Record entry makes Ricky’s Race a huge success for Matlock Athletics Club

SUMMER SIZZLER -- Matlock AC's Colin Davenport capped an excellent campaign in the Booths Summer League with a fine performance in the final race at Shipley Park.
SUMMER SIZZLER -- Matlock AC's Colin Davenport capped an excellent campaign in the Booths Summer League with a fine performance in the final race at Shipley Park.

A record entry of 208 runners made a huge success of Ricky’s Race, one of a number of annual open events staged through the spring and summer by Matlock Athletics Club (AC).

The name of the contest derives from one of the club’s former junior members, Ricky Wood, and is a 4.4-mile fell race that works its way through Clough Wood before the steep ascent of Oker Hill, which is followed by a fast downhill finish back to Darley Bridge.

The latest renewal was won by Luke Beresford, of Ripley AC, who posted a fine time of 29.48 minutes, with Totley AC’s Fiona Kesteven taking the ladies’ race in 35.05 minutes.

Several of Matlock’s own club members took part, with Andy Mellor leading them home in a time of 37.01, followed by John Brennan in 38.28, Gordon Creswell in 39.35, Les Thurston in 46.24, Clive Russell in 46.43, Andrea Atkinson in 46.47 and Tessa Brough in 52.08.

The club was again very grateful for the support of so many of its members and friends who volunteer to organise and marshal such events throughout the year. Said a spokeswoman: “Without their backing, races like this could not be staged.”

Earlier in the week, nine runners represented the club in the final race of the Booths Summer League on a testing 5.2-mile course at Shipley Park.

Colin Davenport capped another excellent individual league campaign by finishing 14th on the night in a time of 31.15 minutes to give him a high finish in the overall series.

Andrew Sheldon came home in 34th place after clocking 32.36, followed by Jim Thorneycroft, who was 74th in 35.48, Andy Mellor (80th in 36.08), Anthony Lester (98th in 37.13), Dan Ashcroft (105th in 37.36), Hayley Gill (123rd in 38.53), Jan Forrester (216th in 44.45) and the dependable Katie Haywood (239th in 46.41).

Congratulations should go to Forrester and Simon Brister for claiming overall league victories in their respective age-categories.

Meanwhile, the ever-popular Whitworth Thread 5k race attracted another large field last Saturday when a good spread of junior, senior and veteran runners added up to a terrific day of competitive action.

First home was David Matthews in a time of 17.39 minutes, with the sizeable Matlock AC contingent being led to the finishing line by junior Sam Thompson.

The club’s 2016 calendar continues next Thursday (August 25) evening with the Malt Shovel Relays/Pilsley Fell Race, followed by the Matlock Triathlon, which starts at 7 am on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29. Anyone interested in joining the club should visit its website.