridgeway team. To say I went into it with my eyes closed is an understatement! This year I lacked such excuses and still found myself signed up for the same legs that I have spent the last 12 months cursing Ian for having made me run!

Of the ladies, Cathy and I were the only ones returning from last year, although Jools bravely entered the mixed team with about three days to go before race day. We were running with Julie who has completed this event before and three new faces; Nicki, Trudi and Becky.

Becky at Ashmore

We started with Becky on leg 1 and she had a stormer of a run. She gave us a fantastic head start and was the second lady in. Unsurprisingly I soon lost any advantage once I hit Hambledon Hill!  I handed the baton to Cathy, having crawled up the mountain at the end of leg 2 and just about avoided the electric fence - I would have collided with it if Denise hadnít been with me, but then I did save her from an army of cows so I think weíre even!  Cathy was running her first of three legs and had been ill all week. We wouldnít have completed if she hadnít pulled it out of the bag on the day, she was a real trooper even though she was clearly not feeling her best (anyone who knows Cathy will be aware that stopping to stroke a horse is not usual race behaviour!)

Cathy came in to hand the baton to Trudi who is used to short distance sprints before launching herself through the air on the end of a pole-vault stick.  She wasnít sure how she would do over a longer distance and she was awesome!  When she flew in at the end of leg four under 40 minutes Cathy was barely ready to head off again having just got over leg three.  We also had other problems as Nicki was responsible for Trudiís car; I believe her exact words were, ĎIan, help, I think the accelerator cable has snapped!í

However, with Cathy safely on her way we headed to Nickiís first change over.  We were having a very different day to last year as we were actually meeting other teams along the way! Cathy was now struggling with sickness and headaches but came speeding in to send Nicki off to complete the first half of the race. Time was flying!  As we reached the end of leg 6 we also got word that the Wimborne B menís team was beating the A team and it was neck and neck between the two as they tackled leg 8.  Nicki came in with a fantastic time of 50 minutes and Becky began her final leg. It was another really good run and she handed the baton to me before heading home for the day. I set off on leg 8 and as much as I hate the hills in leg 2, leg 8 is a really lovely run. For the first time ever I ran a race without being overtaken, although this was the Ridgeway and everyone had already overtaken me on leg 2 so I am not sure it really counts!

As I finished for the day I handed over to Julie.  She had volunteered to run leg 9 at the last minute as the ladies team had a few runners drop out. She came flying down the hill with one of our strongest finishes of the day despite running with broken fingers! She handed over to Trudi who had another lightning run and had been talking all day about how she wants to do it next year. She has definitely caught the bug and will be of the few that Ian doesnít have to drag kicking and screaming to the start line next year! Cathy then completed her final leg of the day and despite a minor detour over a barbed wire fence, looked really good as she climbed the final hill.  While the rest of us were waiting we also got the chance to cheer Andy into his final leg. He looked tired but was doing really well with only leg 12 to conquer, although he wasnít convinced when I told him he was nearly there!  He headed off with Pat to complete his incredible run and left me to drive his very large van. I think Ian was more concerned about that than he had ever been about me completing leg 2!

Nicki set off on her final leg and the last one of the race.  By now we had also heard that the Wimborne A team had come in ahead of the B team and between them they had secured both 1st and 2nd places, awesome news for WAC. Apparently it was Ianís dream come true and even Jerry couldnít help performing a victory dance as John came in for the B team to secure 2nd place! Nicki had been worrying all day about a particular field full of cows and a bull on leg 12, even more worrying when you run in red! We phoned the men to find out if the animals were still there and the response did not put Nicki at ease! As all the ladies gathered to cheer Nicki in, she finished looking really strong with a big smile for the camera so clearly the cows had left her alone! We also cheered Innis and Andy as they completed their incredible 100K runs.  Cathy presented the WAC runners with her own custom made Ridgeway medals and Annmarie completed a brave and determined finish having run on a dodgy calf for her final leg.  As the race finished our attention was drawn to food and beer and I was distracted by chocolate cake with lashings of cream! Our team atmosphere was fantastic and fuelled by the ever flowing chocolate treats in Julieís hamper - thereís a pattern emerging between chocolate and my motivation to run! Iím sure I wonít be the only one dragged back for more next year. Although I am taking this opportunity to put it in writing for the attention of a certain Mr Ian Kennedy:


Trudi, Julie, Nicki, Cathy and Claire
at Uplyme

   Claire Newby

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