2017 Club Handicap

Group in fancy dress before the start of the race

Thirty six Farnham Runners donned an array of fancy dress costumes, many handmade, for the popular annual Club Handicap race. The inaugural race was held in December 1986, shortly after the club began, and moved to a shorter 4.25 mile route in 1990, remaining unchanged since then. A difference in start times of 23 minutes illustrates the diversity of standards and experience of club members. A number of “Absolute Beginners” from the classes of 2016 and 2017 took part, as well as a founder club member, John de Moraes.

Nowadays using a series of complex algorithms as well as her trusty crystal ball, “Mystic Meg’s” job of predicting times hasn’t got any easier. With the standard so high, neither has the task of judging the fancy dress competition.

Places 1, 2 and 3 all went to members of the “Class of 2016”, while the next were two from the “Class of 2017”, all exceeding expectations. A jubilant Susan MacKenzie now knows what it feels like to head a race from start to finish, taking the Handicap Trophy for the year. In second place was Alison Yearsley and third was Jackie Wilkinson. Not far behind, newcomers David Boakes and Emma Campbell, also showed their potential.

The range of fancy dress characters was impressive, both real and fictional, contemporary and from the past. Sports people included a still speedy 118 runner, Andre Agassi with his tennis racquet and a surf rescuer who carried his board all the way in case it was needed. The Grim Reaper was in cheerful mood, smiling to the finish, complete with his scythe. Star Wars inspired a number of characters with, strangely, a Storm Trooper accompanying Obi-Wan Kenobi, while Darth Vader kept a safe distance. A Sheriff was on hand to keep three convicts in check but a wily fox outwitted the huntswoman to finish behind her. Biodiversity included a reindeer and a lady bird. Richard the Lionheart finished at a canter on an imaginary horse. One competitor found being dressed as a liquorice allsort did not hamper her progress unduly. The Rubik’s cube remained unsolved as we went to press.

It was Buzz Lightyear alias Neil Ambrose who impressed the judges the most with his imaginative and handmade costume for first prize. Damian Probett as the Devil came a very well-deserved second, while oft-times winner, Tori Shaw again made a huge effort with her Darth Vader costume for third place. Highly commended were Geoff Brown as Richard the Lionheart, David Boakes as the 118 runner, Kayleigh Copeland as the fox, Sue Taylor as a clown and Julian Saunders as the Grim Reaper.

Chairman Jacquie Browne aided by “Mystic Meg” aka Jane Georghiou presented the trophy and boxes of chocolates to the first three in the race and the fancy dress. Thanks were given to Craig Tate-Grimes who set out the course, Ali Hardaway who provided refreshments and who, helped by Keith Marshall and Carolyn Wickham, judged the fancy dress competition.

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