Matlock AC’s ladies rule the Booths League roost for a second time

James Fox, of Matlock Athletics Club, dashing to the finish line in the 20th anniversary of the annual Ricky's Race.
James Fox, of Matlock Athletics Club, dashing to the finish line in the 20th anniversary of the annual Ricky's Race.

In conditions more akin to a winter cross-country race, the all-conquering Matlock Athletics Club ladies’ team were crowned Booths League champions for the second time, adding the Summer League title to the Winter League they also won.

The Matlock ladies, who have been dominant throughout the series, conquered wind and rain at a sodden Shipley Park in Heanor to finish with a decisive 11.5-point lead over their nearest rivals from Ripley Running Club after winning four of the five races.

The triumph was spearheaded by Jade Stone and Hayley Gill, who also won their individual age categories, but they received terrific support from a host of teammates in the buoyant ladies’ section of the club.

Matlock’s men’s team also did well on the night, finishing eighth and so fifth overall, which meant second place in the combined team competition for the club. Further honourable mentions should go to Jo Grant, who was second overall in the veteran ladies’ over-45s’ class, Bradley Stone, who was third overall in the male veterans’ over-40s’ class, and Jim Thorneycroft, who won the male veterans’ over-60s’ category.

Meanwhile Matlock’s Ben Cartwright was the winner of the 20th running of Ricky’s Race, an annual event run over a tough 7K course from Darley Bridge through Clough Wood, over Oker Hill and back to Darley Bridge.

A total of 151 runners were sent on their way by Ricky Wood himself, but Cartwright beat Thomas Grimes, of East London, into second, with Ripley’s Paul Sorrell third and also the first male veteran over-40. The ladies’ race was won by international runner Beth Pascall, with Lucy Taylor, of Ripley, second, and Ruth Keeley, of Belper Harriers third, while Matlock’s Clive Russell took the male veteran over-70 prize.

Last Saturday morning, an impressive turnout for the popular Whitworth Thread race, staged around Whitworth Park, included Matlock club chairman Craig Allen, who raced to his first-ever Thread victory. The hard-working organising team have now raised almost £5,000 for charity, as well as providing social running opportunities.