Another successful Cleveland way went ahead with 13 teams taking place as planned. A big well down to Loftus winning the trophy for a 2nd year on the bounce. Provisional date for 2023 is 18th June.

Please see a report from Thirsk and Sowerby

Cleveland Way Relays 2022 – T&SH A Team race report.

Sunday 12 June – the 2022 edition of the Cleveland Way Relays

Sunday 12th saw another running of the hugely enjoyable event, the Cleveland Way Relays.  This is an event in which clubs and running groups from all over Yorkshire and the North East form teams to run the entire length of the 109-mile Cleveland Way over the course of a day, with the route split into various ‘legs’, and runners handing over from one to another at each leg change over.  In total, there are 16 legs varying from 3-4 miles up to 7-8 miles.  The route runs from Filey, around 50 miles up the coast to Saltburn, then turns inland to run the remainder of the route through the North York Moors, finally finishing in Helmsley.

 As with last year, Thirsk & Sowerby Harriers had a contingent of around 50 runners, supporters and drivers to help two whole teams to take part in the Cleveland Way Relays.  This meant, once again, that the club put two teams in.  This is the race report for the A Team.

Anticipation often builds for the Relays many weeks in advance, and it creates a great buzz among participants and the club.  This year was no different, with both experienced Relays runners and newcomers alike taking part.

The day began at Filey with a 5am start (well – for some, it began with a 2am alarm call!).  Jamie Bentley was on that start line, and with it he gave the T&SH A Team a great start, arriving into Scarborough with the team in third place to hand over to Matt Jones.  Matt then managed to make up another place on his run along the coast to Cloughton Wyke, where he passed the metaphorical baton onto Tom Levi with the team in second place.  During Tom’s leg he managed to overtake the leading team, York Acorn, to arrive into Ravenscar with Thirsk & Sowerby Harriers in first position and a lead of a few minutes.  Sarah Fairhurst ran very coolly under the pressure of taking on the lead position, and arrived into Robin Hoods Bay still leading, with an edge of about 10 minutes on the second placed team (Loftus & Whitby).

Through the next five legs, T&SH retained the lead – with fantastic running under pressure from Heather Tuffs, Alan Simpson & Trudy Morrice (running as a pair), Dave Fawkes and Paul Peacock – arriving into the Slapewath handover still with a four minute lead, but with Loftus & Whitby beginning to pull back some time.  Next up was Joe Lofthouse on his favoured leg through Guisborough Woods, up and down Roseberry Topping, and through to Gribdale.  Running well, Joe improved on his time from last year’s Relays, but along the way the Loftus & Whitby runner managed to overtake and so we fell back into second place.  The final two legs of the ‘first phase’ of the Relays saw us maintain second place, with Esther Harrison and Josh Cooper running strong legs to bring us into Clay Bank with a seven minute deficit behind first place – but still 16 minutes ahead of the third-placed Scarborough & Pickering team.

The Relays is split into two phases, to ensure no team is finishing too late on the day.  This involves a ‘mass restart’ from Clay Bank at 2pm in the afternoon, regardless of whether a team’s previous runner has arrived yet.  Kicking us off in this section was Gary Bastow – in great form of late with several recent wins in the BOFRA fell racing British championships – on his favoured leg which takes on the biggest climbs of the whole route, over the Three Sisters and on passed Lord Stones Country Park.  Gary ran well and brought the baton to Ben Morgan – a relative newcomer to running up and down hills – to tackle Carlton Bank and several climbs into Osmotherley.  Strong running from Gary & Ben meant T&SH arrived in Osmotherley in third place for the second phase (still second overall).

 From Osmotherley to Sneck Yate Bank, Tom Levi & Matt Jones had split this leg as we were a runner short, and they had both ran much earlier in the day.  Tom took the first part which contains around 1,000 feet of climbing up to the Black Hambleton trig point.  This allowed Matt to take the final 5 miles of flat, fast running to hand over to Rob Burn at Sneck Yate. Still in third place at the handover, Rob managed to soon overtake the Scarborough runner at the top of High Barn, before continuing on his leg out to the White Horse, then back along the route to Ken Wood waiting at Hambleton Inn. From here, Ken ran a great final leg to bring home the Thirsk & Sowerby A Team to the finish in Helmsley at 6:13pm.  A total team time of 14 hours and 16 minutes, second placed team overall on the day, with Loftus & Whitby’s A Team taking first place in 13 hours and 49 minutes.

 Well done to everybody that took part, well done also to the Thirsk & Sowerby B Team runners, and thank you to everyone who supported or helped on the day, or even who shared words of encouragement in the group social medias.  Finally, a big thanks to Mark Brown of North York Moors Athletics Club for organising the whole day once again.