Chairman’s Challenge Lingen, August 8th 2023

Race Reports

The idea to stage the Chairman’s Challenge came from having done something similar at my previous club in Hampshire. It was a run that was always popular with runners, although sometimes less so with Chairmen. Some found it just too onerous and somehow managed not to put a run in the calendar, another managed to delegate the role of Chairman to someone else for the day!

My main concern was getting the handicap times right. The distance of just under 6 miles combined stiles, bridges, hills and bit of map reading. Created by Theresa with the benefit of local knowledge it wasn’t easy to set the times. There were two scenarios I was worried about – firstly that I would come last and secondly that I would come first. One would be embarrassing and cost me a lot of money, the second would just be embarrassing.

I tried to be as scientific as I could in setting the handicap times. My reference times were the last Bircher Time Trial, Bearwood, the final Summer Cross Country race and the last Leinthall Starkes. Deciding to set most runners off in pairs or small groups compromised some start times but I felt it would make for a more sociable run.

As I set off on the climb up to Noisy Hall it wasn’t long before I heard the clang of a metal gate – a sure sign there was a runner not far ahead. I passed Clare first then caught up with Gemma, Lou and Frank. After passing a few more runners I started to worry that finishing first might be on the cards.

I needn’t have worried. I misjudged where the exit to a field was and ended up backtracking – only to be caught up by Greg, Emma and Jo Marriot. It probably only cost me a couple of minutes and they would have caught up with me soon anyway. However I knew those couple of minutes would count against me at the end of the run; and so it proved.

I can’t remember when Eric and Sam went past me. It was all a bit of a blur. Steph Main passed me on the lane and Sam H in the woods close to Lingen Hall. My trump card with Sam is downhill – but I knew there were no significant descents before the finish – so I was another Babycham down.

My mistake in the field a short while back came back to bite me in the last few hundred metres of the race. First Tim Jones then Lucy Austin showing no sympathy. The photo below shows me chasing Lucy into the finish. It looks closer than it was – Lucy had a good few metres on me by the time we hit the road. It was a good finish though. In the end 9 out of 31 runners got to The Royal George before me.

Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely. I’m not sure what those other Chairmen were getting so worked up about. Maybe they were taking it all a bit too seriously. One of the many wonderful things about Croft is that the club know when not to take things too seriously – it made for a very enjoyable run. I think we’ll do it again next year.  

Beating Huw to the pub (run times in brackets): Eric and Sam J (43 mins), Greg, Emma J and Jo M (55 mins), Steph M (60 mins), Sam H (61 mins), Tim J (55 mins), Lucy (56 mins), Huw (67 mins)

Close but no cigar: Dave (57 mins) Theresa (94 mins), Tom D (94 mins), Kelly (58 mins), Paul (58 mins), Anna, Ali D, Tom P (78 mins), Tim W-H (80 mins), Roland (68 mins), Jo T (59 mins), Gem (75 mins) Lou (76 mins), Gary, Su P, Steve, Liza (69 mins), Michelle, Tori, Frank (82 mins), Clare (79 mins).

1 thought on “Chairman’s Challenge Lingen, August 8th 2023

  1. certainly an enjoyable run but tougher and much more competitive than bargained for, I will treat the next one with more vigour. well done Huw and congratulations to those that beat him back to Lingen.

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