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  • Writer's pictureNick Taylor

Torrington Christmas Caper 2022

Updated: May 24, 2023

After a year of geopolitical gloom and financial turmoil for human beings, Mother Nature decided to adorn this year’s Caper with weather to match. However, when she encountered a stubborn contingent of runners in Torrington, she met her match!

Despite literally dampening the show with a cubic kilometre of snow and ice, flooding changing rooms and causing a frantic last minute route diversion, a determined TAAC was able to overcome this adversity and the show could go on.

And the people did not disappoint! A glorious display of festive colour and wackiness lit up Torrington’s surrounding countryside on Sunday morning:

This year’s Caper attracted athletes from 36 clubs from as far afield as St Albans, East London and Newport, Wales, as well as a healthy representation from the locals; NDRR, the Trailblazers and Bideford AAC whose Mark Jenkin won the race in 58:15, the sole sub 1hr time. A shout out to Jo Meek who for consecutive years was the first female to cross the line, this time in 1:04:52.

Collectively the 178 runners shared almost 2 weeks of continuous fun with a finish time of 327:33:55 – a fortnight spent in the Caper’s murky woods and quagmires. A sentence we would not wish upon our worst enemies.

The most iconic hotspots on the route didn’t fail to deliver once again. “Mucksy Lane” as it’s been hitherto known, around mile 2, acquired a new nickname “iced tea latte lane” as the force of 178 runners evoked summertime memories of sipping the drink poolside:

The Rift Valley off Caddywell Lane, visible from space and to which the Eastern African version owes its namesake, always proves a formidable challenge to tired legs.

However, runners can learn a lesson from this gentleman who used his feet, elbows and bum to descend in a calorie-saving fashion:

Meanwhile, Geography teacher and TAAC club runner Conrad Stevens knows a thing or two about lithospheric tectonics, and this came in handy navigating the feature’s contours. He expertly plods his way across it below:

Sometimes you need magic to overcome life’s obstacles, so it was no surprise that unicorn-riding eventual fancy-dress winners 6 & 163 managed to smile their way through this most abominable terrestrial depression:

They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and these four runners took that to the next level by halving it again by completing the race as a quartet!

Many legs make light work, as they say. And no better place to do it than the Caper!

Another example of togetherness could be found in our tail runners, TAAC members Jennie Hayes, Jacqui Couch and Mags Zaharia. Not many people can claim to know the course more intimately than this trio. They ensured no one was left stuck in a bog, whilst toilet closure at the race HQ meant it was thankfully impossible to succumb to that fate there too.

One of the many pre-race challenges TAAC had to overcome was the provision of hot food and drinks due to a last minute hiccup. Entrez Verity and Sue who this year exchanged their trail shoes for a Cordon Bleu to ensure guests’ bellies were fully satiated.

All in all, another success! A massive thank you to all the TAAC members + friends who marshalled, drove, purchased, organised, and ran! You know who you are. We also want to say thanks to the people through whose land the course runs and whose generosity we rely upon each year.

Results can be found here and the Facebook Event contains lots of photos from a few contributors, including Mark Screech, who somehow manages to capture the best of the action no matter where it happens.

See you next year and Merry Christmas.

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