Mike Horner's Annual
The annual Bench-to-bench run starting on Ranmore is held every summer to commemorate Mike Horner who was a much-loved member of DMVAC. Anyone who went out running with the Mike can relate a tale, usually about his cheerful optimism and under-estimate of the distance to be covered... I can remember the evening we set off for run into the Surrey Hills (only about an hour!) in a group led by Mike. We got lost and just about made it back to Pixham Lane before dark. I wasn't a happy bunny at the time but I forgave him after I did my best ever 3km time on the track two days later. There was never a dull moment when you went running with him and the annual run in the Surrey Hills from Ranmore to Leith Hill is a fitting tribute.
Celebrate one of DMVAC's best-loved characters by taking part in the
Michael Horner Bench-to-Bench Trail Run
Please read everything here, all the way to the bottom....
.... otherwise you might find yourself wandering the slopes of Leith Hill, in the dark, wishing you had read it.
Starting 7pm SHARP on Tuesday 25th June - arrive early, but please don't start early*
WHAT IS IT?
It is not a race. It is a Tuesday Ranmore run with a twist:
Everyone in the club runs the same route - out-and-back between Michael's memorial benches**: one on Ranmore and the other 5.5 miles away on Leith Hill.
Some runners will do the whole 11 miles, some will turn back early, and others will run one way only - having first arranged a lift back from Leith Hill or will run from Leith Hill to the Wotton Hatch for the post-run social event.
There is no official timing, so time yourself if this is important to you.
WHO CAN PLAY?
Any adult DMVAC member who is familiar with Ranmore runs. Older youth members might be considered by prior arrangement.
THE ROUTE IS DIFFERENT - see the attached map (old route = white dots)
It will use a different climb up the back of Leith Hill - partly because Michael was a great one for finding new routes, and partly because the 2018 (= '16 and '17) route is not so much fun without the rhododendron tunnels.
This year that climb will be up an intimate little-used open valley, joining the 2018 route just in time for the short loop around the tower to admire the view.
Both out and back:
STOP until it is safe to cross the railway
STOP until it is safe to cross the A25 road
There is no drinking water on the route
There are no marshals on the route.
ROUTE MARKING - not guaranteed, but has been ok in the past:
white flour on the floor.
occasional red-and-white tape streamers
yellow signs at the road crossing
YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES:
CHOICE 1: Run with your usual group leader - who will navigate.
Middle and fast groups will probably make it all the way to the tower bench.
Other groups will probably turn back before the tower bench.
If you might decide to leave your group on route, concentrate on the Choice 2 instructions.
CHOICE 2: Run on your own (and INFORMATION FOR GROUP LEADERS)
If you know the route or will orienteer with the map, feel free to run it on your own.
Print out and carry the attached map.
If you get lost, you are on your own, no one will come looking for you.
Some route marking might be removed by weather or members of the public.
Tape and arrows will be cleared, starting from the Leith Hill end at 8.05pm
Be absolutely sure of the right-hand turn (off the bold track, onto the narrow path) at Warren Farm.
WHICHEVER CHOICE - TURN-AROUND AT 8PM*
People have been known to arrive at Leith Hill in an hour, then take two more hours to get back.
The final climb through the Ranmore trees will be dark just after 9pm.
If you turn around after 8pm, you are on your own and no one will come looking for you.
Group leaders will adjust turn-around times to suit their runners on the evening.
Good luck, have a lovely time, and don't forget to cheer the fast individual runners as they pass.
Your friendly organising and marking team:
Alan Waring, Steve Bush, and this year's glamorous marking-out assistants: Kevin Irvine (north section) and John Jelly (mid section).
BTW, unless I can get running again, sadly this year is my last for marking the route.
I wish all at DMVAC many more happy Michael Horner Bench to Benches
Hats off to Michael for all the brilliant runs he took me on over many years.
I still say hi to his bench almost every time I visit Leith Hill.
*The timing of this run is carefully worked out for your safety.
Please don't start early. It might seem a cunning plan, but parts of the course are still being marked as late as 7:30pm - also, we want you to hear a little about Michael at the start.
Please turn around at 8pm, unless you know what you are doing.
Carry a torch with your map if you plan to turn around after 8pm.
**Michael's benches are identical sturdy wooden benches.
Erected by the Horner family, Michael's Leith Hill bench is just down from the tower on its north side, facing Ranmore – see the diagram at the bottom of the attached map.
Erected by DMVAC to celebrate Michael's many wonderful contributions to the club, his Ranmore bench is just to the left after you enter Steer's Field, in which you meet for Tuesday summer runs.
With a good telescope, you can see one from the other.