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Ridgeway Relay 2024

[Article written by Joe Lyne]

On the 23rd June was the 33rd edition of the Ridgeway Relay, the 10 stage epic covering 89 miles on the Ridgeway trail stretching from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire down to Marlborough in Wiltshire for the finish. HRR entered 3 teams covering all 3 categories; the mostly men’s (MM: 8 men / 2 women) mostly women’s (MW: 8 women / 2 men) and the vets team (VT: 10 of the more seasoned runners).

The build up to race day involved the team managers picking their teams and allocating legs, (most of the) runners recceing their legs and the logistics being sorted to make sure 30 runners had transport to and from their legs. We were the overall title holders from 2023 so expectations were high…

Race day

At 7:30am 40 runners set off, including our own Tom Green, John Griffiths and Stefan Franssen getting the teams started with the hilly 11-mile leg. Tom had a stormer to bring the MM team in at 2nd place just 45 seconds short of the leader. John and Stefan also got their teams off to good starts whilst scaling the 1,473ft of elevation gain.

Next up for the MM team was Tom Willner-Reid who gave us the race lead with his strong run over a shorter but equally hilly leg 2 (running the 2nd fastest leg 2 of the day). Marcus Shantry took on leg 3 where he made a slight unplanned detour but remained calm and quick under pressure to maintain our lead which he handed over in Lewknor. I (Joe Lyne) took over at leg 4 (thank you for letting me have the shortest leg!) where I ran solidly to grow our lead to around 9 minutes. HRR newcomer Lieben Dickens took over for leg 5, running to the limit to bring us to the halfway point in 2nd place, just a few minutes behind Witney. A whirlwind start to the race for our team, taking the chance to be right up at the front for the
morning with some strong running.

The MW team deployed Lysette Taplin on leg 2 where she ran the 12th fastest leg 2 of the day to deliver the team in 25th, whilst also having time to relish “the wooded areas, single tracks and spectacular views”. MW team captain See Wah Cheng took hold of proceedings for leg 3 putting his offroad expertise to good use delivering the team in 18th. This meant we overtook 16 teams over legs 2 and 3, no prisoners taken here! My fellow car shuttle buddy Margy Shueler ran leg 4 to Swyncombe bumping the team up to 17th and handing over to Amy Flaxman waiting at the top of the hill. Amy worked her way through leg 5 heading to South Stoke commenting “she enjoyed the hills more than the flat” out in the heat. This left the MW team in 17th overall, well within the top half of ALL teams, tasty.

Club top dog David Sawyer took the metaphorical baton on leg 2 for the VT navigating the ups and downs to Princes Risborough where he handed over to Hanno Nickau to tackle leg 3. Hanno has been a regular at Tuesday sessions and it’s clear they have are working by being able to keep the team in 29th after 3 legs. Chris Childs took over on leg 4, representing the team well, ascending to Swyncombe to handover to recent Boston marathoner Martin Slevin in the lunchtime sun. Martin flew along the 10.1 miles to the halfway point of the race to keep the team locked in at 29th.

Back with the MM team, Sam Garforth set off on leg 6 a man on a mission chasing down the lead. There were rumours that some clubs had stacked the back of their teams so things would be tight. Two things then happened to boost the team prospects. Firstly Sam ran the second quickest leg 6 of the day shooting us into the lead, and secondly the Witney runner took a 4-mile detour having to interrupt a couple’s Sunday lunch to get
instructions back to the Ridgeway! Mary Scott took over with a cracking leg 7 (the 5th fastest of the day) to hand over to Chris Arderne in 3rd with Newbury now in 1st and Abingdon just 1 minute ahead. Chris ran well in leg 8 to maintain 3rd place to hand over to team captain Harry Geddes. Harry ran a strong leg 9 but had to contest with the teams in 4th and 5th whose runner’s ran the two fastest leg 9s for the day, leaving it late to make their move. Harry brought in the team in 5th and handed to John Fenning for the finale. John started with 2.5 minutes to make up on 4th, ran a blinder, closed the gap, could see their runner in the distance… and just ran out of trail to close it completely, finishing the race in… a strong 5th place. After over 10 hours of racing the differences had been down to minutes and we rounded out the day strong with our heads held high.

For the MW team, Anna Corby set off on leg 6 weaving through Goring then the long ascension throughout the leg to leave the team in 16th having run the 10th fastest leg 6 that day. This was the first time there wasn’t a handover for the team as the mass start cut-off was at 14:00 meaning Susie Power had already got leg 7 started along with 31 other runners. All teams would still have their overall relay time, just not have the physical handover at every point. Susie ran a great leg 7 with the 12th fastest time of the day and solidifying the team’s 16th place standing. Marathon specialist Charlotte Cox continued the good work with leg 8 showing a cool head out in the heat to keep hold of 16th place. Natasha Flemming was up next for leg 9 where she ran the gruelling leg well to deliver the team in 17th. Sarah Evered had started leg 10 with the mass start and ran well to round out the humid relay for the team in… 19th place!

Doug Simpson kicked off leg 6 with the mass start for the VT running a good leg to leave the team in virtual 28th place. Sean Collins was up next on leg 7 and had recovered from his Endure 24 antics to bring the team to 30th (spot the epic charge picture of the mass start for this leg). Sean made it in time to tag Laurie Hurman who ran the 18th fastest leg 8 of the day to propel the team up to 26th place, and also making it in time to tag James Messer to get leg 9 started. James ran well over the tough leg in the muggy afternoon heat to maintain the team position. The final leg was handed to Anita James who set off with the mass start for leg 10 and crossed the finish arch in Marlborough to bring the team home in… 30th place!

A classic hot, humid race day saw the essence of the club on show to get our 3 quality teams around the relay in one piece with no runners left behind. Thanks to team captains Harry Geddes, See Wah Cheng and Catherine Scammell for organising and to Jonathan Flemming and Rachel Bayley being poised as reserves in case their services were required. And final thanks to all who ferried people and belongings along the course all day!

Scores on the doors

Headington Mostly Women’s Team were 3rd in their category and 19th overall, a top half finish against all teams The Mostly Men’s Team finished 5th overall, less than 7 minutes behind 2nd, a tight affair after 10 hours of racing Headington Vets finished 4th in their category and 30th overall beating many teams with runners of all ages Only 4 clubs were able to field 3 teams, Headington was one of them! Truly living out Running Together

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Headington RoadRunners win Ridgeway Relay 2023

An ever-popular event on the HRR’s race calendar, this year’s Ridgeway Relay (25th June) certainly did not disappoint. The day started with team managers frantically looking for a substitute runner, and ended with the celebration of HRR bringing home the prestigious winner’s shield – 9 years after the club’s last Ridgeway victory.

For this year’s event, we managed to enter a team for each of the 3 categories – “Mostly Men”, “Mostly Ladies” and “Vets” – to compete with 39 other teams from clubs across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. Unfortunately, one of the original “Mostly Men” team members had to pull out at the last time due to an injury, and our backup runner was already covering for another injury. Harry Geddes, the team manager, was quickly on the phone looking for a replacement. Matthieu Marshall was first to volunteer running two legs, which, considering the heat, would have been a massive undertaking even for a superhuman like him.

With that plan in mind, James Eve, Rachel Shaw and Duncan Henning set off from Ivinghoe Beacon. After the first leg, the “Mostly Men” team gained 2nd position, while the “Mostly Ladies” and “Vets” teams were at the very respectable 27th and 29th positions. After the second leg, the “Mostly Men” team climbed up to 1st position, and never looked back. As the temperature rose to over 28 degrees after midday, the running got very tough, and after 5 legs, our team positions were 1st, 30th and 34th.

Out of the blue, we had a message from Tom Dobra, who had just run a fast race at Thame 10k in the morning, saying that he could take the last leg. This was a huge relief for us, but he still had to make his way from Oxford to Barbury Castle, the start of the last leg. Somehow he got there with plenty of time to spare to receive the proverbial baton from Fergus Campbell. He ran an amazing 6:08 min/mile leg to claim overall victory. Soon after, Anita James and Nicole Hare also crossed the line to claim 28th and 33rd positions for the “Vets” and the “Mostly Ladies” teams, bringing to an end a very successful day for the club.

Once again, the Ridgeway Relay proved to be an amazing team event for all. Well done to all those all helped organise and took part.

Full list of runners and leg results

P.S. some of our runners claimed that they only got to maintain their positions because other runners went the wrong way, but that is the fun of Ridgeway Relay – to not get lost!

Jingle Bell Run 2022

The Jingle Bell run will take place on Thursday 15th December.

For the benefit of those new to the club the details are explained below.

You are encouraged to run in fancy dress. This is not compulsory but may be advisable if you don’t want to be identified on CCTV! Prize(s) available for the best fancy dress.

We run through town and then stop at The Kings Arms, Oxfords oldest pub for a beverage.

Returning to Oxsrad for Mince Pies and Mulled wine

Bells will be available for hire to attach to your shoes. These are hired, not be kept and are to be returned at the end of the evening please.

Pam and Maureen will be running a Tombola, any donations of prizes are gratefully received.

We usually conclude the evening with the draw for the Clubs London Marathon Places for next April. We are still waiting confirmation from London Marathon of our number of places.

NB You must meet our club’s “qualifying requirements” to enter the ballot for the club London Marathon place(s).

Don’t miss the best run of the year.

AGM 2022

The 2022 HRR Annual General Meeting will take place at Oxsrad on November 10th at 8.00pm (promptly after the social club runs). This is a forum where HRR members decide on matters affecting the club, and elect the committee for the coming year. Please attend if you can.

If you have any business you wish to be discussed at the meeting, or if you would like to contribute to the management and the regular functioning of the club, and would like to be elected to join the committee, please email the club secretary via

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