In July a team of Stragglers became the third to complete the Jogle challenge. Here Josh Ingold, followed by Kevin Price share the story of how it went.
Josh: The teams set off bright and early from SW London and headed for the West Midlands. Not the obvious destination for the start of a JOGLE but an opportunity to get in a Parkrun- for those who couldn’t do without or indeed for anyone who was underwhelmed by the prospect of a close to 1000 miles of running. 5k around Trentham Gardens and an artisanal coffee later and it was off to Inverness, for some pizza and ‘hydration’ in a conveniently placed joint, before we arrived in John O’Groats on the Sunday for an early afternoon start.
The start of the baton relay caused quite the flutter amongst the tourists as the entire team joined Steve at the start of the first leg. Any expectations that we are off to Land’s End en masse would have been sadly tempered by the majority of the participants quickly falling back to the carpark as Steve carried the baton along the North Coast of Scotland. Early enthusiasm saw the successive teams stride ahead of the schedule and as Team B handed over to Team C for the first night leg it was all going well. Team C carried on the momentum and handed over in good order to team D, the day time runners, for what would be
their only daytime run.
If the far North of Scotland had allowed us to roar into a lead against the clock then the West Highland Way had other ideas. The Caledonian Canal was the site of the first of many bizarre handovers between Team B’s Ian and Oli (ask them for details) and some tough conditions made for an adventurous evening/night on the trail for B and A. Scotland continued to be challenging but also spectacular as Team C carried the baton out of the Highlands towards Glasgow. Team B’s captain Pedro felt a long way from Teddington in Blantyre as we headed towards the Border. Before this though, Team D needed to start their first unscripted night leg with Rachel enquiring of Josh as to what had kept him.
But we weren’t kept for long and soon the Baton had crossed into England- more specifically the Lake District where Team A’s Ali stormed up Kirkstone Pass and the weather obliged by being suitably atmospheric. By this point the teams were well spread out and making use of the WhatsApp group and Strava trackers to stay in touch. This led to a spate of increasingly flamboyant Baton handover routines which ranged from the ‘sporty’ (James and Julie) to the ‘too cool to Baton handover’ (Crispin and Neil), and finally the ‘I’m glad it’s over’ (Mark and Paul).
The spectacularscenery flew by, featuring Ironbridge, the Severn Bridge and the Premier Inn in Bridgwater- the latter being the site of one of the much needed refuelling stations for Teams B and C. As we swept into the West Country, there was still time for some proper Summer weather with Tracy managing to run through standing water which seemed impassable. Fortunately she was being supported by her husband (James, a different James from the one in the team), although he may have sensibly missed that particular event!
Team D’s final unsolicited night shift came to an end in the desolate environs of Davidstow airfield. Ian R brought the team, which had been bolstered by Anne, home- capping off a terrific effort during which their morale remained impeccable. Before the end some
tough, hilly, running in Cornwall had to be negotiated but very soon JOGLE organiser and Team C captain Kev was surrounded by the entire crew as he strode into Land’s End.
There was just time for a whole team meal in Penzance where everyone had the opportunity to sink a few pints and do some reminiscing on what had been a fantastic week. Huge thanks must go to Kev for what was a huge feat of organisation. Sign up now for the 2033 edition!
Kevin: The idea of a Stragglers JOGLE was first thought-up by Paul Hutchins, a Straggler who I never had the chance to meet but one who I admire greatly. Paul thought-up many adventures for the Stragglers and his legacy has helped shaped the unique character of our running club.
The first Stragglers JOGLE which was organised principally by Paul took place in 1995 and the second took place in 2011, that time organised by James Flood. I knew that the hardest thing about a JOGLE would be the planning, so when I left my full-time employment at the end of 2022, I made the 2023 JOGLE one of my projects in my new portfolio.
Ideally, there would be 20 runners split into 5 teams. That way, the teams running a night leg can be scheduled to have a day-off before and after their night leg. We had 16 runners so split into 4 teams, meaning that the night legs would be part of a double run day, with an afternoon run followed by a two-hour night leg. I didn’t give too much thought to the team allocations, but just tried to create groups who I thought would get on reasonably well over 6 days coping with tiredness, long drives and support amidst the adventures and good times served up by the JOGLE.
Each team took on its own character and the most pleasing thing for me was that all 16 of us really pulled-together, supported each other and had a genuinely good time throughout the week, leaving a whole lot of happy memories as our legacy.
We set off from John O’Groats at 2.30pm on Sunday 9th July and arrived at Land’s end at 4.03pm on Saturday 15th July. 6 days, 1 hour and 33 minutes to run a continuous relay of 980 miles. We carried the baton used for the 2011 baton and will now inscribe our dates on it, as the 2011 team had done and return it to the Stragglers trophy cabinet awaiting the next group of Stragglers who decide to take on this adventure of a life time.