Ridley Round trail fun for Joggers

Ridley Round: Four Joggers enjoyed some trail fun in Essex on Saturday 29th July, starting and finishing at The Compasses Inn in Littley Green. The route included scenic footpaths and trails along the Essex Way and through the Chelmer Valley. The course was approximately a half marathon in length and participants had to self-navigate using a route map handed out on the day, with staggered starts. The trail race had a very reasonable rule that 10 minutes were allowed at each of the five pubs along the route, providing a purchase was made by the participants. Thus, if you stopped to refresh at all five pubs, 50 minutes would be deducted from your overall time for the route.


Ridley Round runners, with Nicole Smith at front in pink top and Jimmy Smith (white top), Paul Holley (dark blue top) and Jonathan Pye (red top) the last 3 in back row. Many thanks for the photo.


An interesting story here. The route passed five pubs on the way, which were all formerly owned and supplied by Ridley’s Hartford End brewery, which was about a mile away from The Compasses on the River Chelmer, near a water mill also owned by the family. All 73 of Ridley’s pubs, established from 1842 onwards, were taken over by Greene King in 2005 and the brewery closed down. Members of the Ridley family managed to repurchase The Compasses in 2008 when it was put up for sale and they still own this pub. Family member Nelion Ridley set up the new Bishop Nick brewery in 2011, originally in Felsted and now situated in Braintree. This was named after ancestor Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London in 1550, who was imprisoned and burnt at the stake in 1555 for heresy, on the orders of ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary Tudor. The main session cask ale at The Compasses is now called ‘Bishop Nick Ridley’s Rite’ at 3.6% ABV, ideal as a refreshing, hydration aid for thirsty trail runners and walkers. Other beers brewed by Bishop Nick and termed  ‘Sacred Ales of Essex’ are Bishop’s Ale, Heresy, 1555, Martyr, Divine, Oath, Mitre, Chalice and Spire, etc.


Above left: plenty of hydration going on; above right, Nicole by the Walnut Tree. Many thanks for the photos.


After time deductions, the results for the Joggers were: Jimmy Smith (1:53:12, 17th of 147 overall), Jonathan Pye (1:55:03, 24th), Paul Holley (2:06:49, 34th) and Nicole Smith (2:43:15, 19th F of 57). All seemed to enjoy the run and the relaxing visits to the pubs. However, Paul Holley was the only Jogger not to claim the maximum deduction points for some reason; did he skip a drink?


Battle at the Border, Calabash, North Carolina, USA, Saturday 29th July: New member Laura Fletcher was back home in Carolina on vacation and entered this local race. It’s an annual contest between two rival sea-front Carolina running clubs, namely Wilmington Road Runners (NC) and Grand Strand Running Club, Myrtle Beach (SC), which began in 2013. The route is cross-country, over rugged fields, through woods and over rocky trails, close to the NC/SC state border line at Indigo Farms, Calabash. Laura completed the ~3.65mi course in 38:51 under very hot and humid conditions, representing her club, Grand Strand. Their ladies’ team beat Wilmington RR, while the men’s team and overall winners were Wilmington.  So far, the honours have been fairly even over the years. Maybe Newmarket could have a similar contest with a local rival, such as Ely or Haverhill….


Battle at the Border race photo from a previous year…looks like you don’t have to wear your club top. Thanks to Wilmington Road Runners for the photo on their website.



Above left: Laura Fletcher after the Battle at the Border race; above right: The start of the race. Many thanks for the Strava photos.


Airport Runway 5K, Top Run-Top Gun, Wittman Regional Airport, Nekima, Wisconsin USA: Richard Jones entered this race for a bit of fun running while away on work or vacation. He did very well in his age group, clocking 23:04 and finishing 2nd of 67 in M60. Full details are not available but with 67 in the 60+ age group it must have been a fairly big field.


Richard Jones at the Runway 5K race. Many thanks for the photo


Zig Zag Great Barrow Challenge, Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, 22nd to 31st July: Chris Aylmer (6:27:40, 26th of 29 overall) completed the Clover Marathon on Wednesday 26th July, a 2-lap course via Denham, Ousden, Dalham, Gazeley and Higham, also taking a wrong turn to register 27.8 miles. Caroline Mcintosh was kindly marshalling on Wednesday and added to her Heavy Half Marathon (HM+5km) the previous Sunday, with another Heavy Half (HM+10km) on Sunday, 30th July, clocking 4:30:01. That will be good base training for her Helsinki Marathon on Saturday 19th August. We all wish her the best of luck for that.


Great Barrow Challenge runners on Sunday, 30th July….not sure if Caroline Mcintosh is in there somewhere. Thanks to Zig Zag Running for the photo.