The Inside Scoop
As you will have likely seen by now Wokingham CC & Wargrave CC took part in a running championship over the past week. It ended spectacularly as it came down to the last hours of the competition. Here’s an attempt to make justice to an amazing week.
The competition started on a Monday, with both clubs assembling a squad of 15 runners. Wokingham’s contingent drew representatives from across the club with a mixed experience of seasoned and less experienced runners. Callum Creighton put in a solid run of 10km to give us a good start but Wargrave led by the end of the first day in terms of distance (84.75 km v 51.96 km).
By Tuesday, both sides had got into the swing of things with Charlie Carter, Hugh Doyle, Jack Turner & Stuart Hayter all putting runs of over 10 km in, but with Charlie standing out for his 13 km on the day. However, Wargrave, led by an outstanding 16.54 km run by Alex Hands, still led at the end of play by a margin of 45.1 km.
Wednesday was hump day as distance dropped for both sides. Callum was again a standout for a 12 km run. However, it also worth noting Stu Hayter’s efforts with another 10.16 km. Sadly, this was to be his last of the week as a rather nasty blister sidelined him. Wokingham’s running supremo would be missed especially ahead of the pace challenge but Sukhi Kang put in a legendary 10.10 km run in-between late-night conference calls to ensure Wokingham kept up.
The second element of the championship came Thursday with the 30-minute challenge. Pretty simple concept, with runners having 30 mins to get as far as possible. Wokingham won the challenge by a significant margin (91.44 km v 70 km) but with little time to recover the focus got back to the main challenge.
The weekend came and both sides benefitted as the majority of the runners became available. Anthony Clapham put in a sterling effort for a solid 11.31 km despite feeling the pain of the week. Callum and Charlie showed the power of youth both going over 20 km. Archie Carter returned from illness to run 10.51 km. The Lincolnshire blocker, Joe Drabble, put in a solid 15 km bringing his 3 day total to 38 km. Will Legg also deserves credit having run a charity half marathon on the weekend but after a day or two of recovery racking up the distance. Yet, Wargrave had run 17 km more meaning going into the final day Wokingham was 43.01 km behind.
Wokingham needed a big day and what a day they had. Every player put their all into their runs. Tactically the runners went out in waves to keep Wargrave guessing on how much would be needed. Callum Creighton completed a phenomenal third 20k + run in three days bringing up 100 km for the week & an incredible average of 14.43 km per run (Cricket is about averages…). Charlie & Archie Carter also put in a long morning run, how much is a matter of debate between the two of them and their preferred running app, but it completed a brilliant week’s effort from both of the brothers.
But, it would need more than these three to claw back the difference. Up stepped Joe Drabble again, who rumour had it was looking for an open pub, whilst doing so he did a 20km tour of Wokingham. Dan Housego completed the morning squad’s efforts with a solid 10.6 km run.
The afternoon squad was started by Jake, who himself had a good running week putting through plenty of well-paced runs, with a solid 12 km run. Then the WhatsApp went quiet, were where and how far had this wave gone. They had gone far, George went 12km and Hugh went further for 15 km. Then Hugh returned with news that he had spotted Jacob Clark, from a safe social distance, going even longer. Then up popped his run on Strava, 20 km. The afternoon crew had done their job, with the knowledge of all the day’s runs, Wokingham felt confident.
Jamie Cable, a hero in being called up for this challenge having not run more than 5 km before this week, delivered for the evening crew with 10 km. Three runners remained, with the knowledge Wargrave had more players in the shed. We knew there was a 10 km bubble but as much distance needed to be covered. Up stepped the designated captain for this challenge, Anthony Clapham. Claps by his own account was no fan of running before this week, nor is it fair to see is he its biggest fan now, however, he set out knowing a big effort was needed. Setting off on a loop being live tracked he went off aiming for 10 km. Despite the pain he was in, he exceeded his goal with encouragement at every step from his teammates reaching 14 km. Soon after, Will Legg finished his week with a 20 km run to leave Wokingham in a solid position.
This left one runner, his name, Sukhi Kang. Sukhi had set off on his home treadmill around six o’clock with a 9 pm deadline looming. Communication with the team’s analysts confirmed Wargrave had three runners still capable of long-distance. Earlier runners’ efforts had covered most of the competition but no one could be sure. So Sukhi kept on running. And running. It eventually had come for Sukhi to stop running. Three and a half hours of running had got him to 30 km. A heroic effort. He simply said after, I’d do it again.
There are no large clocks around here but I’m sure a one chimed somewhere at 9 o’clock. A quick rush onto the Strava app. And somehow both team’s totals displayed at 797 km each. Now unlike the ICC, there were no rules which had been rushed out in a boardroom somewhere in Dubai (watch Death of a Gentlemen, good film). Instead, confusion reigned making this more like the Friends Provident 2010 final than the most celebrated 2019 World Cup Final. A draw declared, the only seemingly fair result, the players from both sides looked back and pondered the past week.
There are many ways to frame this week. The one I have taken away is it was a phenomenal effort from all involved and a thanks go to those who supported them.