Ekiden 2023 Review and Annabelle Reed trophy

25 July 2023 - By Annalise Tye

The Set-Up

It’s t-minus one week to go, Jodee is performing daily sun dances and Annalise is checking her BBC weather app 3 times a day. However, all our hard work paid off and the weather gods were listening and the rain (mostly) held off as some members rose with the sun and headed to the course – and by 7:30am our set-up crew had begun to descend onto Ipswich High School.

As me and the rest of the set-up crew walked onto the field, a glimmer of yellow and gold could be seen in the distance, as well as the dim cheers of Jodee Mayer and Karen Flowers. They were stuck, and in need of Jonathan Moore’s height and more bodies to complete putting up the gazebos, despite trying to press gang other clubs to assist.

Many hands indeed made light work, and with set-up now complete, some of us opted for a “coffee drink” (the coffee machine was perhaps broken all day, not just later on in the day…) reward. However, Sarah Naughton and Jenny Layley had other ideas and instead went for a ‘festival style’ power nap whilst we all eagerly awaited the rest of WRC.

The Race

A reminder of what we were there to do: a marathon distance split between 6 people who run 7.2k, 5k, 10k, 5k, 10k and 5k respectively. This event had a bigger turnout from WRC than ever, with 8 teams running!

As the black and gold began to arrive, Jodee and I began to breathe again, safe in the knowledge that we weren’t, in fact, going to have to run a marathon each… Big thanks must go to all members who either volunteered to run another leg/first leg at the last minute. We‘ll probably miss someone here, but in no particular order: Pete Banks, Trevor Johnson, Michael Poulter, Michael Conroy, Andy Notley, Sian Tate, and Nadia McLeod all agreed to turn up in the 7 days before the event. Dan Griffiths pulled off his double-leg admirably, and notably, with less than an hour to go, Owen Dare stepped up into the U60s team and did a second leg as well! Thank you to everyone that offered to run last minute/twice – it really helps makes running these events, and the captain’s job of filling the spots, easier!

As the juniors set off on their Ekiden, team captain briefings commenced – there were many Ekiden first timers so instructions were needed. Thanks to our captains (some stepping up at the last minute) on the day: Liz Prior, Leanne Andrews, Clive Smith, Steven Alder, Karen Flowers, Simon Scott, James Attenborough and DJ (who had his own clipboard).

The time slowly trickled towards 10:30, and we had two tables groaning under the weight of all the picnic food we bought to keep our runners fuelled and replenished for the day. So much food was leftover that Karen was insistent that everyone took a couple of plates back home with them. By 10:20, Team A were ready and raring to go, but Jaffa had a few last minute issues to iron out first (missing batons), so we took the opportunity to take further photos (thanks to our resident WRC paparazzi Steven Alder). This included our team photo – special thanks to Anita’s son for bringing in the big guns with his proper camera to take team photos!

Finally at 10:35, the starting gun went off and a funnel of runners set off to great cheer. Once the race started we made sure, in true WRC style,  that we cheered on our runners as they looped past us (with Steven Alder clicking furiously in the background). Some runners had more of a grimace than a smile on their faces as they ran past, but these soon lifted to genuine smiles when they could see/hear us calling out their name. Particularly memorable was David Grainger, who on both of his 5k laps adopted the most amazing superman flying type pose. Will Radley of course didn’t disappoint, and on every one of his 10k laps just kept on overtaking runners, in his typical boundless running style. Little did he know that Jodee was shouting at him about how much faster he might be able to be if he pumped his arms more! Much appreciated was the presence of our own chairman Karen Flowers (later joined by Leanne Andrews and Angela Read) on the deadly quiet back part of the course, a windy, undulating section that saw many runners falter to a walk. Not for WRC – Karen made sure to offer encouraging words of support to every runner on every loop, helping us get to that finish line.

The hours trickled by as we approached the 4 hour mark, and we were getting down to our last couple of runners. Unlike some of the other teams, our cheers only grew louder, something that the race organisers mentioned on set-up that we were known for here at WRC! The temperature had (surprisingly) increased, the sun was out and the wind had died down. Spotted: our very own Liz Prior, rounding that last uphill corner, taking Jodee Mayer and Lisa Leader into that finish straight. Thanks Liz!


All of the teams put in a superb showing, with excellent performances all round, but a shout out to “Boyz 2 Ekimen” for sailing safely under the 3hr mark (and being one of the only two teams with a team name – we need to do better on this next year!)

Ladies Open


Liz Prior, Rachel O’Leary, Christine Israel-Jones, Nadia McLeod, Annalise Tye, Jodee Mayer


Small ELVs (Ladies Vets)


Leanne Andrews, Liz Stuckey, Sian Tate, Lindsey Morgan, Maggie Mason, Angela Wray


Ladies Super Vets


Anita Grainger, Karen Flowers, Lysia Jiggins, Jenny Layley, Sarah Naughton, Lisa Leader


Boyz 2 Ekimen (Men’s Open)


Paul English, Ian Cuthbert, Dan Griffiths, Jack Welch, Will Radley, Clive Smith


Men’s Open


Ben O’Leary, David Grainger, Louis Kitchener, Mick Conroy, Steven Alder, Dan Griffiths


Men’s Vets


Simon Scott, Tom Ashley, Sam Hajder, Paul Cole, Owen Dare, David Carey


Men’s Vets


James Attenborough, Alex Stuckey, Pete Banks, Andrew Notley, James Cooch, Andrew Read


Over 60s


Mick Poulter, Owen Dare (last minute sun for Ross Silverton, who drove up and stayed to support all day!), Ian Lucas, Trevor Johnson, David Jobling, Colin Short


The Annabelle Reed trophy

For those that weren’t part of the club at this point, Annabelle Reed is a familiar cheery face seen from the rotating album featured on our website. She was a really supportive WRC member, who sadly passed away too young a few years ago. Ekiden was one of her favourite events of the year due to it’s team spirit and comradery, and it is in her honour that we award the Annabelle Reed trophy each year. It goes to the member that most embraces team work and true WRC team spirit.

We weren’t able to award this on the day, and with good reason. There were too many people nominated by various committee members, which is a real testament to the club. After taking account of the committee votes however, we had one winner: Steven Alder. Steven’s dulcet tones could be heard throughout the day (pretty sure he gave himself a hoarse voice) and was seen bouncing around the course taking dozens of photos of all runners. His support didn’t stop there-he could also be heard cheering other runners, whilst running his own 10k leg. Not only that but he refused to back out of his leg, despite being ill since Thursday. Congrats Steven, and well done!

A final thanks to everyone, and we can’t wait until next year already!

Annalise & Jodee

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