Matlock AC celebrate 40th anniversary by repeating relay run of 1976

ON THE RELAY TRAIL -- Gavin and Jakki Simmons completing leg six of Matlock AC's 40th anniversary 88km relay.
ON THE RELAY TRAIL -- Gavin and Jakki Simmons completing leg six of Matlock AC's 40th anniversary 88km relay.

As part of their 40th anniversary celebrations, Matlock Athletics Club completed a mammoth 88km relay on Saturday, replicating a social run first tackled in their inaugural year, 1976.

Junior members, as well as seniors, took part and despite varied weather, all completed their legs and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Leg one, which comprised 9.6km from Matlock Bridge to Hell Bank Plantation, was completed in the rain by Nick Harrison, Dennis Belbin and Zak Hodgkinson. And leg two, a run of 16.1km to Calver Crossroads, was undertaken by Peter Wilmot and John Brennan, who loved it so much that they added a few miles!

A tough third leg of 10.9km to White Lodge car park was tackled by the intrepid quartet of Laurie Croft, Roseanna Croft, Paul Keetley and Bill Willis.

Leg four, comprising 14.3km to Alport, was bossed by Mark Jackson, Tessa Brough and Karl Webster, not forgetting Charlie the dog! And leg five, taking in 15km to Longcliffe, was completed by Andy and Tess Whittaker, Alan Pickering, Jude Goodall and Karen Morley.

The last two legs were 10.2km of the High Peak Trail to High Peak Junction car park and then 12km to Matlock Bridge. John Birch, Gavin and Jakki Simmons, Jan Forrester and Kathryn and Mae Berrisford were lucky with the weather for the former, before Mick Moorhouse, Ray Foley, Simon Flitter and Matt and Katie Haywood braved showers and a torrential downpour in the latter.

The event was topped off in the evening with a 40th anniversary party at Matlock Rugby Club at Cromford, with a pie and pea supper and disco, attended by some of the original members of the club from 1976.

Chairman Craig Allen presented Peter Wilmot with a plaque for winning the 2015-2016 Senior Grand Prix. Sian Mead was the lady winner. Mens’ captain Jim Thorneycroft also gave an insight into other momentous sporting occasions in 1976.

Also on Saturday, Christine Howard took on the world’s toughest iron-distance triathlon in Ambleside and was the second overall lady home and first veteran over-40. The event, which started as early as 4.30 am, featured a 3.8km swim, a 112-mile (181km) bike-ride, with more than 12,000 feet (3,700 metres) of climbing, and a 26.2-mile (42.2km) run. Yet she produced a magnificent performance in a field dominated by international athletes to finish in just over 17 hours.

The club’s junior members have elected Michaela Dick and James Briggs as their new junior captains. Lily Phillips won the girls’ race in the Great Bakewell Pudding event, while brother Ted was third in the boys’ race.