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Run for Roger - Rachel Farrand

On Saturday 29th April over 50 Easingwold Running Club (ERC) members took part in “Run for Roger” in memory of Roger Nicholls. Roger was one of the original founding members of ERC, who sadly passed away last year. Roger was popular with everyone he met in the Club as he was kind and supportive, particularly to new (and sometimes slower!) members, and he also loved to socialise.

We decided “Run for Roger” would be a relay-style social run along the 28-mile-long Foss Way from York to Easingwold, broken down into four shorter sections, with the opportunity for all abilities of runner (and even the odd walker) to take part.

At 7.45am on Saturday morning 7 hardy runners caught the bus into York (just as Roger liked to) to start the run and, at 9am, they were led speedily off by Colin Fletcher towards Haxby for the first rendezvous point (unfortunately they didn’t arrive quite so speedily due to a couple of impromptu pit-stops!). 5 of these hardy (or mad?) souls waved hello in Haxby, realised there were no refreshments available yet, so just kept on running all the way to Easingwold….. The remainder of the group handed over the “baton” to those running the next leg (Haxby to Sheriff Hutton Bridge via Strensall). This group, led by Rachel Farrand, John Howell-Walmsley and Bernie Wood, caught up a little on time (helped by over-estimating their ETA, a good tactic!) and were soon at Sheriff Hutton Bridge to hand over to the next group. Leg 3 combined walkers and runners alike. Jaki Jarvis, Sarah Lees and Lynn Fawcett were determined to take part despite injuries, and thoroughly enjoyed a walk on this section, cheered on by the runners passing by. The Leg 3 run group was led by Cath Howell-Walmsley and Jane Maloney, who then headed off into the long grass towards Crayke, ready for the grand finale back to Easingwold. Stefan Wytwyckyi and Sarah Dixon led the final section from Crayke via Oulston to Easingwold, with a 20-strong group (chivvied along by Kevin Johnson’s cheery smile), determined to run into the cheers of Roger’s family and the ERC crowd by the Market Cross.

Once everyone was back safely, we finished the event in true “Roger-style” – to The George for a pint and some chips. It is fair to say that ERC took over The George that afternoon, any non-runner popping in for a pint would have wondered what on earth was going on! But we hadn’t quite finished there - to everyone’s delight and surprise, ERC’s very own star baker, Karen Rayner, made a fantastic “Run for Roger” cake (AND banana bread) for everyone to share, which went down a treat.

And finally, what we mustn’t forget is that this was a charity fundraiser in memory of Roger Nicholls, and all participants (and others) donated to the British Heart Foundation, raising nearly £1,500. Thank you to everyone who helped and took part, particularly Colin Fletcher, Kevin Johnson, Jane Maloney and the rest of the organising group. We hope we did you proud Roger, we’re sure you would’ve loved it.

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