MABAC is back

Tuesday 3rd August marked the return of the MABAC series of races after an absence of 17 months. You may recall that the last MABAC race held before the first lockdown was our home fixture, held in Priory Park on 1st March 2020.

RPAC members were clearly pleased to welcome MABAC back into the club calendar as we had our biggest ever turnout at a MABAC event with 22 adult and 2 junior members taking part.

Pictured above are from left to right: Annette Morris, Lisa Payn, Frank O'Regan, Bethany Higgins, Neil Fenwick, Taryn Bennett, Alastair Swanepoel, Gillian O'Regan, Adrian Grant, Maggie Swinnerton, Andrew Patrick, Susie Cardoso, Jake Boud, Jack Finn, Andrew Bamford, Gavin Lawrence, Joel Lawrence, Amelie Lawrence, Ben Stanton and Andrew Reeves. Missing from the photo but also running were Kate Knight, Mike Pocock, Anna Roberson and Malcolm Woodman. Also missing from the photo, but not running were the RPAC Supporters' Club comprising Ian Edmonds and his dog Sidney. 

The new Covid-secure protocol adopted by MABAC this season meant that there were separate starts for men and women, and for adults and juniors who were completing the one lap course. 

The race starts with about 800m on grass alongside the rugby pitches before hitting a narrow entry to the woods and a bridge across a stream. Usually the start is like a cavalry charge with everyone trying to beat the squeeze across the bridge. Memorably one year one RPAC member who shall remain nameless (you know who you are laughing ) was reprimanded by the marshals for leaping the stream. This year it seemed less frantic with the marshals telling us to walk through this section - well they were by the time I got there. Once across the bridge the route runs alongside the stream (I believe it's called Beverley Brook) for some distance. Because of the recent rain this section was very muddy with standing water in a few places. After maybe 800m the route veers away from the stream and climbs the long, but not particularly steep ascent of what I think is called Gravelly Hill towards Caesar's Well. The hill is aptly named and the climb is about 40m. The course then descends back to the stream before looping back up the hill for a second time. The final mile and bit returns alongside the stream before emerging back onto the rugby field for a final slightly uphill sprint home.

The results have not been released at the time of writing but RPAC will have scored well with Andrew Reeves and Neil Fenwick finishing among the first few in the men's race with a bunch of others not far behind. In the ladies' race  Anna Roberson was the first home for RPAC with Gillian O'Regan and Bethany Higgins not too far behind her. 

Maggie Swinnerton and Susie Cardoso both representing RPAC for the first time, completed the one lap race with Joel and Amelie Lawrence running the one lap course in the junior race. It is believed that Joel came home first out of junior and senior one lap runners.

There are three more MABAC races scheduled for this year, all still subject to confirmation  

  • Lightwater Country Park - 19th September (sadly the same day as Run Reigate)
  • Nonsuch Park - 24th October
  • Farley Heath - 21st November

 It would be really great if we could get a equally good turnout at these races.

In case you're wondering what MABAC is, it is a league formed of ten Surrey running clubs (of which we are one). There are a series of monthly races held from January to November each year with each club hosting a race (there is no race in February). Races are open to all club members and are free to enter and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Most races are held on Sunday mornings and are typically held in beautiful parts of the Surrey countryside. Most races offer a two lap course of about 8km and a one lap of about 4km. Junior members are only allowed to do the one lap course. The January race held in Windsor Great Park is an anomaly as it is around 12km long and is mostly on roads and paths. 
The name MABAC dates from 1977 when the League was first set up by runners from the Matthew Arnold School (the "MA") near Staines and the British Aerospace Corporation (the "BAC").  See the MABAC website for further details.    


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