After a Valentine’s night of heavy rain and gale force winds, Saturday arrived in much the same way for our inaugural mob match with Dulwich. Striders of Croydon were meant to make it a three way match but couldn’t muster enough people. So it was head to head with Dulwich Runners, our local rivals, on a very muddy, waterlogged, course twisting its way round Beckenham Place Park.
Thanks to Fletch, Tom, Ken B, Holly, Mel, Bernie, Richard, Helen, Steve Ferrar, (and anyone else I haven’t mentioned) who volunteered to help either to do registration at the club, mark out the course and marshal. With the two lower fields in the park marked out with white flags, I called Mel at registration to see if I was needed to run to make up numbers – Beckenham had only 18 runners registered and Dulwich 32 so I thought I should be the 19th and hurried back to the start/finish area to pick up my number.
The skies had cleared and the sun made a welcome appearance for the 2.30pm start. Before I knew it all 51 of us were off, down a slippery hill and then back round the field for the first of six hills on the five mile course. It was a good route, very well marshalled and easy to follow. BIG THANKS go to Andy Hinds for doing all the donkey work, Mike Mann from Dulwich (whose idea it was and who managed to chivvy up so many Dulwich runners!) and to Simon Carter who produced some excellent maps of the route, marked up with marshal points, all of which helped to make the event a success.
Most runners and helpers came back to the club after, and after removing our rather muddy shoes and showering, congregated in the bar for a free cup of tea or to buy a drink from the bar. This was followed by the result and a short-prizing giving. It was a good competition which sadly Dulwich pipped us to the post, well actually they beat us rather handsomely by 249 points to 422 (the team with the lowest score wins). However, with Chris Minns being the first person home and Jim and Craig picking up the V40 and V50 first places respectively and a good show of runners representing all abilities in the club, it was a jolly good effort by one and all in some testing conditions. Full results are available on the website here.
I think if everyone is keen then it may become an annual event. Dulwich enjoyed it and were keen for a re-match next year. In my very humble opinion, if we are to win we need to get more runners out and try to out-number them. We only had nineteen runners and they had thirty-two. The rules of mob matches are the lower number of runners, minus the two last back, score. In this case, our first seventeen runners over the line scored. The lower your score, the higher your finishing position, so I finished 46th and earned us 46 points! Dulwich’s highest individual score was the 27th runner past the finish line earning them only 27 points. So my theory is with more Beckenham runners than Dulwich including a good show from our faster ladies and gentlemen, we surely would be able to give them a far closer run for their money. Keep an eye out for the same time next year and make sure you put the date in your diary.