Cleveland Way Relay 2024 Report

It was that time of year again.
The day I drive to Filey with bated breath to see how many teams we have for the Cleveland Way Relay.  I always know there will be “some” teams, especially as I was running first leg for NYMAC this year, but I never know how many will actually turn up.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find out we had 19 teams this year and really pleased to see that was from 13 different clubs. With York Knavesmire and Whitby running Club competing for the first time.

It was a glorious morning in Filey, the sun was coming up, there was a slight breeze, decent temperature and the tide was on it’s way in but not high enough to get us wet on the beach. I’m not sure some of the runners on later legs were so lucky.

After a quick chat with everyone and noting down the team names we all lined up on the Filey Cobbled Landing while the time approached 5am, I gave a countdown and then we were off.
The Loftus A runner seemed to be off the beach while I was still only about half way along it and when I got up on top of the cliff the field was already beginning to stretch out. I could see Loftus out in front followed by a chasing pack of 3, which I think were Scarborough, Knavesmire and Acorn.

The changeover on Valley Bridge was the usual social affair but not as busy as it could have been, as some teams had opted to changeover at Sea Cliff road car park and carried on down past the Spa and around the headland.

Once a bit of car shuffling had been done it was on to Whitby for the second start of the day at 9:00am. We were all gathered there looking to see if we could spot a runner coming down from the Abbey as we waited for the off. The 9am start here is within reach of some of the quicker teams and as the runners all lined up ready to set off the Loftus A runner appeared and was rushing towards the Whale Bones as I called “Go” and set everyone off. Most were watching the Loftus runner coming though so it wasn’t exactly a lightning start :-)

I kind of lose touch with the race here, as I wait at Whitby for the early morning teams to arrive and note down their times. I Had a good chat with everyone as they finished and even got a pic of the first three runners in to Whitby.
As well as timekeeping I also became top tourist photographer for those wanting pics under the Whale Bones, which passed the time nicely. The common theme from the Whitby finishers seemed to be that the paths were pretty muddy and slippy but I think most enjoyed it.

Once the last Whitby runner was in there was just time for a quick cuppa on the way over to Clay Bank. As I passed Slapewath I could see teams waiting to handover but I didnn’t really have time to stop and see how the race was playing out.
I did however get some updates from NYMAC members out on the course watching. So was aware that one of our runners was stuck in traffic and about 20 mins late for his handover!

There were also a few updates from Roseberry topping where Scarborough were now leading this mid-morning section. The lead changed again at some point over the next few legs though as it didn’t stay like that.

Next disaster from NYMAC happened at Gribdale, where there had been a breakdown in communication and one of our runners hadn’t turned up. Luckily we had Ian at Battersby Moor who was more than happy to drive back to Gribdale and do a double leg. He looked fresh when he got in to Clay Bank too, so maybe we’ll give him a triple next year…

At Clay Bank there was a reasonable crowd as usual all getting ready for the 2pm start. We had a couple of showers as we waited for the start but nothing too bad and on the whole we were doing really well with the weather across the day, although those caught in a hail shower on Roseberry may disagree with me.

No-one managed to get in to Clay Bank before I set everyone off at 2pm, which I was not surprised by as I don’t think anyone has managed that in the 10 years or so I’ve taken part in the race.
So all 19 teams were started at 2. It’s a cruel start this one, straight in to the first of 3 decent climbs.
The runners are soon out of sight of those watching on the road and then it’s all eyes on the descent from Urra Moor looking for the first runners to come down.

The first team in to Clay Bank was Loftus A, having managed to get past Scarborough and chip away at the time to have a similar lead to the one they had at the Whitby finish. Then there was a steady stream of runners finishing over the next few hours. What with spectators/supporters and the runners coming back from Lordstones, after finishing their leg, it’s a pretty social spot to watch from.
I stayed there as long as I could and managed to see all teams finish at Clay Bank apart from Ripon and Pickering Ladies. So apologies to the runners from those teams that got there without being met.

Then it was on to Helmsley to catch the finish of the afternoon legs.

I got there just in time, having only to wait a few minutes before Loftus A arrived in the square to touch the monument and officialy finish.
There was a good crowd in the square refuelling on fish & chips and liquid refreshments from the local pubs and it was a great friendly atmosphere with all runners being cheered in.

It was easy to work out the overall winners this year as Loftus A were the first team in to each of the 3 finishes. Scarborough and York Acorn both had good days, finishing 2nd and 3rd overall respectively.
Then it was Loftus B who finished 4th on the day and took the trophy for fastest B team.

We had 2 Ladies teams in this year and NYMAC had a pretty healthy lead from the morning sections but a few wrong turns can lose a team a fair bit of time.
There were a lot of people keen to see the first Lady arrive. Something to do with England playing football and me saying I needed the first Lady in to be able to do the presentations. So when Tabby came running in to the square for NYMAC Ladies there were smiles all round.

So presentations were done and those that wanted to to get away did but there were still a fair few people around enjoying the late afternoon sun.
Until the rain started!
People then started to leave and it was down to supported of Pickering and Whitby RC waiting for their last leg runners to bring it home. Pickering were the first of the 2 waiting teams in and their runner had a great sprint finish to end their race. Not too long after that the Whitby runners arrived to great cheers from their team mates, which there were quite a few of even in the heavy rain. Was great to see teams staying out in the downpour to support their runners and cheer them in.

I only announced the top 3 and other trophy winners on the night but results are below now. There were some close finishes across the sections and overall. Billingham Running Club put out 2 well balanced teams to complete against each other and it ended up being a close competition. There were also some close finishes in the middle and towards the end of the table, so it shows that over 109 miles and almost 21 hours of running every second counts.

As always it was a great friendly event. It’s always nice to get feedback and luckily it all seemed to be positive.

I’m looking at a provisional date for next year, so will update the website when I have that. It will be great to see you all back next year, maybe with a few more Ladies teams running too.

Marc Davies from T&S popped up in a few spots to take some pictures, so you might spot yourself in this album.

If anyone else has any pics to share then let me know and I will try to get a bigger album sorted.

Final results: